Post Doctoral Research Associate (Lunar Volatiles)

The Open University

Postdoctorate Position 4 months Milton Keynes, UK

Uploaded 20 Sep 2020

Job Description

Applications are invited for an STFC-funded PDRA position in the School of Physical Sciences at The Open University. Our research covers a wide range of Solar System science and exploration. We investigate the origin and evolution of the Solar System, through the physical, geological, chemical and biological processes that drive it. We use laboratory and space mission experiments, remote observation, environmental simulation and modelling to investigate the surfaces and atmospheres of the terrestrial planets, the Moon, asteroids, comets and extra-terrestrial materials.

The post-holder will be expected to work independently but will be part of an active Cosmochemistry Research Group (CRG). The research will involve carrying out a novel study that will explore the volatile inventory of the Moon through in situ measurements of the abundance and isotopic composition of volatiles (e.g., H, S, Cl) in lunar samples (focussing on nominally anhydrous minerals (NAMs) and melt inclusions (MIs)). You will be involved in writing up the outcomes of your research for journal submission and taking part in conferences and webinars.

To be effective in this role, the successful candidate will have a demonstrable prior experience in lunar petrology/geochemistry using standard petrological tools, ideally a good competency with SIMS/NanoSIMS, and a proven track-record of handling large and complex geochemical datasets for understanding geochemical processes as evidenced by relevant published work.

A successful outcome from this work will be a better understanding of the distribution and source(s) for these volatiles in the lunar interior and processes influencing their evolution over the geological history of the Moon. This work is analytically challenging, requiring significant skills and patience in manipulating rare and small samples, developing new NanoSIMS standards and protocols as required and the ability to work independently as well as part of team in a modern laboratory environment.

Person Specification

You will have a PhD or equivalent qualification in geochemistry or in a closely related field, as well, but not limited to:

  • Demonstrable expertise in lunar geochemistry, minerology and petrology.
  • Experience of using Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) in acquiring isotopic and elemental analyses in planetary materials at high-spatial resolution.
  • Ability to plan own work, prioritise workload and to deliver results on schedule;
  • Strong verbal and written communication and presentation skills

Opportunities for professional development will be provided through formal and informal training.