NASA Dragonfly Student and Early Career Investigator Program Applications Open

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 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 are especially encouraged to apply. We also encourage students from HBCUs, HSIs, and tribal colleges and universities, and students who are members of groups that have been historically  underrepresented in STEM, planetary science, and NASA spacecraft mission teams to apply.

More information about this program, including eligibility requirements, answers to FAQs and how to apply, can be found at

Interested students may also contact Program Coordinator Dr. Lynnae Quick at [email protected].