Research Scientist: Mars Science

Pasadena, CA, United States 🇺🇸


Do you excel in an environment that values exploration and discovery? We have a universe of opportunities waiting for you!


The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is NASA’s lead center for robotic exploration of the solar system. Our core competency is the end-to-end implementation of unprecedented robotic space missions to study Earth, the Solar System, and the Universe.


JPL, located in Pasadena, California, has a casual, 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.

This position will be in the Planetary Science section.  Planetary scientists work to improve our understanding of the planets, satellites and smaller bodies in the solar system. Research is carried out in the laboratory, from astronomical facilities throughout the world, and from spacecraft and landers, including the Mars rovers. Additional information about the research and missions can be found at:

We are proud to be part of NASA and Caltech, as we explore the universe and make history through new discoveries.

We aim to do things never done before and to go places few can go. We dare mighty things…do you?


  • Be a member of a planetary science research group involved in both groundbased and space-based research into Mars science.
  • Conceive, plan, and conduct Mars-related scientific research within one of the following subfields of geology: stratigraphy/sedimentology, structural geology, and/or inorganic geochemistry.
  • Participate in the long-lead activities related to humans-to-Mars being coordinated by the Mars Program Office. This may involve participating in engineering-led planning teams, interaction with personnel involved in similar efforts at other NASA locations, helping to play a coordination role with the interested external community, participation in relevant committees, involvement in subject conferences, and maintaining external visibility through publication. 
  • Write or contribute to proposals to support research and missions to achieve scientific goals.
  • Publish or contribute to publications in refereed scientific journals, and present papers at scientific conferences.
  • As appropriate to personal technical specialty, pursue new mission and/or instrument opportunities through advocacy and outreach within the scientific and stakeholder community.
  • Participate in the Mars exploration process, both individually and as a member of one or more teams. These teams are likely to include both science teams of different scope, and engineering-led teams.
  • Provide scientific advice and assessment to projects and/or programs as a representative of the science community.  Develop and/or deliver project/program presentations.


  • Phd degree in geoscience, planetary science, or a related scientific discipline.
  • The ability to use analytical and theoretical approaches to solving problems related to the origin, history and/or habitability of Mars.
  • Interest in the general subject of humans to Mars.
  • Interest in working closely with science and engineering teams to design Martian and planetary exploration missions and instrumentation.
  • Demonstrated experience in conceiving, defining, and conducting independent scientific research, with a strong interest in applying those efforts to problems related to the origin, evolution and/or habitability of Mars including the study of results from orbital and in situ Martian measurements and/or extraterrestrial samples.
  • Demonstrated professional reputation as a productive researcher with a track record of publications in peerreviewed journals and presentations at national and/or international conferences.

Desired Qualifications:

  • 1-2 years of related post-doc experience is a plus.
  • Experience working with data from one or more of the active Mars missions, and participation in one of the mission science teams.
  • Success in proposing for external R&A funding.