A research assistant position within the project Exocube is available in the “Experimental Space Sciences” group of Dr. A.Elsaesser in the Physics Department of Free University of Berlin. Exocube is an exposure platform for the International Space Station and will allow to study the effects of the space environment on samples ranging from simple organic molecules and so-called biomarkers to unicellular organisms. Infrared spectroscopy will be a main tool to monitor radiation damage and photochemical reactions of organic molecules while colorimetric and fluorescence measurements will help to study the metabolic activity and stress response of a selection of organisms to the space environment. Ground-based preparation and prototype testing as well as experimental support of the actual flight phase will be a main part of the project. A prolongation of the possition is likely but subject to funding approval. The opportunity to conduct doctoral research will be given.
We are looking for highly motivated candidates with an interest in interdisciplinary research in the fields of biophysics, astrochemistry and astrobiology. A solid background in physics or chemistry is of advantage. Main tasks will involve the preparation and characterisation of samples for the Exocube platform, exposure to simulated solar radiation and sample characterisation via spectroscopic and other methods. The candidate will be involved in current collaborations with the German Space Agency (DLR), the European Space and Technology Centre (ESTEC/ESA) and NASA Ames Research Center.
Master degree (or equivalent) in Physics, Chemistry, Biology or related disciplines.
Ability and interest to work in an interdisciplinary field
Very good English language skills.