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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 2017 can be found here.

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

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.

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Project:  Design, Fabrication, and Test of a Multi-Segmented Neutral Buoyancy Robot
Discipline:  Physics/Applied Physics
Mentor:  William West, (JPL),, Phone: (818) 354-5474
Background:  A segmented eel-like robot (Eel-Bot) concept has been proposed that uses liquid methane from Titans oceans that is vaporized over a radioisotope heat source for both power generation and propulsion. The Eel-Bot could generate electrical power and take mechanical advantage of rejected heat for vapor-driven propulsion to perform long-lived science studies of Titans oceans. The internally heated and pressurized gas would provide segmented, articulated thrust for swimming and diving while the co-generated electrical power is used to carry out the mission objectives of imaging the surface and undersea topology, "hydrology", and chemistry of Titans oceans.
Description:  This project calls for the rapid design, build, and test of a segmented robotic prototype towards the goal of achieving proof of concept for several aspects of the technology in a terrestrial (water-borne) environment. The system will use conventional heaters to generate water vapor ejected from the segmented bladders to demonstrate two key aspects of the system: buoyancy control and mobility.
Student Requirements:  The student should have a strong background in physics (including mechanics and fluid dynamics), control theory, and programming. The student should have an interest in rapid prototyping and robotics.
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    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

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

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