Scientist, Small Bodies of the Solar System (2019-10610)

Job Details

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.

Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.


The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology invites applications for a Scientist in areas relevant to understanding small bodies of the Solar System, including comets, asteroids, Kuiper Belt objects, and Centaurs.  The Scientist will be responsible for maintaining a research portfolio focused on conducting cutting-edge scientific research within the small bodies field, including using ground-based observatories, space-based mission data, and/or theoretical modeling. The Scientist will develop an independently-funded research program, publish findings in the peer-reviewed literature, and collaboratively pursue new mission and/or instrument opportunities focusing on the exploration of small bodies.


This position requires the following qualifications:

  • PhD in Astronomy, Planetary Science, or a related scientific discipline;
  • Advanced knowledge of one or more of the following areas related to small Solar System body science: discovery, characterization of compositional/physical properties; dynamical, geophysical, or geological modeling;
  • Demonstrated experience in conceiving, defining, and conducting self-directed scientific research;
  • Experience in acquisition, analysis, and/or interpretation of ground-based or spacecraft mission data of small bodies;
  • A strong interest in applying the above technical skills to planetary exploration;
  • A demonstrated professional reputation as a productive researcher with a track record of publications in peer-reviewed journals;
  • Excellent oral (including public speaking) and written communication skills, and the ability to work as part of a team.

The following qualifications are preferred:

  • 2-3 years of related post-doc experience;
  • Demonstrated interest in utilizing the next-generation astronomical observatories (e.g. JWST, LSST) and/or planetary science space missions;
  • A history of writing successful proposals, including observing proposals.

Complete applications will include a cover letter describing the applicant’s vision for their role at JPL as a leader and contributor in the field of small body 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 June 15, 2019 will receive full consideration.  (Req. # 2019-10610).

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