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PhD position Experimental and Numerical Simulation of Dynamical Processes of Asteroid and Comet Surfaces

Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR). Berlin-Adlershof, 23.10.2017

Start your mission with DLR.

The German Aerospace Center DLR has a dual mandate as the national research center for aero­nautics and space, and as the space agency of the German federal government. Approximately 8,000 people work for DLR on a uniquely diverse range of topics spanning the fields of aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security research. They collaborate on projects extending from fun­damental research to the development of the innovative applications and products of the future. If the idea of joining a top-class team of researchers working in a supportive, inspirational environ­ment appeals to you, then why not launch your mission with us?

Our Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin-Adlershof offers a

PhD position

Experimental and Numerical Simulation of Dynamical Processes of Asteroid and Comet Surfaces

Your mission:
The DLR Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin-Adlershof explores the origin, evolution and development of planets, their moons, asteroids and comets of our Solar System and other planetary systems. Using spacecraft and earth-based remote sensing techniques, laboratory experiments, in-situ investigations and numerical modelling, the institute is well established within the national and international research community and industry.

Recent space missions including the Rosetta and Dawn missions gathered abundant high resolution image and spectral data of asteroids and comets. These data provide valuable information on the morphologies and composition related to sublimation and out-gassing of volatiles. The active processes and distribution of ices on asteroids and comets are of particular interest to understand the distribution of water and other volatiles in our Solar System.

The DLR junior research group conducts an interdisciplinary approach including cartographic preparations, geologic analysis of remote sensing data of space missions as well as experimental and numerical simulations to analyse various surface features related to volatile content on asteroids and comets.

We are looking for a highly motivated student to support our group. The goal of the PhD work is the adaptation of a numerical code to simulate dynamical processes on asteroid and comet surfaces and the validation of the simulation by means of laboratory experiments and space mission data.

The tasks include:

  • Introduction to the simulation of the dynamics of granular media
  • Adaptation of existing software to environmental conditions on asteroids and comets
  • Implementation of laboratory experiments concerning dynamical processes on asteroids and comets (e.g. mass transport, sublimation)
  • Validation of the numerical and experimental results with mission data
  • Publications of results and presentations at international conferences

Your qualifications:
  • master/diploma degree in physics
  • strong interest in planetary science
  • knowledge of asteroids and comets science is welcome
  • preferentially experience with experimental vacuum techniques
  • excellent analytical skills
  • good programming skills
  • ability to work in a structured way, both independently and as part of a Team
  • very good communication skills in English

Your benefits:
Look forward to a fulfilling job with an employer who appreciates your commitment and supports your personal and professional development. Our unique infrastructure offers you a working environment in which you have unparalleled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. Reconciling family and working life as well as equal opportunities for women and men are an integral part of our HR policy. We therefore strongly encourage applica­tions from women. Disabled applicants with equivalent qualifications will be given preferential treatment.

If you have any questions concerning specific aspects of the job, please contact Katharina Otto by calling +49 30 67055-587. Please find further information on this vacancy with the reference number 12046, and details regarding the application procedure, at