PhD position in engineering-based 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 Precious Space research group at the Institut für Planetologie, Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster, is offering a 3-year position with the opportunity to obtain a PhD degree in planetary science, funded at 75% (E13 TV-L) level. The position is to be filled as soon as possible.

The Precious Space research group is dedicated to the understanding of planetary surfaces. The team investigations are based on the development of new techniques for instruments onboard spacecraft and for laboratory-based studies. The project of the candidate consists in the development of a new technique to characterize the thermal and compositional properties of planetary surfaces from orbit or in situ. The observational technique will be based on an instrument, and in particular on the image sensor and the associated control electronics.

The activities of the successful candidate will include:

  •   Selection of COTS technology and implementation of validation activities.
  •    Thermal-vacuum cycling testing of detector and control electronics.
  •    Testing of the instrument performance and application of the technique to a planetary surface analogue.
  •    Publications of the performed work in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.


  •   Hands-on experience in the design, manufacturing or utilization of technology of the type used in space.
  •   Hans-on experience in the field of image sensor or detector and associated control electronics is desired.
  •   Ability to work independently as well as within an interdisciplinary team.
  •   A university master’s degree in physics or electronics engineering.
  •   Good written and spoken English. German knowledge is desired but not a 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, assessment reports for previous projects (e.g. bachelor and master’s theses), academic transcripts, and contact details for two referees. Documents are to be sent in a single PDF format to the electronic address below. Review of the applicants’ documents will start 10 April 2021 and will continue until the position has been filled.

Dr. Ottaviano Ruesch
Institut für Planetologie
Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster
Wilhelm-Klemm-Straße 10
48149 Münster – Germany

Tagged as: research, COTS technology, Thermal-vacuum

Visit us on LinkedInVisit us on FacebookVisit us on Twitter