The US Department of Energy (DoE) and the National Institute for Nuclear Physics – Italy (INFN) announce the 2016 edition of the Summer Exchange Program, dedicated to the exchange of US and Italian students in science and engineering.

Deadline for applications: April 25th, 2016

SSERVI would like to specifically highlight positions available at the SCF_Lab located at INFN-LNF (Frascati, Rome, Italy):

MoonLIGHT-2 & SCF_Lab
Title: Space Research with the MoonLIGHT-2 experiment and the SCF_Lab test facility

Description: The space research activities of the SCF_Lab test facilities are described at

The goal of MoonLIGHT-2 (Moon Laser Instrumentation for General relativity High-accuracy Tests for the International Lunar Network – Phase 2) is the development, space characterization and deployment of 2nd generation laser retroreflectors for the sub-mm-precision orbit determination of the Moon through a laser-pulse time-of-flight measurement, in order to achieve a high-accuracy test of General Relativity and new theories of gravity. This discipline, called Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR), started 40 years ago, when the Apollo and Lunokhod missions deployed retroreflectors on the surface of the Moon. LLR data are freely available and provide the best overall test of General Relativity with a single experiment (weak and strong equivalence principle, PPN parameter beta, geodetic precession, deviations from the inverse-square law, time variation of the gravitational constant G, extensions of General Relativity). The experiment is an international collaboration between Italian and US institutions. The latter include: the University of Maryland at College Park (UMD), which was Principal Investigator of the 1st generation retroreflectors; the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, MA, USA (CfA), which has developed the powerful Planetary Ephemeris Program capable (among many other things) of accurately tracking the Moon orbit; the University of California at San Diego, CA, USA (UCSD), which leads the best LLR station, located in USA, called APOLLO (Apache Point Observatory LLr Operation).

We have four lunar landing mission opportunities with Moon Express Inc., the first one at the end of 2017. See also

For Mars science (gravity, geodesy) and exploration we built and space-qualified INRRI-EDM/2016 (INstrument for landing/Roving laser Retroreflector Investigations) the first-ever laser retroreflector to be deployed on the surface of the red planet by the ESA/ASI ExoMars EDM 2016 mission. INRRI is a compact, lightweight, passive and maintenance-free array of laser retroreflectors of very long lifetime, installed on the external, zenith-facing surface of the ExoMars EDM, with unobstructed view to orbit. INRRI will enable the EDM to be laser-located from Mars orbiters operational either during the EDM lifetime and/or after the EDM end-of-life. INRRI is provided by ASI and INFN-LNF. The ExoMars EDM lander, dubbed “Schiaparelli” will be launched in March 2016.

See: and

The student will participate in the: (1) thermal-optical-vacuum test and data analysis of the new payload funded by INFN and NASA, at the world-unique INFN-LNF SCF_Lab infrastructure (Satellite/lunar/GNSS laser ranging and altimetry Characterization Facilities Laboratory); and/or (2) analysis of LLR data acquired from existing Apollo/Lunokhod payloads for precision gravity tests (with CfA – J. Chandler et al; UCSD – T. Murphy et al). Another major SCF_Lab activity is the SCF-Test of LAGEOS, the Laser GEOdynamics Satellites (with NASA-GSFC – S. Merkowitz at al).

1. Creation of the new industry-standard space test of laser retroreflectors for GNSS and LAGEOS, S. Dell’Agnello, G.O. Delle Monache, D.G. Currie, R. Vittori, C. Cantone, M. Garattini, A. Boni, M. Martini, C. Lops, N. Intaglietta, R. Tauraso, D.A. Arnold, M.R. Pearlman, G. Bianco, S. Zerbini, M. Maiello, S. Berardi, L. Porcelli, C.O. Alley, J.F. McGarry, C. Sciarretta, V. Luceri, T.W. Zagwodzki, J. Adv. Space Res. 47 (2011) 822–842.
2. A Lunar Laser Ranging Retroreflector Array for the 21st Century, D. Currie, S. Dell’Agnello, G. Delle Monache, Acta Astron. 68, 667– 680 (2011).
3. SCF_Lab brochure
Tutors: Simone Dell’Agnello ( and/or Giovanni Delle Monache (

Recommended period: June-July or September-October

In order to apply, participants are kindly asked to fill out the electronic APPLICATION FORM

Applicants should specify their motivation for applying to this program in the “expression of interest” section; indicate the name and e-mail address of at least one professor or tutor who might be contacted by to provide a reference letter; provide a curriculum vitae (in electronic form using the specified templates) describing academic and research experience and indicating relevant University courses and scores. Note: only PDF files will be accepted.

Deadline for applications: April 25th, 2016

Selection of participants

The number of participants is limited to 11.

Selection of participants will be carried out by the Selection Committee and participants will be informed of the outcome of their applications by May 20th, 2015. Selected participants will be requested to send their University official transcript by fax (+39 06 94032475) or by mail to:

Dr. Stefano Miscetti
I.N.F.N. Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati
VIA E. Fermi, 40
I00044 Italy

For more information, visit the relevant websites below to apply for a competitive selection of summer student positions at INFN, as part of the INFN-DOE agreement:

Posted by: Soderman/SSERVI Staff
Source: INFN/SSERVI Int’l partner

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