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Water and dust in the Mars atmosphere from the Rosalind Franklin rover

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 31, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The UCL-led PanCam instrument1 on the ESA-Russia Rosalind Franklin rover is due to reach Mars in 2021 following its planned launch in 2020. The PanCam instrument consists of two wide angle cameras (WACs), each of which include an 11-position filter wheel, complemented by a high-resolution camera. Images from the WACs at different wavelengths will provide geological and atmospheric context during the mission.

In this project the student will concentrate on the atmospheric science goals of PanCam: water vapour, dust content and variable phenomena. Near sunset on Mars, PanCam will use filters near the 93.6 nm water absorption feature to determine the atmospheric water content along the line of sight. The student will develop models to invert these data into a height profile, and similarly study dust content and dust devils.

Desired Knowledge and Skills

• Undergraduate in physics
• Data analysis skills


Applications submitted by 31st January 2020 will be given full consideration. We will continue accepting applications until all places are filled. After we receive your application, we will select candidates for interviews. If you are selected, you will be invited for an interview at MSSL. You will have the opportunity to see the laboratory, students' flats and talk to current students. The studentships are for the advertised projects only. In your application, please specify which project you want to apply for.

To apply, please visit the Online Application page, select department of "Space & Climate Physics" and programme type of "Postgraduate Research". After pushing "Search Now" button, select "RRDSPSSING01: Research Degree: Space and Climate Physics" for Full-time or Part-time mode.
Our Online Applications page can be found here:

Entry requirements

An upper second-class Bachelor’s degree, or a second-class Bachelor’s degree together with a Master's degree from a UK university in a relevant subject, or an equivalent overseas qualification.

Students from the UK or those from the EU who meet the residency requirements (3 years' full-time residency in the UK) are potentially eligible for a Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) studentship.

Funding Notes

These pay UK/EU tuition fees and a maintenance allowance for 3.5 years (subject to the PhD upgrade review).

EU students who do not meet eligibility requirements still qualify for the UK/EU fees rate, but not the STFC maintenance allowance.


1. Coates et al., 2017

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