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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:  Landing site selection on Europa
Disciplines:  Planetary Science, Geological/Geophysical Engineering
Mentor:  Morgan Cable, (JPL),, Phone: (818) 354-2126
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
Background:  NASA is currently formulating initial concepts for a mission to land on Jupiters moon Europa. Current data for Europa is based solely on the images from the Galileo spacecraft, and is unfortunately limited in resolution. In order to land on Europa, we must maximize the scientific return from available datasets, and also extend their reach by creating synthetic terrain models of potential Europa-like surfaces.

Images of a planetary surface can be used to create a 3d model of surface features by using overlapping images at slightly different viewing geometries to create a stereo view of the surface. The output of this process is a Digital Elevation Model (DEM), which is a 3d shape file that includes the latitude, longitude, and elevation for each point in the covered surface area. Some digital elevation models exist based on Europa data, but this project will involve systematically creating as many DEMs as possible for Europa using existing software techniques in a consistent method.
Description:  This project will involve:
1) Generation of digital elevation models of Europas surface from existing Galileo stereo images, using Ames Stereo Pipeline software
2) Extraction of profiles and measurements from digital terrain models to provide data for synthetic terrain modelling efforts, using programs such as ArcGIS
3) Assistance with generation of probabilistic synthetic terrains in collaboration with landing site selection engineers
References:  1) R. Pappalardo, W. McKinnon, and K. Khurana, editors. Europa. University of Arizona Press, 2009.
2) K. Hand et al., 2017. Report of the Europa Lander Science Definition Team. Posted February 2017.
Student Requirements:  Familiarity with digital image processing and manipulation (Photoshop, etc). Basic familiarity with Python or MatLab, and experience with linux/unix operating system, preferred. General background and coursework in physics, astronomy, geology, and/or planetary science preferred.
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    Caltech students only 

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

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