Job Opportunity: Senior Staff Scientist, Lunar and Planetary Institute

The Universities Space Research Association’s Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston, TX, invites applications for a full-time staff scientist. We seek a mid-career self-motivated scientist with a strong record of outstanding research, and a demonstrated record of external funding, although we will also consider applications from early-career scientists. We wish to augment and extend our expertise in the petrology and geochemistry of planetary materials, including extraterrestrial solid and terrestrial analog samples. The successful applicant will maintain and enhance the strong ties between the LPI and our colleagues at the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC); existing or recent collaborative projects with ARES researchers are desirable. The applicant will have access to the LPI’s analytical facilities and would be able to arrange access to ARES’ analytical facilities (e.g., SEM, EMP, LA-ICP-MS) and experimental laboratories (e.g., high P-T petrology, hydrothermal, impact). Further information on current staff members, research and facilities at the LPI can be found on our website at

The successful candidate must have a Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences, Geosciences (e.g., Geology, Geochemistry), Astrobiology, Astronomy, Physics or related relevant fields, ideally with at least 10 years of experience as a scientist. The candidate must be a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident, and be able to pass a detailed government background investigation. The successful candidate will be expected to: design and conduct research in planetary science; propose for and receive external funding for research; support and advise post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and/or undergraduate summer interns; seek involvement with spacecraft missions; and participate with NASA and the science community in review panels, analysis and advisory groups, etc.

Part of the role of an LPI staff scientist is to support NASA and the planetary science community. This support includes (but is not limited to) activities such as: participating in LPI’s highly successful summer intern program; maintaining and managing the LPI’s SEM and spectrometers; participating in the XSPACE meteorite curation facility; conceiving and implementing broad, multi-year science research initiatives; producing material of community interest for our newsletters and the LPI Bulletin; supervising and mentoring visiting students and interns; working with our sponsor to initiate focused workshops and conferences; and involvement in public engagement activities. Experience in some of these areas is expected, along with excellent communication skills.

At the LPI, the successful candidate will enjoy interactions with the diverse in-house Science Staff, scientists at the nearby ARES Division (JSC), and with faculty of the nearby Rice University and the University of Houston. The LPI Science Staff has expertise in many areas of planetary science, leads a NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) team focused on the Moon and on impact processes, and includes a center for planetary radar research and a growing astrobiology laboratory.

For more information about the position, please contact the LPI Director, Dr. Lisa Gaddis ([email protected]). Interested applicants should apply to the posting at USRA Careers and must submit all materials via ADP; application material submitted outside of this platform will not be considered. The required application material includes (1) a cover letter evidencing the qualifications of the applicant to this position, (2) curriculum vitae with a 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. The review of candidates will begin on January 3, 2022; however, applications will be accepted until the position is filled.