Prof. Briony Horgan

Briony Horgan
Assistant Professor

Department of Earth,
Atmospheric, and
Planetary Sciences
Purdue University
550 Stadium Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907
(765) 496-2290

Welcome to the Horgan Research Group!

Our group seeks to understand the surface geology of Mars, the Moon, and the Earth through satellite remote sensing, rover missions, field work, and lab work. There are research opportunities in our lab for motivated graduate and undergraduate students. Please email me for more information about potential research topics and projects. Our group welcomes students and researchers regardless of race, religion, gender identification, sexual orientation, age, or disability status.

Posing on palagonite (and moody album cover version) in Red Mountain, San Francisco Volcanic Field, AZ, during the March 2019 EAPS field trip. Left to right: Brad Garczynski (PhD student), Marie McBride (PhD student), Amanda Rudolph (PhD student), James Haber (PhD student), Bryan Howl (undergrad RA), Prakhar Sinha (PhD student), Briony Horgan, Noel Scudder (PhD student).

August 2016

Choose your weapon! August 2016 during fieldwork studying glacial weathering on the Three Sisters volcanic complex. Left to right, top row: Liz Rampe (NASA/JSC), Allie Rutledge (postdoc), Briony Horgan, Marie McBride (PhD student), Sheridan Ackiss (PhD student). Bottom row: Becky Smith (postdoc), Noel Scudder (PhD student).


  • Exciting new astrobiology targets for the Mars 2020 rover - Prof. Horgan's new paper shows that carbonate deposits near the landing site for the Mars 2020 rover could have been laid down near the shore of an ancient lake, which on Earth, is a great place to look for microbial fossils and other biosignatures.
  • Analog work in the news! Prof. Horgan's keynote talk at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference generated some great media coverage about our work on using Mars analog sites to better understand conditions on ancient Mars.
  • Congratulations to PhD student Prakhar Sinha for winning a NASA Future Investigators in Earth, Space Science, and Technology Fellowship! Prakhar joins Noel Scudder (NASA Earth & Space Science Fellow), Marie McBride (NSF Fellow), and Sheridan Ackiss (NASA Earth & Space Science Fellow) as major fellowship winners in the group.
  • Investigating ancient martian lakes on Earth - Brad Garczynski recently won funding to study the astrobiological potential of Lake Salda in Turkey, which may contain similar carbonate deposits to those the Mars 2020 rover will investigate in Jezero crater.
  • Through the eyes of a rover - Prof. Horgan and PhD student Prakhar Sinha assisted the Texas A&M Sand-E PSTAR team in testing rover and drone operations techniques in Iceland this July.
  • Our eyes on Mars - Prof. Horgan and PhD student Noel Scudder assisted with calibration for the Mastcam-Z camera system on the Mars 2020 rover. The cameras were successfully installed on the rover in June 2019 - next stop, Jezero crater!
  • Mars may provide our best glimpse into Earth’s beginnings. Meet the Purdue researcher exploring the Red Planet