The NSSTC Planetary Science group is part of the National Space Science and Technology Center at UAE University.
The focus of the group's research is primarily Mars' atmosphere, where we have expertise in planetary climate modelling, data assimilation, the dust cycle, the upper atmosphere, and other physical processes relevant to Mars' atmosphere and climate. We are also interested in Mars' astrobiology and Earth-Mars analogue environments. Alongside Mars, we have expertise in modelling giant planet atmospheres, geophysical fluid dynamics laboratory experiments, and visible and radar remote sensing.
We have ongoing research projects with the Emirates Mars Mission science team, Oxford University in the UK, the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique in Paris, France, the Space Science Institute in Boulder (CO), USA, and the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter ACS instrument team. We are also in an ongoing exchange and research collaboration with Aeolis Research in Pasadena, CA, USA.
This work focuses on developing a data assimilation scheme for Mars' atmosphere, and using it to understand aspects of Mars' atmospheric circulation. Data assimilation blends together observations from spacecraft in Mars orbit with simulations using the LMD Mars Global Climate Model (GCM). Data assimilation is a technique widespread in environmental science. It combines a model with observations in a statistically rigorous manner to produce representations of the system closer to reality than either the model or the observations by themselves. The model also fills in gaps where no observations are available, and retrieves unobserved quantities based on known relationships between observed and unobserved variables.
The LMD Mars data assimilation scheme was developed by Navarro et al. (2014, 2017). It uses the Local Ensemble Transform Kalman Filter (LETKF) method for data assimilation (Hunt et al., 2007), and assimilates observations from the Mars Climate Sounder instrument (MCS) on board Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The LETKF is an ensemble-based data assimilation scheme that, like other Ensemble Kalman Filters, uses an ensemble of model simulations to approximate the background error covariance matrix required by the Kalman Filter.
Work is currently focusing on assimilating temperature observations from the Atmospheric Chemistry Suite (ACS) instrument on board the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter spacecraft. This has been in Mars orbit since 2016, and we are particularly focusing on the MY34 Global Dust Storm (2018). ACS's TIRVIM channel observes Mars in the thermal infrared in nadir and solar occultation modes. Of particular relevance to the assimilation are the measurements used to generate atmospheric temperature profiles and dust and water ice column opacities.
Mars dust storms are critical for engineering parameters, the entry-descent-landing (EDL) operation of spacecraft, the energy production by the solar panels of Mars rovers and landers, and presumably the health and safety of future astronauts on Mars. A recent example is the loss of contact with the Mars rover Opportunity as a direct consequence of a global dust storm event (GDE) during mid-2018.
GDEs are the result of local/regional dust storms growing to planetary size, and have a duration of up to a few months. GDEs also occurred in 2001 and 2007. The historical observational record shows that GDEs are irregular in time and occur, on average, once every few Martian years (1 Martian Year is equal to ca. 1.9 Earth Years).
Using Mars Global Climate Models (MGCMs), it is challenging to realistically simulate the occurrence of GDEs in some Martian Years and their absence in others. Together with image data from Mars orbiting satellites, MGCMs are a critical tool for advancing our understanding of the physical processes giving rise to Mars dust storms from local to global size. This has, in turn, direct implications for the future forecasting of Martian dust storms.
|Dr Roland Young||Assistant Professor (Physics), Group Leader|
|Dr Claus Gebhardt||Assistant Professor (Physics)|
|Dr Bijay Guha||Postdoctoral Fellow|
|Dr Neha Gupta||Postdoctoral Fellow|
|Maryam Al Jaberi||Research Assistant|
|Maryam Al Blooshi||Research Assistant|
|Hadi Al Ahbabi||Research Assistant|
|Dr Aquib Moin||Associate Professor (Physics)|
|Dr Abdelgadir Abuelgasim||Associate Professor (Geography)|
|Maryam Al Blooshi||PhD in Geography and GIS dissertation ressearch||2022-||Claus Gebhardt & Abdelgadir Abuelgasim|
|Haneen Abouhaligah||MSc in Space Science thesis||2022-||Roland Young|
|Shaimaa Alblooki||MSc in Space Science thesis||2021-||Roland Young|
|Hind Alriyami||MSc in Space Science thesis||2021-||Claus Gebhardt|
|Fatima Alkaabi||MSc in Space Science thesis||2021-||Claus Gebhardt|
|Meirah Alzeyoudi||MSc in Space Science thesis||2021-||Claus Gebhardt|
|Malak Ali Hamed||MSc in Physics thesis||2019-||Roland Young|
|Mohammad Ahli||BSc in Physics internship||2023||Roland Young|
|Maryam Alshehhi||BSc in Physics internship||2023||Claus Gebhardt|
|Shamma Almaysari||BSc in Physics internship||2023||Claus Gebhardt|
|Ali Alhebsi||BSc in Physics internship||2023||Bijay Guha|
|Dr David Fernández-Remolar||Senior Researcher||2022-2023|
|Dr George Cann||Postdoctoral Fellow||2022-2023|
|Ahmad Jalil||Researcher (Remote sensing)||2019-2022|
|Khulood Al Shehhi||Research Assistant||2020-2022|
|Dr Luca Montabone||Distinguished Visiting Faculty||2020 Spring|
|Alya Alkindi||Internship student||2023||David Fernández-Remolar|
|Omar Alattas||MSc in Space Science thesis||2023||David Fernández-Remolar & Osman Adelghany|
|Darin Moussa||BSc in Mathematics internship||2023 Spring||Roland Young|
|Shahed Hussein||BSc in Mathematics internship||2023 Spring||Roland Young|
|Nour Al Zoubi||BSc in Mathematics internship||2023 Spring||Bijay Guha|
|Aiswarya Sethu||BSc in Chemistry internship||2023 Spring||David Fernández-Remolar|
|Shehab Eldemerdash||BSc in Chemistry internship||2023 Spring||David Fernández-Remolar|
|Waad Alshehhi||BSc in Physics internship||2023 Spring||Claus Gebhardt|
|Shurouq Alqahtani||BSc in Physics internship||2023 Spring||Claus Gebhardt|
|Nouf Alkalbani||BSc in Physics internship||2023 Spring||Claus Gebhardt|
|Jawher Alnuaimi||BSc in Physics internship||2023 Spring||Neha Gupta|
|Marwah Alyileili||BSc in Physics internship||2023 Spring||George Cann|
|Noura Alderei||BSc in Mathematics internship||2022 Fall||Claus Gebhardt|
|Khulood Al Shehhi||MSc in Physics thesis||2021-2022||Claus Gebhardt & Roland Young|
|Aisha Aldarei||EMM REU Programme internship||2022 Summer||Claus Gebhardt|
|Jawaher Altamimi||EMM REU Programme internship||2022 Summer||Claus Gebhardt|
|Shaimaa Alblooki||MSc in Space Science internship||2022 Summer||Roland Young|
|Hind Alriyami||MSc in Space Science internship||2022 Summer||Claus Gebhardt|
|Fatima Alkaabi||MSc in Space Science internship||2022 Summer||Claus Gebhardt|
|Meirah Alzeyoudi||MSc in Space Science internship||2022 Summer||Claus Gebhardt|
|Shama Alkindi||BSc in Physics internship||2022 Summer||Roland Young|
|Anoud Alzaabi||BSc in Physics internship||2022 Summer||Claus Gebhardt|
|Meera Al Ali||BSc in Physics internship||2022 Summer||Bijay Guha|
|Mohammed Al Minhali||BSc in Physics internship||2022 Spring||Roland Young|
|Reem Fararah||BSc in Physics internship||2022 Spring||Roland Young|
|Shamma Alsaedi||BSc in Physics internship||2022 Spring||Claus Gebhardt|
|Wadima Al Hemeiri||BSc in Physics internship||2022 Spring||Claus Gebhardt|
|Hadi Al Ahbabi||BSc in Physics internship||2022 Spring||Bijay Guha|
|Rawdha Al Bedwawi||MSc in Physics thesis||2019-2021||Aquib Moin & Luca Montabone|
|Ahmed AlMutawa||MSc in Space Science thesis||2021||Roland Young|
|Maryam Alhmoudi||BSc in Mathematics internship||2021 Fall||Roland Young|
|Mariam Almasoomy||BSc in Mathematics internship||2021 Fall||Claus Gebhardt|
|Sara Alblooshi||BSc in Mathematics internship||2021 Fall||Claus Gebhardt|
|Nouf Alsaedi||BSc in Geosciences internship||2021 Fall||Ahmad Jalil|
|Mohamed Alfahim (QMUL)||EMM REU Programme internship||2021 Summer||Roland Young|
|Hessa Alsuwaidi (AUS)||EMM REU Programme internship||2021 Summer||Claus Gebhardt|
|Sara AlShamsi||BSc in Mathematics internship||2021 Spring||Claus Gebhardt|
|Fatma Al Shihhi||BSc in Mathematics internship||2021 Spring||Claus Gebhardt|
|Aaesha Alshehhi||BSc in Mathematics internship||2021 Spring||Claus Gebhardt|
|Monia Eltayeb||BSc in Physics internship||2021 Spring||Roland Young|
|Alam Saj||BSc in Physics internship||2020 Fall||Claus Gebhardt|
|Mohammed Alawadhi||BSc in Physics internship||2020 Fall||Roland Young|
|Mariam Al Kaabi (SUAD)||BSc in Physics internship||2019 Q2||Claus Gebhardt|
|Latifa Alketbi||MBRSC Explore Mars competition||2018-19||Claus Gebhardt|
|Afra Alshemeili||MBRSC Explore Mars competition||2018-19||Claus Gebhardt|
|Amal Mohamed||MBRSC Explore Mars competition||2018-19||Claus Gebhardt|
UAEU students interested in planetary science are always welcome to get in touch with us in F3-0228, or on extension 4030.
Applications for all positions must be made via Jobs@UAEU. While enquiries are welcome, please do not apply for these positions by email - it must be done through Jobs@UAEU.
Nothing at present.
PhD Scholarships at NSSTC for UAE
We are interested in supervising projects related to the following topics in planetary science (note: descriptions are a few years old). Interested students should contact us directly, or enquire through NSSTC at email@example.com. Note that the formal application for the PhD program has to be made separately through the College of Graduate Studies.
MSc Studentships based at NSSTC for UAE Nationals
Opportunities for MSc studentships based at NSSTC are available to work on thesis topics related to the group's research.
If you have recently been admitted to UAEU's MSc in Space Science program and are interested in doing your thesis within the group, please get in contact with us or enquire through NSSTC at firstname.lastname@example.org. We usually go through a supervisor-student matching process each semester, organised by the MSc Program Coordinator.
We are interested in supervising projects related to the following topics in planetary science (among others).
UAEU students interested in doing their undergraduate internship with us (e.g. PHYS500, MATH500, CHEM419, GEOL500), should contact NSSTC at email@example.com in the first instance.
NSSTC is a research and development institute of some 50 staff located on the UAE University campus in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, about 90 minutes' drive from Abu Dhabi and Dubai. UAEU is the largest and highest-ranked public university in the UAE.
The Center was established jointly by UAEU, the UAE Space Agency, and the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ICT-Fund), motivated by UAEU’s desire to strengthen its role in and contribute to the needs of the nation in Space Science and Space Technology, and to become a Space Science and Technology hub for the region. NSSTC focuses on research and development, higher education, and community outreach. The Center's priorities are three-fold: excellence in Space Science, leadership in Space Technology, and providing innovative solutions to a broad spectrum of societal challenges.
Recently completed at UAEU is NSSTC’s Assembly, Integration, and Testing facility for satellites up to 250 kg, which will also support UAEU students' CubeSat projects with the capability of building multiple satellites at a time. The facility includes a cleanroom, thermal vacuum chamber, vibration system, anechoic chamber, ground station, and mission control room. The Center's other upcoming facilities include Global Navigation Satellite System and Propulsion laboratories, a Radio Array Observatory for Astronomy, Space Situational Awareness and multidisciplinary space science research, and NSSTC's research staff also have access to UAEU's High-Performance Computing cluster.
NSSTC has expertise in spacecraft communications and precision positioning, on-board real-time systems, space situational awareness, global navigation systems, space resource utilization, Geospatial Information Systems, Earth Observation, and Planetary Science.