U.S. Citizens: Research Physical Scientist, AST, Earth Sciences Remote Sensing

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Greenbelt, MD, United States 🇺🇸



The Sciences and Exploration Directorate, Earth Sciences Division, Hydrological Sciences Laboratory (Code 617), is looking for a highly skilled researcher to serve as a Research Physical Scientist to lead and conduct investigations into the remote sensing of snow water equivalent and snow depth using a combination of active and passive microwave, LIDAR, visible observations, and/or signals of opportunity. 

*** This position is being announced at the GS-13/14 level under announcement number GS18D0101. Only one position will be filled as a result of these two vacancy announcements. To ensure the broadest consideration applicants are encouraged to apply to both announcements.***


Vacant research positions may be filled at one of several grade levels depending upon the scientific impact of the person selected. A review may be required to determine the appropriate grade level of the position and supplemental materials may be required from the selectee. Please keep this in mind when indicating the lowest grade you will accept.

As Research Physical Scientist, specializing in Earth Sciences Remote Sensing, you will serve as a technical expert for the design of future satellite hydrology missions and the development of related hydrology research programs. Specifically, you will lead and conduct analyses integral to the progress of the Laboratory’s ongoing hydrological process and land-atmosphere interaction research and mission programs, especially related to current and potential future missions that involve the estimation and mapping of snow depth and snow water equivalent. Provide critical leadership in microwave and other remote sensing retrieval theory and liaises with engineers working on technology development. Help produce innovations enabling improvements to the next generation of missions. The activities require working across the hydrological remote sensing community including other NASA centers and numerous national organizations, and developing collaborative relationships with other U.S. agencies (e.g., USDA, DoD, USGS), universities, and private entities to assist in the enhancement of decision support tools using mature NASA Earth science products and technologies. Disseminate research findings at professional conferences and in peer reviewed journals and other appropriate venues.

This research position engages in professional scientific work which is mathematical, systematic, critical, intensive investigation directed toward discovering, disseminating, and applying new or expanded knowledge in the study of snow water equivalent and snow depth using remote sensing. Research includes, but is not limited to, empirical and theoretical investigations of problems that are difficult to define with one or more of the following objectives: development and validation of accurate water/energy storage (i.e., in the snowpack) and flux retrieval algorithms; research into the dynamics of moisture storage and transfer in the soil-snow-vegetation-atmospheric boundary layer, primarily through thermal, microwave, LIDAR, and visible remote sensing techniques; and application of remotely-sensed snow cover, depth, and water equivalent to land surface process modeling, water budget assessments, understanding land-atmosphere interactions, and monitoring and predicting droughts, floods, and water management requirements.


Conditions of Employment

  • A one year probationary period may be required.
  • Applicants must possess at least a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent.
  • Occasional travel may be required.

You must meet all qualifications requirements by the closing date of this announcement.


In addition to the Basic Education Requirement, you must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade, which has equipped you with the particular competencies needed to successfully perform the duties of the position described above.
Specialized experience is defined as planning and executing major studies, field campaigns, experiments, research programs, and/or working groups with the objective of developing and/or improving retrieval algorithms for estimating snow water equivalent, snow depth, and/or snow melt using a combination of microwave, thermal, or LIDAR observations, or signals of opportunity; providing expertise on the design of remote sensing instruments and missions; leading a team in developing techniques for interpreting snow data and applying them for water cycle studies and/or water resources management; and national and international recognition as evidenced by invited presentations and highly cited publications in prominent science journals. 
To receive consideration, your resume MUST contain your complete degree information (i.e., type of degree received, year degree received, and major area of study). If you have received a degree in Computer Science, you MUST list all courses you have taken which meet the education requirements as stated in the qualification requirements section as well as the semester hours awarded. You MUST include the descriptive title, course code, and number of semester/quarter hours. (i.e., CMSC-435-Software Engineering, 3 Semester hours) If this information is not provided, your education may not be appropriately evaluated and you may lose consideration for this position. Please note that degrees in engineering technology are not considered to be qualifying for this position. If you are selected for this position, you will have to provide an official copy of your transcripts prior to entering on duty.
Basic Education Requirement: A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major study in Aeronautical Engineering, Aeronautics, Aerospace Engineering, Architecture, Astronautical Engineering, Astronautics, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Biomedical Engineering, Ceramic Engineering, Ceramics, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science*, Earth and Planetary Science, Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Geology, Geophysics, Industrial Engineering, Materials Engineering, Materials Science, Mathematics (Pure or Applied), Applied Mechanics, Engineering Mechanics, Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgical Engineering, Metallurgy, Meteorology, Nuclear Engineering, Nuclear Engineering Physics, Oceanography, Optical Engineering, Physics, Applied Physics, Engineering Physics, Space Science, Structural Engineering, Welding Engineering or other appropriate physical science or engineering field. Degrees in engineering technology are not considered to be qualifying for this position. *Note: Curriculum must include 30 semester hours of course work in a combination of mathematics, statistics and computer science. Of the 30 semester hours, 15 must be in any combination of statistics and mathematics which includes differential and integral calculus.