Research Science, Outer Planet Magnetospheres and Moon Interactions

Job Details

Job ID: 12409

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The Jet Propulsion Laboratory invites applications for a Research Scientist position to join the Astrobiology and Ocean Worlds Group within the Planetary Science Section. In this position, you will be responsible for the following:  

  • Establishing and maintaining an independently-funded research program in magnetospheres and magnetosphere-moon interactions.
  • Investigating the chemical and structural evolution of surface material on icy moons in the solar system, including Jupiter’s moon Europa, Saturn’s moon Enceladus, and the moons of the Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune.
  • Carrying out modeling of magnetospheric charged particle interactions and other exogenous weathering effects, and use these results to inform analysis of optical (e.g. infrared) remote sensing observations, with the end goal of further understanding the astrobiological potential of these bodies.
  • Supporting the formulation of compelling science strategies and mission concepts to investigate the surfaces of icy moons and Ocean Worlds with the goal of addressing key questions of Ice Giant system evolution and icy moon habitability.
  • Writing proposals for advancing research and instrument/mission development in the areas of icy moon and ocean world habitability, outer planet magnetospheres, moon-magnetosphere interactions and astrobiology.
  • Publishing in peer-reviewed journals and giving talks at national and international conferences.


  • Ph.D. degree in space physics, planetary science, planetary physics, or a related field.
  • Demonstrated reputation as a productive researcher with a track record of publications in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Expertise in outer planet magnetospheres and moon-magnetosphere interactions (ideally Ice Giants).
  • Extensive experience with analysis of both in-situ and remote sensing dataset from relevant planetary spacecraft (e.g. Voyager, Galileo, Cassini, New Horizons).
  • Experience with computer modeling of charged particle weathering.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, with the ability to both work as part of a team and lead a team.

Desired Skills:

  • 3+-years’ experience following the Ph.D. of research in space physics, planetary science, planetary physics, or a related field.
  • A demonstrated ability to propose for, and obtain, external research funding.
  • A demonstrated track record of mission involvement and/or mission concept development.
  • A record of teaching and/or mentoring the next generation of planetary scientists.


Complete applications will include a cover letter describing the applicant’s vision for their role at JPL as a leader and contributor in planetary science research, a curriculum vita including a bibliography of refereed and other work, a statement on research experience and research objectives, and contact information for at least three professional references.  Applications received by October 12, 2020 will receive full consideration. 


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In addition, JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

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The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries or those born in a designated country unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S or have other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available here.