Saturn’s moon Titan is the only moon in our solar system with a dense atmosphere, which supports an Earth-like hydrological cycle of methane clouds, rain, lakes and seas. Complex organic surface materials preserve, in a deep freeze, the types of organic chemicals that were present on Earth before life developed. Titan's icy crust floats atop an interior liquid water ocean. Dragonfly is a rotorcraft lander (an octocopter) that will explore a variety of locations on Titan. Launching in 2027 and reaching Titan in 2033, Dragonfly will journey farther than any robotic lander has ever traveled. With one hop on average every other Titan day (one Titan day equals 16 Earth days), the rotorcraft will travel from its initial landing site to areas over 100 kilometers away during the planned ~3.3-year mission.
Each student Investigator will work with one or more Dragonfly mission team members to conduct Titan research, help formulate Dragonfly mission science and operations plans, or assist in the development of instrumentation, hardware, or testing. A cohort of up to three (3) qualified graduate students from U.S. colleges and universities is selected annually for two-year terms to work with the Dragonfly team. Students dedicate 3.6 months per year (concentrated during summer and academic breaks) at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and/or their Dragonfly mentor's home institution and will receive annual research stipends and funding for travel to Dragonfly team meetings and to publish and present results at a scientific conference.
An intent of this program is to broaden mission participation; thus, it is intended for students who are not affiliated with, and whose faculty and/or research advisors are not involved with, Dragonfly or other NASA spacecraft missions. Students who are majoring in broad STEM fields such as chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, engineering and computer science, and who do not have a background in planetary science, the geosciences, atmospheric science, or their associated subfields, are especially encouraged to apply.
More information about this program, including eligibility requirements, FAQs and how to apply, can be found at https://dragonfly.jhuapl.edu/Student-Opportunities/
Interested students may also contact Program Coordinator Dr. Lynnae Quick at: Lynnae.C.Quick@nasa.gov
When applying, the candidate should include in an attachment (1) a cover letter, (2) a curriculum vitae, CV, (3) the name and contact information for the prospective faculty advisor at their home institution, and (4) a 2-3 sentence statement from the prospective faculty advisor in which they agree to support the student, should they be selected to work on Dragonfly.
An intent of this program is to broaden mission participation; thus, it is intended for students who are not affiliated with, and whose faculty and/or research advisors are not involved with, Dragonfly or other spacecraft missions. Students who do not have a background in planetary science, the geosciences, atmospheric science, or their associated subfields are encouraged to apply.
- Eligible students will have at least a 3.0 GPA
- Eligible students must be U.S. citizens pursuing a master's or doctoral degree in the physical sciences, biological sciences, computer sciences, mathematics or engineering at a U.S. institution.
- Applicants must have demonstrated ability to conduct independent research or development
- Applicants must have excellent organizational and communication skills (written and oral)
- In addition to a mentor on the Dragonfly team whose leads this project, applicants must identify a faculty member at their home institution who can serve as a faculty mentor for the 2-year duration of their participation in the program. See above instructions on submission of a statement of support from the faculty mentor