Postdoctoral Researcher - Ocean Worlds Ice Shell Modeling

Job Details

Job ID: 12443

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.


The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the California Institute of Technology invites applications for a postdoctoral research position in geophysical modeling relevant to the icy layers of Jupiter’s moon Europa, and potentially to other ocean worlds. These targets include Enceladus, Ganymede, Calisto, Titan, Triton, or Pluto. This may involve modeling of tectonic processes, constructing analytical or first-principles arguments, describing ice shell evolution, melting, freezing, and/or non-ice chemistry incorporation. These results will be used to understand the potential for future measurements by robotic spacecraft (e.g. the Europa Clipper mission), and to derive environmental constraints on potential future concepts for subsurface and ocean access. Dr. Samuel Howell, an ocean worlds research scientist in the Planetary Interiors and Geophysics group, will serve as the primary postdoctoral advisor.

The appointee will carry out research in collaboration with the JPL advisor, resulting in publications in the open literature. Dr. Samuel Howell will serve as the JPL postdoctoral advisor to the selected candidate.


Candidates should have a recent Ph.D. in geology, planetary science, physics, or a related field, with a strong background in analytical, numerical, and/or statistical analysis as applied to geophysical research. Experience in research relevant to the outer planet satellites and the impacts of geophysical processes on habitability are highly desirable. Applicants may be subject to additional program requirements by NASA. 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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JPL is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, pregnancy or perceived pregnancy, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, protected military or veteran status or any other characteristic or condition protected by Federal, state or local law.

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.