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Announcements of Opportunity

SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program.

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. Click here for more tips on finding a mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

New for 2021: Students applying for JPL projects should complete a SURF@JPL application instead of a "regular" SURF application.

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

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Project:  Miniaturize Spectrometer - electronic design
Disciplines:  Electrical Engineering, Software
Mentor:  Seyedeh Sona Hosseini, (JPL), Sona.Hosseini@jpl.nasa.gov, Phone: (626) 660-5447
Mentor URL:  https://science.jpl.nasa.gov/people/Hosseini/  (opens in new window)
Background:  The majority of the NASA missions are looking for water and ocean worlds inside and outside our Solar System. Studying the creation of water and its transfer in the Solar System contains information about the evolution of Solar System and how did water end up on the Earth. One of the approaches to study where the water on Earth came from is by studying spectral signatures from water such as Lyman-alpha, OH, and OD/OH ratio on various objects in the Solar System. However, these spectral signatures are very faint and a very difficult measurement to make, often require in situ bulky spectrometers to be sent to the astronomical bodies with spacecraft. In our lab at JPL, we develop a new generation of technologies that has the capability to make such measurements remotely using small aperture telescopes from ultra-compact instruments. These spectrometers are in the size of a shoebox or a sneaker bar (!00) but have the sensitivity of a 5-meter telescope for observing a targeted spectral signature.
Description:  We have multiple ongoing instrument development projects that require electrical engineering/computer science/computer engineering. We have a project to fly our breadboard spectrometer on a Blue Origin Rocket in summer 2021 and test our instrument by making measurements from Earths atmosphere as the rocket goes up to +80 km altitude and returns to Earth. We also have a few mission concept studies for studying planetary and astrophysics targets from SmallSats and CubeSats as well as onboard of large spacecrafts. Under this announcement of opportunity, the student(s) will develop the electrical breadboard and data handling software package for the spectrometer given a set of requirements and work on the vibration and thermal analysis to ensure the instruments survival and performance after launch and in flight. Depending on the background of the student (s) they can also be involved in reviewing the electrical interfaces and system requirements and system integration strategy and process.
The student will be responsible to take notes and document the process of working and progressing between groups in JPL and other companies.
Student Requirements:  Electrical engineering and analysis
Electronics design and coding
Machine learning
Location / Safety:  Project building and/or room locations: . Student will need special safety training: .
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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