Geology and Habitability of the Mars 2020 Perseverance Landing Site

Job Details

Job ID: 12410

JPL is unique among NASA Centers in that its staff are Caltech employees, yet can access NASA technical resources.  Cross-discipline teamwork is standard here: colleagues across JPL's science and engineering organizations and on Caltech's academic campus often work together. Learning to speak and understand other disciplines' languages is a doorway to the creativity needed to do what has not been done before.  JPL staff are encouraged to create mission concepts that address humanity's core questions through a combination of science and technology.  They are supported in developing ideas into proposals and hardware, and in communicating funded missions' results to the scientific community and the broader public. JPL seeks to employ scientists and engineers who are passionate about lifelong learning and excited to both contribute to and lead team efforts.  We emphasize the importance of partnering across discipline boundaries and creating a friendly, constructive work environment to overcome space exploration's challenges.  The Postdoctoral scholars at JPL benefit from an informal mentoring network, an annual conference showcasing their results, a dedicated seminar series, exposure to diverse career paths, and social connections across the JPL and Caltech community for advice on housing, childcare and other aspects of living in southern California.


Mars 2020 Deputy Project Scientist Katie Stack Morgan seeks a postdoctoral research associate to participate in research related to the science mission of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover. Analysis may involve geologic mapping of high-resolution orbital images (HiRISE and CTX), digital elevation models, and/or orbiter spectroscopic data (CRISM) in and around Jezero crater (Perseverance’s landing site), interpretation of images and geochemical data acquired by the Perseverance rover, and/or synthesis of both orbiter and in situ rover data sets. Analog field work and laboratory analysis relevant to determining the depositional origin and habitability of rocks encountered by the Perseverance rover may also be involved. The postdoctoral research associate is expected to be an active member of the Mars 2020 Science Team, participating in working groups, regular science discussions, team meetings, and taking an active role in the strategic and tactical planning of the Perseverance science mission. The appointee will carry out research in collaboration with the JPL advisor, resulting in publications in the open literature. Dr. Kathryn Stack Morgan will serve as the JPL postdoctoral advisor to the selected candidate.


The selected candidate will have demonstrated strengths in scientific research and an interest in Mars rover science operations. Candidates with backgrounds in sedimentology, stratigraphy, and process geomorphology (Earth or Mars) are encouraged to apply. Prior experience in real or simulated mission operations is desired but not required. Experience with ArcGIS, ENVI, and Mars orbiter image data sets is desired but not required. Candidates who have received their PhD within the past five years since the date of their application are eligible. Postdoctoral Scholar positions are awarded for a minimum of one-year period and may be renewed up to a maximum of three years. Candidates should submit the following to this site: CV, representative publications, contact information for three references, and a cover letter stating their research accomplishments and interests.

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