Research Scientist, Mars Climate Sounder Team

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Current state: Approved and Notify DPS Secretary
Department: Planetary Science Section
City: Pasadena
State/Province: California
Category: ,
Country: United States
Contact Person: Cheryl Cooperstein
Contact Email: [email protected]
Institution: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Application Due Date: Sunday, October 09 2022
Web Link:

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, invites applications for a newly created research position in the Planetary and Exoplanetary Atmospheres Group. The research will involve investigations with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) for science planning and analysis tasks involving the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) instrument. A scientist is particularly needed to plan special observations on a campaign basis, such as coordinated observations with other spacecraft experiments. The successful candidate will be part of the Mars Climate Sounder team. Scientific analysis will be focused on cloud observations by the MCS, using radiative-transfer programs to determine the composition of clouds in the atmosphere of Mars. The research will also entail management and maintenance of the citizen-science project ‘Cloudspotting on Mars’ on the ‘Zooniverse’ platform that enables the identification of clouds in MCS data by citizen scientists. This work involves both data management/analysis and interactions with citizen scientists via online communications and webinars. In addition, the successful candidate will support the Mars Sample Return Program office on risk reduction efforts such as optical search scenario modeling.

Responsibilities include:

  • Conduct science planning activities and operational support for science observations by the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) onboard Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), in particular, special observations on campaign basis such as coordinated observations with other Mars-based assets, as well as quality control and low-level analyses of science observations and data.
  • Conduct scientific analyses of cloud observations at Mars by MCS, investigate the altitude distribution and geographic location of cloud occurrence in relation to other atmospheric parameters, perform radiative transfer calculations in order to determine the composition of Mars clouds, and publish results in relevant scientific journals.
  • Manage and maintain an ongoing citizen science project that enables the identification of clouds in MCS data by citizen scientists, prepare and upload new data to the citizen-science platform, perform analyses on the resulting identifications, and interact with citizen scientists through online communications and webinars.
  • Support the Mars Sample Return Program office on risk reduction efforts, including optical experiments with the MRO orbital navigation camera, Earth Return Orbiter narrow angle camera sensitivity assessments, and optical search scenario modeling.


The following qualifications are required:

  • PhD in planetary or atmospheric science or related scientific discipline.
  • Knowledge of Mars’ lower and upper atmosphere as well as its radiometric environment
  • Experience and capability in conducting Mars atmospheric research as demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations
  • Demonstrated experience with citizen-science methods
  • Demonstrated experience with data science analysis methods
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

The following qualifications are preferred:

  • 3+ years of post-doctoral experience is strongly preferred
  • Familiarity with the Mars Climate Sounder investigation
  • Familiarity with other current Mars missions, in particular with respect to atmospheric investigations conducted by them
  • Experience in obtaining grant funding as demonstrated by success in competitive proposal calls

To view the full description of this unique opportunity and apply, please visit:

Applications received by October 9, 2022 will receive full consideration.