Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Marc Neveu

(Research Scientist)

Marc Neveu's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.614.6872
Org Code: 699
Mail Code 699
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

My research focuses on ocean worlds astrobiology. I model couplings in icy ocean world geophysical, geochemical, and orbital origins and evolution to understand their biological potential through geologic time. I also model and conduct lab investigations of how subsurface material can be altered during transport from a subsurface ocean, to the surface or plumes, to spacecraft sampling systems. These investigations aim to constrain the biosignature potential of ocean worlds and inform interpretation of spacecraft measurements seeking to quantify habitability and search for life.


In our solar system, icy moons and dwarf planets with subsurface oceans ("ocean worlds") have arisen as prime locations to search for life beyond Earth. Searching for signs of microbial life on these worlds requires:

  1. a detailed understanding of the geological and abiotic context (e.g. habitability, sources and sinks of potential biosignatures)
  2. the careful design of a suite of sampling strategies, measurements, and measuring instruments, taking into consideration the development of a confidence framework (e.g., complementarity between biosignatures, contamination) and mission constraints (including planetary protection)
  3. remote-sensing, in situ, or sample return missions.

My research seeks to address each of these needs with the goal of detecting life in the coming decades or understanding why it is absent on a world otherwise found to be habitable. Either outcome would result in fundamental advances in the understanding of the prevalence of biology in the universe.


Assistant Research Scientist

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Univ. Maryland College Park - Greenbelt, MD

November 2018 - Present

Carrying out research and instrument/mission development for ocean worlds astrobiology.

NASA Postdoctoral Management Program Fellow

NASA Headquarters / Universities Space Research Association - Washington DC

April 2017 - October 2018

  • Helped infuse astrobiology research into NASA missions.
  • Managed funding programs from NASA’s Astrobiology portfolio.
  • Pursued independent research in icy world habitability and exoplanet carbon cycling.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

School of Earth & Space Exploration, Arizona State Univ. - Tempe, AZ

January 2016 - March 2017

  • Coupled tidal, geophysical, and geochemical processes in icy world evolution models.
  • Led concept maturation of plume sample return mission from icy moon Enceladus.


2011-2015 PhD, Astrophysics, School of Earth & Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Dissertation: “Hydrothermal Habitats: Measurements of Bulk Microbial Elemental Composition, and Models of Hydrothermal Influences on the Evolution of Dwarf Planets.” Advisors: Drs. Steve Desch & Ariel Anbar.

2010-2011 MS, Astrophysics-Space Sciences-Planetology, Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France
Thesis: “Evolution and Role of Minerals in Primordial Planetary Environments.” Advisor: Dr. Steve Benner.

2007-2011 MS, Aerospace Engineering, Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace, Toulouse
Major: Space Sciences. Selective 3-year “Supaero” program.

2005-2007 Preparation in physics, chemistry, and math for entrance exams to top French engineering schools, Lycée Stanislas, Paris, France

Professional Service

2020-2022 Served on Ocean Worlds & Dwarf Planets panel of the National Academies' 2023-2032 Planetary Science & Astrobiology Decadal Survey.

2016-2017 Helped draft a Roadmap to Ocean Worlds in response to Congress’ direction to NASA. Theme team lead: “Understand how life might exist within ocean worlds and search for life.” Organized in-person meeting in Tempe, AZ.

Conference Organization & Session Chairing

  • 2022 Future of the Search for Life workshop co-chair.
  • 2021 Proposal Writing Retreat co-organizer for the Astrobiology Graduate Conference.
  • 2020 "Ocean Worlds: A Long Swim Off a Deep Core" and "Protoplanetary Disk Evolution", 51st Lunar & Planetary Science Conference, The Woodlands, TX [conference cancelled].
  • 2019 “Origins and Evolution Pathways of Organics in Ocean Worlds”, Astrobiology Science Conference, Seattle, WA.
  • 2018 Ocean Worlds 3 co-organizer, Houston, TX, USA.
  • 2017 “Assessing Ceres' Past and Present Habitability”, Astrobiology Science Conference, Mesa, AZ.
  • 2017 “Ceres Surface and Interior Processes”, Joint 48th Division of Planetary Sciences/11th European Planetary Science Congress, Pasadena, CA, USA.
  • 2016 Astrobiology Graduate Conference co-organizer, Boulder, CO, USA.
  • 2016 “Chemistry of the outer solar system”, 26th Goldschmidt Conference, Yokohama, Japan.

Peer Reviewer: Astrobiology, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Geophysical Research Letters, Icarus, Journal of Geophysical Research, Life, Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Minerals, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Nature Astronomy, Nature Communications, Nature Geoscience, Planetary Science Journal, Planetary & Space Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science, Scientific Reports, Space Science Reviews, and a book chapter.

NASA Review Panels as Group Chief, Panelist, Executive Secretary, and External Reviewer.

Reviewer for American Philosophical Society Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research in Astrobiology, and for French National Research Agency.


  • 2020 Scialog Fellow, Research Corporation for Science Advancement
  • 2018 US Antarctica Service Medal
  • 2017 NASA Postdoctoral Management Program Fellowship
  • 2016 NASA Early Career Fellowship
  • 2015, 2014 Graduate Excellence Award, ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • 2014 NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship
  • 2014 Ultra-Disciplinary Student Award, ASU School of Earth & Space Exploration
  • 2014 Career Development Award, Lunar & Planetary Institute
  • 2013 Outstanding Student Poster Award, American Geophysical Union
  • 2013 David S. Miller Young Scientist Scholarship, American Geophysical Union
  • 2011 3rd Mayoux-Dauriac Aeronautics Prize, Inst. Sup. Aéronautique & Espace Alumni Association
  • 2011 University Graduate Fellowship, Arizona State University
  • 2011 Vocation Prize, French Aerospace Society [3AF] Space Exploration & Observation Section
  • 2009 John Mather Nobel Scholarship

Special Experience

2019-20 Planetary Science Winter School, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
2018 NSF Antarctic Biology Training Program, McMurdo Station, Antarctica.
2016 NExSS Exoplanet/Astrobiology Winter School, Biosphere 2, Arizona.
2014 Planetary Science Summer School, Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
2014 Josep Comas i Solà International Summer School in Astrobiology, Santander, Spain.
2012 Nordic-NASA Astrobiology Summer School, Iceland.
2009 NASA Academy, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
2008 Star tracker development for European Space Agency student Earth/Moon orbiters.

Teaching Experience

Since 2020 Mentor/Advisor of junior researchers:

  • 2022-present: Co-advisor to PhD student Mariam Naseem (Univ. Maryland) on the compositional implications of material eruption through an ice shell. Also mentored Mariam in 2020-21 on ice shell composition project.
  • 2021: PhD Dissertation Committee member for Ryan Felton (Catholic Univ. of America) on carbon cycling aspects of his work.
  • 2020-2021: Undergraduate student Taylor Bartlow on exoplanet carbon outgassing project.
  • Spring 2020: High school student Sarah Doney for STEM Capstone project titled: "Modeling and predicting the growth of deep sea saltwater mussels on Jupiter's moon Europa".

Guest Lecturer

  • 2023 Solar System Astronomy class, Univ. Maryland: "Searching for life at Enceladus".
  • 2022 Chemistry in Space class, Hamilton College: "Chemistry and habitability of Europa and Enceladus".
  • 2016 Exploring Ocean Worlds class, ASU: "Enceladus Sample Return".

2011-2012 Teaching Assistant, School of Earth & Space Exploration, Arizona State University

Taught innovative online class, Habitable Worlds, for non-science majors:

  • Designed learning software bringing to life concepts otherwise static in textbook pages.
  • Developed, tested, and improved undergraduate course content for three semesters.
  • Built class project, putting students in the shoes of scientists to find habitable worlds.
  • Guided students; discussed trending science topics in live video sessions.

Selected Public Outreach

Conference Mentor

2016 - Present

  • Mentor of (a) postdoc presenter and (b) undergraduate student, AGU Fall Meeting, 2017.
  • Outstanding Student Presentation Award judge, AGU Fall Meeting, 2017.
  • Meeting mentor to community college student, Astrobiology Science Conference, 2017.
  • Dwornik student award judge, 47th Lunar & Planetary Science Conference, 2016.

Science Fair Judge

2016 - Present

Science Consultant

2017 - Present

  • The Sea in the Sky fictional podcast by Jackson Musker (2020), available on Audible
  • Exploring the Ocean Worlds of Our Solar System by Bernard Hénin (2018), published by Springer


2015 - 2018

  • Fostered communication & outreach with community of 2000+ astrobiologists via (Social Action for a Grassroots Astrobiology Network).

Science Panelist, Phoenix ComiCon

2013 - 2016

  • Engaged with a science-enthusiastic public via cross-disciplinary panels “Future Solar System Exploration”, “Evolution Off the Rails”, and “Exoplanet Survivor”.

NASA FameLab

2014 - 2014



2024. "Revealing Callisto’s Carbon-rich Surface and CO2 Atmosphere with JWST." The Planetary Science Journal 5 (3): 60 [10.3847/psj/ad23e6] [Journal Article/Letter]

2024. "Effect of the liquid-vacuum transition on the relative abundances of amino and fatty acids sought as biosignatures on icy ocean worlds." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 630 118622 [10.1016/j.epsl.2024.118622] [Journal Article/Letter]

2024. "Long-Term Evolution of the Saturnian System." Space Science Reviews 220 (2): 20 [10.1007/s11214-024-01049-2] [Journal Article/Letter]

2024. "Future of the Search for Life: Workshop Report." Astrobiology 24 (1): 114-129 [10.1089/ast.2022.0158] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Origin and Evolution of Enceladus’s Tidal Dissipation." Space Science Reviews 219 (7): 57 [10.1007/s11214-023-01007-4] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Salt Distribution from Freezing Intrusions in Ice Shells on Ocean Worlds: Application to Europa." The Planetary Science Journal 4 (9): 181 [10.3847/psj/ace5a2] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Life Detection Knowledge Base: Taxonomy of Potential Biosignatures." Astrobiology [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Compositions and Interior Structures of the Large Moons of Uranus and Implications for Future Spacecraft Observations." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 128 (1): [10.1029/2022je007432] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Let It Go: Geophysically Driven Ejection of the Haumea Family Members." The Planetary Science Journal 3 (9): 225 [10.3847/psj/ac8e03] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Planetary Protection Assessment of Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG)–Powered Landed Missions to Ocean Worlds: Application to Enceladus." Astrobiology 22 (9): [10.1089/ast.2020.2432] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Science Autonomy for Ocean Worlds Astrobiology: A Perspective." Astrobiology [10.1089/ast.2021.0062] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "A Predicted Dearth of Majority Hypervolatile Ices in Oort Cloud Comets." The Planetary Science Journal 3 (5): 112 [10.3847/psj/ac6097] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Science Objectives for Flagship-class mission concepts for the search for evidence of life at Enceladus." Astrobiology [Full Text] [10.1089/ast.2020.2425] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Science Drivers for the Future Exploration of Ceres: From Solar System Evolution to Ocean World Science." The Planetary Science Journal 3 (3): 64 [10.3847/psj/ac502b] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Call for a framework for reporting evidence for life beyond Earth." Nature 598 (7882): 575-579 [10.1038/s41586-021-03804-9] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "VLT/SPHERE imaging survey of the largest main-belt asteroids: Final results and synthesis." Astronomy & Astrophysics 654 A56 [10.1051/0004-6361/202141781] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "The Science Case for a Return to Enceladus." The Planetary Science Journal 2 (4): 132 [Full Text] [10.3847/psj/abfb7a] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "On the Origin of the Pluto System." The Pluto System After New Horizons 475-506 [10.2458/azu_uapress_9780816540945-ch021] [Article in Book]

2021. "The Science Case for Spacecraft Exploration of the Uranian Satellites: Candidate Ocean Worlds in an Ice Giant System." The Planetary Science Journal 2 (3): 120 [10.3847/psj/abfe12] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Evidence for differentiation of the most primitive small bodies." Astronomy & Astrophysics [10.1051/0004-6361/202140342] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "The Enceladus Orbilander Mission Concept: Balancing Return and Resources in the Search for Life." The Planetary Science Journal 2 (2): 77 [Full Text] [10.3847/psj/abe4da] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Tidal Dissipation in Dual-body, Highly Eccentric, and Nonsynchronously Rotating Systems: Applications to Pluto–Charon and the Exoplanet TRAPPIST-1e." The Planetary Science Journal 2 (1): 4 [10.3847/psj/abc0f3] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "On the origin & thermal stability of Arrokoth's and Pluto's ices." Icarus 114072 [10.1016/j.icarus.2020.114072] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Returning Samples From Enceladus for Life Detection." Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences 7 26 [10.3389/fspas.2020.00026] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Phoebe's carbon isotope composition as evidence for self-shielding in the solar nebula." Icarus 345 113714 [10.1016/j.icarus.2020.113714] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Enceladus." Planetary Astrobiology 217-246 [10.2458/azu_uapress_9780816540068-ch009] [Article in Book]

2020. "Ceres: Astrobiological Target and Possible Ocean World." Astrobiology 20 269-291 [10.1089/ast.2018.1999] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "IDP-like Asteroids Formed Later than 5 Myr After Ca–Al-rich Inclusions." The Astrophysical Journal 875 (1): 30 [10.3847/1538-4357/ab0d87] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Evolution of Saturn’s mid-sized moons." Nature Astronomy 3 (6): 543-552 [10.1038/s41550-019-0726-y] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "The NASA Roadmap to Ocean Worlds." Astrobiology 19 (1): 1-27 [10.1089/ast.2018.1955] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "The Ladder of Life Detection." Astrobiology 18 (11): 1375-1402 [10.1089/ast.2017.1773] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Insights into Ceres's evolution from surface composition." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 53 (9): 1820-1843 [10.1111/maps.13181] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Secondary Electrons as an Energy Source for Life." Astrobiology 18 (1): 73-85 [10.1089/ast.2016.1510] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "The origin and evolution of a differentiated Mimas." Icarus 296 183-196 [10.1016/j.icarus.2017.06.011] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Evidence for the Interior Evolution of Ceres from Geologic Analysis of Fractures." Geophysical Research Letters 44 (19): 9564-9572 [10.1002/2017gl075086] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Aqueous geochemistry in icy world interiors: Equilibrium fluid, rock, and gas compositions, and fate of antifreezes and radionuclides." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 212 324-371 [10.1016/j.gca.2017.06.023] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Differentiation and cryovolcanism on Charon: A view before and after New Horizons." Icarus 287 175-186 [10.1016/j.icarus.2016.11.037] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Geochemistry, thermal evolution, and cryovolcanism on Ceres with a muddy ice mantle." Geophysical Research Letters 42 (23): 10,197-10,206 [10.1002/2015gl066375] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Ordinary stoichiometry of extraordinary microorganisms." Geobiology 14 (1): 33-53 [10.1111/gbi.12153] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Response of a Stoichiometrically Imbalanced Ecosystem to Manipulation of Nutrient Supplies and Ratios." PLOS ONE 10 (4): e0123949 [10.1371/journal.pone.0123949] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Core cracking and hydrothermal circulation can profoundly affect Ceres' geophysical evolution." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 120 (2): 123-154 [10.1002/2014je004714] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Prerequisites for explosive cryovolcanism on dwarf planet-class Kuiper belt objects." Icarus 246 48-64 [10.1016/j.icarus.2014.03.043] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "The effect of Rayleigh–Taylor instabilities on the thickness of undifferentiated crust on Kuiper Belt Objects." Icarus 236 122-135 [10.1016/j.icarus.2014.03.047] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Prokaryotic cells separated from sediments are suitable for elemental composition analysis." Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 12 (7): 519-529 [10.4319/lom.2014.12.519] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "The “Strong” RNA World Hypothesis: Fifty Years Old." Astrobiology 13 (4): 391-403 [10.1089/ast.2012.0868] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "A hollow-waveguide gas correlation radiometer for ultra-precise column measurements of formaldehyde on Mars." Measurement Science and Technology 22 (8): 085902 [10.1088/0957-0233/22/8/085902] [Journal Article/Letter]

Talks, Presentations and Posters


Search-for-Life Missions to Enceladus

April 2023

82nd Fujihara Seminar, Naeba, Japan.

The Ladder of Life Detection and Beyond: Detecting Life within the Practical Constraints of Space Missions

April 2022

Astrobiology Exploration Symposium, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (Japan).

Searching for life on ocean worlds

September 2021

CME-NASA Symposium, ACS Fall Meeting.

Signatures of life: Science context

April 2021

Network for Ocean Worlds Quarterly Lecture Series.

On the origin of the Pluto system

7, 2019

Neveu M., Canup R., Kratter K. The Pluto System after New Horizons Conference, abstract 7027.

Habitable Zones Overview

7, 2019

Presentation to the Planetary Protection Independent Review Board, NASA HQ.

Ocean Worlds- Exploring abodes for life in and beyond our solar system

11, 2017

Colloquium, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder.

Ocean Worlds: How did small bodies of rock and ice become so exciting?

6, 2017

Seminar, Carnegie Institute, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism.

The Geochemistry of Ceres: A Review

6, 2017

Workshop on Ceres Exploration, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

Serpentinization on Small Bodies

2, 2017

NASA Astrobiology Institute Serpentinizing Systems Science Working Group, Workshop Without Walls.

Planetary Habitability: What Life Needs, What Planets Supply, and Where to Search for Life

12, 2016

Stopover Astronomer talk, National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, Chiang Mai.

Thermal evolution of Ceres and Kuiper belt objects: Insights into possible Trojan migration

7, 2016

Jupiter Trojan 2016 meeting, JAXA/ISAS, Sagamihara, Japan.

Mapping trace gases in the solar system with a gas correlation radiometer

3, 2012

AIAA-Pegasus Student Conference, Poitiers, France.