Participation on a mission science team is a formative experience with long-standing benefits to scientists. While NASA provides additional opportunities to serve on mission science teams (for example, via Participating Scientist Programs, formal team affiliations via Co-Is on science teams, etc.), extended and immersive opportunities to serve on science teams are inherently limited considering the small number of missions in existence. In addition, such opportunities can be difficult for early career scientists to utilize.
NASA is considering more accessible ways to significantly increase the number of early career scientists exposed to the mission science team experience. Based on feedback from the community, one such method under consideration is inviting senior graduate students and early career scientists to observe mission science team meetings. Paired with mentors from the science team, it is hoped that such an experience can provide valuable insight on the work and team dynamics that take place on missions. The opportunity’s limited scope could, over time, enable more scientists to participate than existing opportunities, providing a gateway experience to help early career scientists make informed decisions about their career paths.
The Psyche, Europa Clipper, Dragonfly missions are providing the opportunity for early career scientists to observe their next science team meetings. This opportunity is open to graduate students in or beyond their third year of earning their doctorate or early career scientists within seven years of receiving their doctorate. Because of ITAR concerns, at this time the opportunity is limited to U.S. citizens and green card holders. Interested candidates should submit a letter no longer than two pages that describes their background and research interests, how such an experience could be of benefit to them, and which mission they wish to observe (along with any special interests in particular areas of that mission). Respondents will be selected based upon the anticipated impact to their career path and the alignment of the mission with their research interests. Selection preference will be given to individuals from institutions that are underrepresented on planetary science mi ssions. NASA recognizes and supports the benefits of having diverse and inclusive communities and expects that such values will be reflected in this opportunity. Letters and questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Science Team Meeting.” Those interested in observing the Europa Clipper mission must respond by September 14, 2020, while those interested in the Dragonfly or Psyche missions must respond by September 30, 2020.