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PhD thesis : Looking for clues of life in ocean worlds (Titan, Europa and Enceladus) through in situ analysis of the organic matter M/F

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General information

Reference : UMR8190-CYRSZO-001
Workplace : GUYANCOURT
Date of publication : Thursday, September 10, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : cyril.szopa@latmos.ipsl.fr
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2020
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

In the coming years, space probes will be sent to the surface of ocean worlds of the solar system (Titan, Europa…) to characterize their habitability and to seek for traces of life. Our team is involved in two programs to develop instruments dedicated to the exploration of Titan and Europa's surfaces. In this framework, we are developping a gas chromatograph and investigating sample preparation methods suited to characterize organic molecules present at the surface of these oceans worlds. The PhD student
will work on the sample preparation, optimization of the separation, and quantification of the organic molecules of interest. The student will also collect and characterize chemical analogues of the materials present at the oceans worlds surface. The work related to Titan will be favored because the Dragonfly mission was selected by NASA last summer and we are co-investigator on it.

Work Context

This work is co-funded by CNES and DIM IDF ACAV+ and it will be supervised by Dr C. Freissinet and Pr C. Szopa from LATMOS. It is a highly collaborative work with french and international laboratories, especially with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The work will be done at LATMOS in Guyancourt, by using the facilities of the Astrochemistry/Astrobiology team.

Constraints and risks

The candidate must have a master degree or an engineer diploma. The position requires for :
• Strong knowledge in planetary sciences and/or astrobiology
• Strong motivation to develop experimental and instrumental skills to respond to the objectives of thes space instruments developped at LATMOS.
• Good skills in oral and written communication to present the work at international conferences or in articles, and to participate to the team meetings with the collaborators of he project.

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