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Mars crustal magnetic fields: protection for exploration

   Department of Space & Climate Physics

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  Prof A Coates  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The surface of Mars is a harsh environment for robotic and human exploration, with strong temperature differences (0 to 20 °C during the day and -100 to -120 °C at night), ultraviolet radiation which penetrates the thin atmosphere, and a significant radiation environment from galactic and solar energetic particle sources. Mars also has a network of crustal magnetic fields, which are evidence of a past global protective magnetic field. Since the Mars global magnetic field was lost 3.8-4 billion years ago, the atmosphere was gradually lost via solar wind scavenging. The current Mars atmosphere is dominated by CO2, and the atmospheric pressure varies with time of day and year, but the pressure is overall less than 1% of Earth’s. In this project we will study the protection provided by crustal fields for potential future exploration, by modelling plasma and radiation effects and comparing with data from Mars Express, Maven and Curiosity. We will also model the subsurface effects, relevant for future missions including Mars sample return, Rosalind Franklin and future exploration, building on techniques used by Dartnell…Coates et al., GRL 2007. We will also study novel materials for increased radiation protection for Mars surface exploration.

Desired Knowledge and Skills

  • Undergraduate/masters in physics or relevant subject.
  • Strong computational skills 

For details of how to apply please refer to our website: PhD Opportunities | UCL Department of Space and Climate Physics - UCL – University College London.

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