Newsletter 21-27

Issue 21-27, Oct 17, 2021




  2. IN MEMORIAM: WALTER F. HUEBNER (1928 – 2021) 








Tuesday, October 19, 3:00 p.m. CDT


All planetary scientists and engineers, including early career scientists and graduate students, are invited to join us on October 19 at 3:00 p.m. CDT for this free seminar. Many scientists are less experienced in interacting with young audiences. Join Sha’Rell Webb (LPI Public Engagement Lead), Vivian White (Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Director of Free Choice Learning) and Christine Shupla (LPI Education and Public Engagement Manager) to practice strategies for engaging children in planetary science.


Contact Christine Shupla ([email protected]) for a Zoom invitation, or watch it streamed on LPI’s YouTube channel.

 For more details, or information on past Sharing Planetary Science sessions, go to the Lunar and Planetary Institute’s Scientist Engagement website






Walter F. Huebner, world-renowned astrophysicist and planetary scientist (specializing in comets), passed away peacefully at his home in Norman, Oklahoma, on June 1, 2021. Walter worked as a scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and later at the Southwest Research Institute, and he also held many professional leadership and service positions, such as President of IAU Commission 15 (Small Bodies of the Solar System), President of the Permanent Monitoring Panel for Cosmic Objects (at international seminars on Nuclear War and Planetary Emergencies), a Program Manager at NASA Headquarters, and a visiting scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the University of Sao Paulo, and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysicist. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and was a participant in Operation Dominic at Christmas Island. Walter was known not only for his invaluable scientific work and insights, but also for his kind, gentle, and generous nature. He had a wonderful sense of humor, a lifelong passion for travel, adn was loved by all who knew him. 


Adapted from Boice, D. 2021, DPS, 102.01 presentation.






A LinkedIn group has been created to promote opportunities for early career members of the planetary community, but members of the community from all career stages are encouraged to join. 


Early career members seeking jobs (MS/PhD positions, postdocs, temporary/contractor, and permanent positions) can add their information through this Google form: 


The contents will then be added to this sheet where those seeking to hire early career community members can find potential candidates:


Anyone who wishes to be highlighted in the LinkedIn group after entering their information to the spreadsheet can opt-in through the Google form. 






The upcoming NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group meeting will be held virtually on 24 – 25 January 2022. There will be multiple opportunities at this meeting specifically for the early career small body community including invited early-career speakers and lightning talks. Applications for invited talks are due via email by COB (5 pm Eastern Time) by 19 November 2021. Lightning talk submissions are due by COB (5 pm Eastern time) by 17 December 2021. Please refer to the meeting webpage here: for further details.






Job seekers and employers are encouraged to browse DPS’s job listings and advertise open positions. Recent openings and opportunities are listed below and more are at the link above.


A. Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellowships




B. UTIG Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows Program


The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG) invites applications for its Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows program for 2022-2023. UTIG is part of the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin, which is known for research innovation, integrative science efforts, and international field programs in geophysics (solid earth, marine, polar), climate science, planetary science, and energy geoscience ( 

This is a competitive, endowed institutional award open to recent doctorates (degree within the past 3 years) in Earth, marine, and planetary science, or allied fields. The appointment is for two years, contingent upon performance. UTIG seeks to advance equity, diversity, and inclusivity in the geosciences, and recipients of this fellowship will join a vibrant community of scientists. UTIG postdoc fellows are expected to pursue self-directed research in any scientific subfield that complements or expands ongoing programs. Applicants are encouraged to identify and contact one or more prospective UTIG mentors (see for a list of past awardees and projects).  

Successful applicants may take up residence at UTIG as early as March 1, 2022.  Salary is $60,000 per year and appointees are eligible for benefits; the appointment also comes with discretionary funds of $5,000 for research and travel expenses. Applications must contain: 1) a Curriculum Vitae that includes education, employment history, publications, and record of any extramural funding; 2) a concise, two-page research proposal (including figures, excluding references) stating research interests and specific plans for their UTIG residence and addressing how they complement or expand ongoing research directions at UTIG; and 3) names and contact information for three individuals willing to write letters of reference.  

For full consideration, applicants should apply online ( ) by January 2, 2022.  For questions, contact Thorsten Becker at [email protected]

C. Assistant Professor, Hampton University




D. Tenure track faculty position in the field of space science and engineering, U. Michigan




E. Planetary Astronomer for NASA PDS, SETI Institute


The SETI Institute is seeking a Planetary Astronomer to support the work of the Ring-Moon Systems Node (RMS) of NASA’s Planetary Data System (PDS).


The astronomer will focus primarily on expanding the coverage of OPUS, the flagship service of the RMS Node, which provides powerful and effective cross-mission, cross-target, faceted search based on accurate and consistent metadata and informative browse products. The astronomer will develop software pipelines that integrate additional data sets into OPUS, including those from Galileo, New Horizons, Juno, and the Hubble Space Telescope.  


The astronomer will also develop data processing pipelines to convert data sets currently archived with PDS into the more modern “PDS4” standard.


This challenging and rewarding role, which provides an important service to the planetary research community, requires both experience working with planetary data and skill at programming in Python, as well as familiarity with the SPICE toolkit.


For details:


F. Multiple Faculty Positions in “Origins of Life” in Purdue University’s College of Science

The Departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, and Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University invite applicants for up to three faculty positions at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor, rank to be commensurate with experience, and departmental appointments to align with candidates’ expertise and interests. Applications are welcomed from researchers in all areas with relevance to the Origins of Life, including but not limited to evolutionary biology, phylogenetics, computational biology, molecular biology, microbiology, synthetic biology, prebiotic chemistry, biocatalysis, astrochemistry, self replicating and evolutionary systems, astrobiology, biogeochemistry, physical processes related to abiogenesis, and planetary habitability. Experimental, computational, observational, and theoretical scientists are encouraged to apply. Applicants that work across multiple disciplines or work to develop interdisciplinary collaborations are especially encouraged to apply.

Broadly speaking, the Origins of Life search will consider fields of research and processes related to how life first evolved on earth, how life continues to evolve, and whether and where life exists elsewhere in the universe and how it informs the origins of life on earth.

Applications will be reviewed beginning November 1, 2021 and will continue until the position is filled. 

For more details visit:



Send submissions to:


Maria Womack, DPS Secretary ([email protected])


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