News and events

News and events

News & Events


Planetary Research Internships

We are offering a select number of planetary research internships in 2020 to students interested in planetary research. A number are listed below - please contact for more information on how to apply.

Research Internships

1. Developing TIR multispectral libraries for cubesat systems

This internship will involve laboratory work developing a detailed multispectral library using a new thermal infrared (TIR) system being developed to fly on an upcoming cubesat mission. TIR uses long wavelength infrared to look at both heat signatures from a body, as well as the emissivity spectra for derive information about mineralogy (eg. see here). However, there are few good reference libraries for minerals commonly encountered in meteoritic bodies in most IR databases, and there is a need to develop a reference library for common extraterrestrial material. This project will use a TIR microbolometer and optics system, with spectral filters, to develop a detailed reference library of extraterrestrial materials in the TIR wavelength band. Supervisor: Craig O'Neill

2. Reflecting optical systems for TIR on cubesats (2 placements)

This project will design and develop a reflecting telescopic system for a 3U cubesat. It will work on developing the basic optics, proof of concept with Earth-based observations, and integration into a planned cubesat payload. Supervisors: Christian Schwabb, Ediz Cetin.

3. Synthesis and Characterisation of extraterrestrial material

Detailed mapping of extraterrestrial material over any wavelength requires detailed spectral libraries, and these are generally developed from pristine mineralogical samples of the materials in question. This is problematic for extraterrestrial materials, which are rare, often in low abundance on Earth, or of small grain size, making this characterisation difficult. The project with use the known stoichiometry of these compounds to synthesis them in presses, and use geochemical analysis such as micro-XRF to confirm the detailed geochemical variations on these samples.  Supervisors: Tracy Rushmer, John Creech.

4. Tracking groundwater using satellite data

Recent missions such as GRACE have allowed reconstructions of time-varying gravity through time, which has been used to track ocean currents and surface hydrological cycles. It has recently been shown that this data is sensitive to changing subsurface fluid reservoirs, such as carbon-geosequestration projects, where the change in subsurface mass can have a long-wavelength gravity affect. This project will utilise processed GRACE gravity data over the mission lifetime to assess its ability to track subsurface water variations - particularly in the Murray-Darling drainage system, Australia.

2019 Deep Planetary Interiors Workshop

Friday, 8th November, 2019
Macquarie University


Marc Norman, ANU
Topic: the formation of the lunar crust.
Venue: E7A (12 Wally's Walk) Room 801. Time: 11am
Dr Andy TomkinsMonash
Topic: meteoritic analysis, micrometeorites, and their record of planetary atmospheres.
Venue: E7A Room 127. Time: 2pm

Following the talks we will have a number of nano-presentations from our students, and local visitors, on aspects of meteoritics, asteroid mining, asteroid-stability, Mars's atmosphere, and other things. This will be followed by a poster session with wine and cheese.

2018 Planetary Fluid Dynamics Short Course

Tuesday 14th of August, 10am-2pm

Friday 17th August, 12pm-4pm

E7A (12 Wally's Walk) Room 127

Macquarie University


Prof Julian Lowman, University of Toronto

Prof Lowman is a geodynamicist with a background in planetary interiors, mantle convection, and high-performance computing.

The workshops will be a combination of lectures and worked activities and will cover:

i) The fluid dynamics formulation of planetary interiors

ii) Peculiarities of convection within planets

iii) Models of planetary gravity and dynamic effects.

2017 Planetary Frontiers Workshop

16th and 17th November 2017

Macquarie University

Plenary speakers:

  • Professor Munir Humuyan, Florida State, on ‘The oldest surface environment of Mars from the Martian meteorite Black Beauty’.
  • Dr David Ciardi, Chief Scientist, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute Caltech, NASA's Kepler Mission, on 'Spawning a revolution in exoplanets and beyond'.

Click here to register for the 2017 Planetary Frontiers Workshop (Registrations deadline: 1 November 2017)

To download the 2017 Planetary Frontiers Workshop circular, please click here

Back to the top of this page