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SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program. Additional AOs for the Amgen Scholars program can be found here.

Specific GROWTH projects being offerred for summer 2018 can be found here.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  Investigating ice composition and potential for habitability in the Solar System
Disciplines:  Planetary Science, Chemistry/Chemical Engineering
Mentor:  Robert Hodyss, (JPL),, Phone: (818) 205-4990
Background:  Ices in the solar system are present on multiple bodies at their poles or as shells on colder bodies further away from the Sun. Most of this ice is composed of small molecules like water, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia etc. Ices can be subject to thermal processing from diurnal cycling as well as irradiation by energetic particles such as photons, electrons, or heavy ions coming from the sun or planetary bodies in the vicinity. For some icy worlds like Europa or Enceladus, an ocean can exist under the ice shell and may allow for life to develop. These moons are our best targets to find life outside of Earth as micro-organisms formed in the ocean can migrate into the ice shell and be detected by future landing missions if they survive the harsh conditions encountered there.Laboratory experiments mimicking ice processing and microorganism survivability in icy environments are required to further our understanding of ice physical-chemical processes and astrobiology to support Solar System exploration.
Description:  Project 1:
This project is focused on measuring the viability of spores when they are irradiation by UV photons under Europa or Enceladus-like conditions. The primary task of the intern for this project will be to optimize the spore production method and generate a spore stock that can be used for viability studies. The intern will also assist with spore irradiation under vacuum at different temperatures (30 300 K) and in different icy environments (H2O, SO2, H2O2, NH3, MgSO4) to investigate shielding effects. Microbiology skills are suitable for this project.

Project 2:
Thermal processing of lunar ice analogs is the focus of this project. Lunar ices found at the poles have been suggested as a resource for an eventual lunar base/refueling station. Broad measurements of the ice composition have shown that volatiles species like H2S, CO2, NH3 can be trapped within the dominant H2O ice at temperature where they should be sublimated. The intern for this project will perform experiments to study and quantify the entrapment of volatile species by a H2O ice matrix using (ultra) high-vacuum and cryogenic techniques to grow ices and use mass spectrometry and a microbalance as detection tools.
References:  Horneck, G., Klaus, D. M. & Mancinelli, R. L. Space Microbiology. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews 74, 121156 (2010).
Noell, A. C. et al. Spectroscopy and Viability of Bacillus subtilis Spores after Ultraviolet Irradiation: Implications for the Detection of Potential Bacterial Life on Europa. Astrobiology 15, 2031 (2015).

Colaprete, A. et al. Detection of Water in the LCROSS Ejecta Plume. Science 330, 463468 (2010).Fayolle, E. C., Öberg, K. I., Cuppen, H. M., Visser, R. & Linnartz, H. Laboratory H2O:CO2 ice desorption data: entrapment dependencies and its parameterization with an extended three-phase model. 529, A74 (2011).

Student Requirements: 
Location / Safety:  Project building and/or room locations: . Student will need special safety training: Yes.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

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

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