Geological Analysis of the Mars 2020 and MSL Curiosity rover landing sites

Job Details

Job ID: 10972

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 focus of this position is the development of novel insights into the geologic context and depositional origin of the MSL Curiosity field site in Gale crater as well as Jezero crater, the landing site for the Mars2020 rover. Analysis will involve geologic mapping of high-resolution orbital images (HiRISE and CTX), digital elevation models, and orbital spectroscopic data (CRISM), and interpretation of images and geochemical data from the MSL Curiosity rover. This position will also assist in the development and implementation of rover operations field tests for the Mars 2020 Science Team. The postdoctoral scholar will be advised by Dr. Kathryn Stack Morgan, a Research Scientist at JPL whose research focuses on the sedimentary rock record on Mars as a way to understand the evolution of ancient surface processes. Dr. Stack Morgan is also involved in the Mars2020 mission as Deputy Project Scientist and MSL as a funded participating scientist. The appointee will carry out research in collaboration with the JPL advisor, resulting in publications in the open literature.


Candidates should have a recent PhD in Geology or Planetary Science, and should have experience with Mars orbiter or rover image data analysis. Previous mission operations experience and/or terrestrial field geology experience is highly desirable. 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 duration 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.

Work Authorization

Ability to Obtain Work Authorization

Connect with Us

Not ready to apply? Connect with us for general consideration.

JPL is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer and will, whenever possible, actively recruit and include for employment members of underrepresented minority groups, females, disabled veterans, protected veterans, and otherwise qualified persons with disabilities. JPL will hire, transfer, and promote based on the qualifications of the individual to ensure equal consideration and fair treatment of all.

JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor. For more information about "EEO is the Law" click here: eeoc_self_print_poster.pdf

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries 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 at

If you are interested in applying for employment with Jet Propulsion Laboratory and need special assistance or an accommodation to apply for a posted position, contact our Human Resources department at (818) 354-5150 or via email at

Written requests may be mailed to: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Attention: Staffing and Employment Programs, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Mail Stop T1720C, Pasadena, CA 91109