Job Opportunity: Postdoctoral Fellowship in Geochronology, NASA JSC

The Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) and the Universities Space Research Association’s Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), both in Houston, Texas, are pleased to announce a term posting for a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Geochronology.

The successful postdoctoral fellow will support geochemical and geochronological investigations for two projects in Dr. Justin Simon’s research group: one focused on planetary samples and the second on terrestrial planetary analogs. In the first project the primary focus is on relatively evolved Apollo samples and achondrites. We seek a postdoctoral fellow to do comparative geochemical and isotopic studies with the goal to develop hypotheses and tests for various modes of planetary differentiation, a fundamental process that shapes planetary bodies. Specifically, tasks would focus on developing small-scale sampling techniques to conduct K-Ca and Rb-Sr chronological investigations of clasts of ancient crustal materials to explore the nature and timing of complex processes occurring during planetary crustal formation. The second project is to refine dating methods for cementation of volcanic materials using terrestrial analogue materials, similar to those expected in the Mars returned sample cache. Secondary phases (carbonates, phosphates, sulfates, clays) tend to be enriched in aqueously mobile elements, such as large ion lithophiles (i.e., K, Rb, and Cs). Radiometric dating of these analogue materials using the K-Ca and Rb-Sr systems would be performed in the CICG facilities at JSC.

The postdoctoral fellow will be in residence at JSC while also being an employee of USRA and active at the LPI, and will be expected to interact with scientists of both organizations (see and

Applicants for this position should have a Ph.D. in a planetary and space sciences-related field and a strong publication record. Fellows will be provided highly competitive levels of salary, research support, and travel support for two years, with possible extension for another year. The candidate must be able to pass a detailed government background investigation and due to security issues, citizens of U.S. State Department Designated Countries (see link under “ECP Notices” at are not eligible.

Interested applicants should apply to the posting at USRA Careers. The required application material includes: (1) cover letter evidencing the qualifications of the applicant to this position, (2) curriculum vitae with list of publications, (3) two- to three-page statement of research interests and plans describing the candidate’s expected independent research program at the LPI, and (4) list of at least three professional references. Application material should be uploaded as a single document. Review of candidates will begin on December 1, 2021; however, applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

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