The Institute of Planetary Research carries out and supports research programs on the internal structure, formation and evolution of the planets, their moons, and asteroids and comets of our Solar System and other planetary systems. Techniques employed include remote sensing and in-situ investigations using instruments carried on spacecraft, astronomical observations from the ground, theoretical modeling, and laboratory experiments. In our own Solar System, a growing focus in planetary exploration is on in-situ measurements and sample return missions. The detailed mineralogical and geochemical analysis of samples in connection with in-situ measurements at the landing/sampling site allow to place the remote sensing data into context. For this purpose, the Institute for Planetary Research is extending its laboratory capabilities by setting up a dedicated Sample Analysis Lab (SAL).
Within SAL extraterrestrial material will be analyzed by mineralogical and geochemical methods. As part of a new investment DLR will implement the following analytical capabilities: elemental analysis via Electron Microprobe and scanning electron microscopy; mineralogical analysis with x-ray diffraction and micro-spectroscopy. In parallel spectral analysis of terrestrial analog materials and meteorites will be continued providing a direct comparison between the analysis of remote sensing measurements and ground-truth from the returned samples. This allows to use the synergies between the detailed analysis on the sample and the global characterization of the target body.
For this new laboratory DLR is searching for a researcher for the setup and certification of all analytical instruments as well as for the development of new measurement methods and handling protocols for extraterrestrial samples including the curation of samples. Required are a PhD in Physics, geochemistry, petrology, mineralogy, geology or material science as well as experience with all techniques used at SAL and with the handling of extraterrestrial material. Experience working on planetary missions, especially sample return missions, would be beneficial.
It is DLR policy that young scientists will be offered full opportunities for their post-graduate educational development. Applications should include a motivation letter summarizing research interests, academic transcripts from relevant degrees, CV, and names and contact information of two references. Please submit your application online by January 31, 2024.