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NASA/SEEC Postbaccalaureate Positions - Instrument/Atmospheric Modeling & Laboratory Studies

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Applications are now being accepted for multiple short-term postbaccalaureate research positions to support the Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC) in Greenbelt, MD. The position is funded through the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) and the Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science and Technology II (CRESST II).

The Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration team develops cross-disciplinary science and instrumentation models and analysis tools to assist in the exploration of exoplanet environments. The innovations and discoveries enabled here contribute to our understanding of our place in the universe and guide the development of future missions that will search for Earth-like planets around other stars.

Positions available with the Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration span a variety of research areas. Successful candidates will be chosen to work full-time on one of the research areas listed below. Recent graduates with expertise coding in any of the below areas are invited to apply. We encourage applicants who are considering applying to a graduate program in astrophysics, planetary science, or related disciplines in the near future, and who wish to expand their research experience in the interim to also apply.

1) Area #1: Assist in developing a Python software framework to simulate spectroscopic exoplanet data acquired with a suite of novel instrument technologies. Previous experience data simulation or analysis is required.

2) Area #2: Assist in developing planet atmosphere forward model and retrieval algorithms to examine the scientific return from simulated and future data products. Results from these data simulations and analysis will facilitate design trade studies to inform technology investments and laboratory demonstrations. Previous experience in modeling or analyzing planetary atmospheres is required.

3) Area #3: Perform either 3-D climate model simulations of exoplanet atmospheres, in order to produce observables for missions like JWST and ground-based telescopes like ELTs, and/or modify a 1-D photochemistry code to apply for terrestrial and Neptune-like planets and generate observables like transit and reflection spectra. Previous experience in modeling or analyzing planetary atmospheres is required.

4) Area #4: Assist in laboratory measurements of high-temperature gas-phase species and low-temperature ices, in order to determine optical properties and improve spectral modeling tools.  Previous laboratory classwork, either in chemistry or physics, is required.  Technical experience with vacuum systems and FTS/FTIR would be a major advantage.

5) Area #5: Assist in facilitating the development of the open-source software catalog and repository for exoplanet research software called the Exoplanet Modeling and Analysis Center (EMAC) by helping to recruit and ingest new resources, produce and advertise tutorials on new tools, and work on expanding the database structure and functionality of the catalog. Previous experience in Python coding is required, experience with CSS and Java web design and/or exoplanet modeling is a plus.

General Position Requirements

  • Soon or recent graduate with bachelor’s degree in astronomy, physics, or a related science or engineering discipline;
  • Significant experience in scientific programming (Python in particular is a major plus) OR physical/chemical laboratory work;
  • Available to work on-site at NASA/GSFC for 40 hours/week. Working onsite is required and/or preferable in most cases though working remotely may be possible and can be discussed as part of the hiring process; and
  • Able to pass a security and background check in order to obtain a badge to access NASA/GSFC.

Instructions to Apply

The positions will remain available until filled. Applications received by March 1, 2022, will receive best consideration. To apply, each applicant should send the following:

  • Your ranked top two preferences between the five areas listed above;
  • Curriculum Vitae;
  • Unofficial transcript;
  • A work sample in the form of either a report, poster, or journal article, along with your associated source code; and
  • Two letters of reference arranged to be sent directly from your referees by the application deadline.

Application materials should be submitted to:

SEEC Post-Baccalaureate Research Assistant

Via e-mail to katherine.s.mckee@nasa.gov

Salary and benefits are competitive, commensurate with experience and qualifications. The desired start date is in the range June - September 2022, with an initial employment term of 1 year that may be extended for 1 additional year contingent on performance and availability of funds. Financial assistance for relocation expenses is possible and can be discussed as part of the onboarding process. All students, faculty, and staff are required to be vaccinated against COVID. Proof of full vaccination will be required before the start of employment through CRESST II at NASA/GSFC.

For more information about the proposed research, contact Dr. Avi Mandell (avi.mandell@nasa.gov). For information on CRESST II or SURA, contact Ms. Carolyn Wilson (cwilson@sura.org). SURA is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes all to apply. EOE/M/F/D/V.

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