Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Visiting Professor



+44 (0)20 7594 5812s.kounaves Website CV




2.34Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





Over the past several decades it has become increasingly clear that there may be multiple worlds in our solar system besides Earth that either once had or may still have environments capable of supporting microbial life as we know it. Our current research is focused on two aspects of the search for life in our solar system:

1. We are investigating how potential chemical biosignatures on the surface of Mars would be altered or destroyed when exposed to solar ultraviolet radiation in the presence of various oxychlorines and their intermediate formation products. Knowing the potential products of biosignature alteration will help in identifying what type of compounds and where to look for them in the search for life on Mars.

2. We are developing in-situ analytical instrumentation that is designed to unambiguously detect microbial life and determine the habitability of planetary environments that may be present at the surface and subsurface of Mars, and the oceans of icy-worlds such as Saturn's moon Enceladus or Jupiter's moon Europa.