Researcher in Planetary Science

Company Details

We study the origin of the solar system, the formation and chemical differentiation of asteroids and terrestrial planets, and the geologcial evolution of these bodies. To address these questions, we use a wide range of methods, including laboratory experiments, meteoritics, isotope geochemistry and remote sensing, and also participate in space missions.

The Institute of Planetology at the University of Münster, Germany, is seeking a skilled and motivated candidate to take on a position in experimental planetary science funded at the post-doctoral level of 100% (E13 TV-L).

The position is for 2 years and the preferred start date is 3 August 2020.

The postdoctoral candidate will integrate the research group of Dr. Ottaviano Ruesch dedicated to the study of regolith (rocks and loose particulate material) on Solar System objects, namely the Moon, asteroids and Mars. The team is working on the understanding of processes controlling regolith development such as small impact bombardment and diurnal thermal stresses. Understanding the nature, origin and evolution of regolith is paramount for a wide range of research fields, including geological processes at the local scale, volatiles accumulation, and organic matter preservation. These activities are, and will be, closely linked to space exploration with spacecraft through the involvement of the team and institute in current and planned space missions. The candidate will have the opportunity to perform research based on laboratory experiments simulating conditions on planetary surfaces.

The activities to be performed will be

  • Installation and operation of a customized setup to simulate conditions on airless planetary surfaces. This can include the design and testing of new physical measurement units.
  • Perform research (i.e. plan, implement, publish) based on the aforementioned experiment as well as other research tools (e.g. computer tomography, scanning electron microscope) within and outside the University. These activities will be conducted within a team and may include the supervision of doctoral students.


  • Proven and in-depth expertise (i.e. at least one year) studying the physical, spectral or chemical properties of materials using laboratory equipment in either the engineering or scientific field.
  • Proven expertise (i.e. at least one year) maintaining and manipulating a customized setup for low/high temperature and/or low pressure conditions. Previous use of instrumentation for space applications is an advantage.
  • Knowledge in the properties of geological materials including meteorites. The capability to develop physical models or perform numerical simulations with finite element method software is an advantage.
  • A master’s or doctoral degree in an appropriate field, preferentially geosciences. If the candidate has no doctoral degree a comparable expertise needs to be demonstrated that corresponds to several years of work in an appropriate non-academic field.
  • Good written and spoken English. German language skills are desirable but not a pre-requisite.

The University of Münster is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to increasing the proportion of women academics. Consequently, we actively encourage applications by women. Female candidates with equivalent qualifications and academic achievements will be preferentially considered within the framework of the legal possibilities. We also welcome applications from candidates with severe disabilities. Disabled candidates with equivalent qualifications will be preferentially considered.

Applications should include a CV, motivation letter, academic transcripts, and contact details for two referees. Please send all documents combined in a single PDF. Review of applications will begin 3. April 2020 and will continue until the position has been filled.


Tagged as: research, solar system, moon, asteroids, mars, thermal stresses

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