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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 - Mechanical design
Disciplines:  Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering
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:  Studying the creation of water and its transfer in the Solar System contains information about the evolution of the Solar System and the process by which water ended up on Earth. For that reason, the majority of NASA missions are looking for water and/or ocean worlds inside and outside our Solar System. One of the approaches used to study the origin and evolution of water on Earth comes from studying spectral signatures of water, such as OH, and OD/OH ratio spectral signatures in near UV and Lyman-alpha. This presents a challenge to the observer because these spectral signatures are very faint and difficult to measure, often requiring in situ, bulky spectrometers are sent to the astronomical bodies in space by spacecraft. In our lab at JPL, we are developing a new generation of technologies that are capable of making such measurements remotely using small aperture telescopes from ultra-compact instruments. These spectrometers smaller than the size of 1 U CubeSat (10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm) but have the sensitivity of a 5-meter telescope for observing a targeted spectral signature.
Description:  We are running multiple ongoing instrument development projects that require mechanical engineering/computer science/computer engineering support. We have been selected 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 are supporting a number of mission concept studies to use our instrument for studying planetary and astrophysics targets. These missions include SmallSats and CubeSats as well as flying our instrument on large, interplanetary spacecraft. Under this announcement of opportunity, the student(s) will develop the mechanical design and vibration analysis 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 mechanical and electrical interfaces and system requirements and system integration strategy and process. The student(s) will be responsible for taking notes and documenting the work and progress between groups at JPL and other companies.
Student Requirements:  Mechanical engineering and analysis
FEMAP and Simcenter Nastran NX Nastran
Python Programming
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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