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Postdoctoral Fellow in Planetary Surface Processes in Houston, TX at Universities Space Research Association

Date Posted: 4/2/2018

Job Snapshot

Job Description

The Universities Space Research Association’s Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) invites applications for a postdoctoral fellow in modeling of planetary surface processes.

The successful candidate will join Dr. Edgard Rivera-Valentín in several projects related to simulating planetary surface process on Mars and the icy moons of Saturn. Projects are interdisciplinary in nature and involve numerical simulations of planetary surface processes and responsibilities in spacecraft data analysis and data management. The selected candidate will conduct simulations of impact cratering, conduct crater counts, and studies of cratering morphologies of icy satellites. Such results will be paired with information on the distribution of ice phases in order to help constrain the Saturnian System’s recent crater flux. Additionally, the candidate will simulate near-surface atmosphere-regolith interactions on Mars with an emphasis on liquescence processes to understand the biologic potential of the martian subsurface and elucidate the present-day martian water cycle. The candidate will also be expected to carry out an independent research program and will be encouraged to propose for external funding, participate in grant review panels and analysis groups, and contribute to public engagement events at LPI.

At the LPI, the successful candidate will interact with scientists of many specialties (see www.lpi.usra.edu). The LPI leads a team in the NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), allowing the candidate access to this community of lunar & asteroid explorers. LPI scientists maintain active collaborations with faculty at the nearby Rice University and the University of Houston. Dr. Rivera-Valentín is affiliated with the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, thus candidates may also have the opportunity to work with the observatory using its planetary radar system. LPI has computing facilities; conference travel and research equipment support are also available.

Applicants should have a recent Ph.D. in planetary science, astronomy, physics, geosciences or a related field. Experience in numerical modeling and proficiency in programming languages is required, experience with MATLAB and IDL is desirable. Experience in astrobiology is preferred, but not required. Candidates with demonstrated experience in a wide array of subfields in planetary science as well as experience conducting interdisciplinary research are encouraged to apply. Candidates from underrepresented groups in STEM and those with a demonstrated history of efforts to improve diversity and inclusion in STEM are particularly encouraged.

The position would be for up to two years, with a possible extension to a third year. The candidate must be able to pass a detailed government background investigation. Questions can be addressed to Dr. Edgard Rivera-Valentín (rivera-valentin@lpi.usra.edu). Interested applicants should apply to the posting at https://usracareers.silkroad.com/ and must submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae with list of publications, a two- to three-page statement of research interests and plans, which describes required and preferred experience, and a list of at least three professional references. Review of candidates will begin on March 21, 2018, the week of the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Though the start date is flexible, the candidate is expected to start on or before August 2018. Further information on current research and facilities at the LPI can be found through our website and Dr. Rivera-Valentín’s website.

USRA is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations.

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer: Minorities / Females / Protected Veterans / Disabled / Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity.