Research Scientist, Minor Planet Center

Submit applications to:
Attention: Dr. Michael A’Hearn, Professor
Department of Astronomy, PSC 1113
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-2421

Email Submission Address:
Email Inquiries:

Deadline for best consideration: 2/15/2017

Job Description:

In anticipation of funding expected imminently, the Department of Astronomy at the University of Maryland (in College Park, MD) invites applications for a faculty position as a research scientist at a level (assistant, associate, senior) determined by the applicant’s qualifications (see UM Policy II-1.00, page II.1.00-10). The candidate will be expected to share with Professor Emeritus Michael A’Hearn the oversight of the Minor Planet Center (located at the Center for Astrophysics) as it is merged into the Small Bodies Node of NASA’s Planetary Data System. The ideal candidate will have a PhD in an appropriate scientific area, will have expertise in orbital dynamics, knowledge of many aspects of NASA’s Near-Earth Object program and of the worldwide NEO community, and experience in management, whether of projects or of groups. The person will be expected to interact regularly with the staff and particularly with the director of the Minor Planet Center (Dr. Matt Holman) and to provide continuity in this activity beyond Professor A’Hearn’s active role in the Planetary Data System. The person would also be expected to support NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office for interactions involving the MPC and SBN with both domestic and international activities of the small bodies community. Research related to the MPC’s activities or the broader NEO program is welcome and separately funded research in other areas is also welcome as the lesser portion of the job. Questions about the position should be directed to Professor A’Hearn.

The Department of Astronomy includes a large number of planetary scientists working primarily on small bodies and on dynamics, and with participants in a variety of missions including Rosetta, OSIRIS-REx, and New Horizons as well as many research projects (see The Small Bodies Node of NASA’s Planetary Data System is led by Professor A’Hearn and has major operations both at the University of Maryland and at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson (locally headed by Eric Palmer).  There are many other nearby institutions that are also active in various aspects of both planetary science and astronomy and with varying degrees of direct collaboration with UMD.

For more information and to apply.