Student-Faculty Programs Office
Summer 2017 Announcements of Opportunity

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Project:  Multi-Phase, Planetary-Chemistry Modeling for Biosignatures
Disciplines:  Chemistry/Chemical Engineering, Planetary Science
Mentor:  Pin Chen, (JPL),, Phone: (818) 393-0412
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
Background:  This project aims to implement a systematic modeling framework for identifying new exoplanetary signatures of life and habitability. We first model a lifeless Earth-like planet as an integrated atmosphere-ocean-rock geochemical system. We then compare this abiotic reference systems atmospheric compositions and spectra at various geological times against what we know of the actual biogeochemical Earth to identify potential biosignatures. Moreover, we apply biogenic fluxes to the system and changes in orbital distance, star type, and planet mass to investigate resulting habitability, atmospheric composition, and spectral changes.
Description:  The intern will participate in the development of a computer software suite that incorporates solid and aqueous equilibrium chemistry, atmospheric chemistry, and atmospheric escape to simulate atmospheric compositions and observable spectra. In particular, she/he will investigate the impact of mineral (solid equilibrium) chemistry on atmospheric composition. The investigation will involve setting up appropriate scientific scenarios and conducting computer simulation runs. It will involve some amount of code development/revision as well.
Student Requirements:  Familiarity with chemical equilibria/thermodynamics and kinetics.
Familiarity with Fortran, Matlab, and/or Python is a plus.
Location / Safety:  Project building and/or room locations: . Student will need special safety training: No.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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Problems with or questions about submitting an AO?  Call Jen Manglos of the Student-Faculty Programs Office at (626) 395-2885.
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