Science Positions Available


LPI Staff Scientist

The Universities Space Research Association’s Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston, TX invites applications for a long-term, full-time staff scientist. We seek an active, self-motivated researcher with external funding or excellent prospects of external funding who will perform outstanding scientific research in the lunar and planetary sciences.

At the LPI, the successful candidate will enjoy interactions with its diverse group of in-house scientists, with those of the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), and with faculty of the nearby Rice University and the University of Houston. The LPI has expertise in many areas of planetary science and, notably, leads a NASA Lunar Science Institute team. The successful candidate will have access to in-house computing and other resources at the LPI, as well as the laboratory facilities of JSC-ARES, which includes materials analysis (EMP, TEMs, LA-ICPMS), high-TP experimental laboratory, and high-speed impact (gun) laboratory.

The successful candidate must have a Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences or in a relevant discipline, and at least 10 years of experience in the field. 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 and/or graduate students, seek involvement with spacecraft missions if appropriate, and participate with NASA and the science community in review panels, analysis and advisory groups, etc.

The position of staff scientist is long-term, but USRA/LPI cannot give tenure nor provide specific guarantees of employment duration. USRA offers a competitive salary and benefits package.

Questions can be addressed to Dr. Lisa Gaddis (lgaddis@lpi.usra.edu). Interested applicants should apply to current openings at USRA Careers and must submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae with list of publications, a two- to three-page statement of research interests and plans, and a list of at least three professional references. Further information on current research and facilities at the LPI can be found on our website.

USRA is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations.

Apply Here  

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


Visiting Scientist

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston, Texas, is actively searching for senior planetary science professionals interested in spending time in residence at the Institute. LPI's physical proximity to NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Directorate (ARES), and the NASA sample collection make it an ideal location for any scientist whose research would be enhanced by direct daily interaction with the ARES and LPI scientific staff.

The Institute’s dynamic environment provides the perfect atmosphere for senior academics considering going on sabbatical. Visiting Scientists in residence during the summer months may also participate in the renowned LPI Undergraduate Intern Program.

Applicants may propose to work in any area of the planetary sciences, with preference given to topics that enhance the interactions between the LPI and the Astromaterials Research Group at (JSC).

Visiting Scientist positions will generally be offered for periods of 1–12 months and are available for scientists with established records of research productivity.

Questions can be addressed to Dr. Lisa Gaddis (lgaddis@lpi.usra.edu). Interested applicants should apply to current openings at USRA Careers and must submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae with list of publications, a two- to three-page statement of research interests and plans, and a list of at least three professional references. Further information on current research and facilities at the LPI can be found on our website.

USRA is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations.

Apply Here  

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


Postdoctoral Researcher

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) seeks self-motivated postdoctoral researchers to undertake work in any area of the planetary sciences, with preference given to topics that enhance the interactions between LPI and the Astromaterials Research Group at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC).

Applicants should have a Ph.D. in planetary sciences or a geosciences-related field. Postdoctoral positions will be offered for an initial period of up to two years, with possible extension to a maximum of three years. Interested applicants should apply to current openings at USRA Careers and must submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae with list of publications, a two- to three-page statement of research interests and plans, and a list of at least three professional references. Further information on current research and facilities at the LPI can be found on our website.

USRA is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations.

Apply Here  

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


Urey Fellowship Postdoctoral Researcher

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), managed for NASA by the Universities Space Research Association, is seeking a senior postdoctoral scholar for its prestigious Urey Fellowship, named for the late cosmochemist, Dr. Harold Urey.

The Urey Post-doctoral Fellowship recognizes and promotes excellence in research for scientists who are at least two years past their doctorate and have a strong publication record. The Urey Fellow is expected to define their own research directions and foci within the planetary sciences.

The Urey Fellow will be in residence at the LPI, and will be expected to take advantage of interactions with its scientists (who have many specialties, see www.lpi.usra.edu) and those of the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) division at the nearby NASA Johnson Space Center (https://ares.jsc.nasa.gov/). The LPI hosts a NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) team focused on the Moon and on impact processes, and has recently established a center for planetary radar and a meteorite curation facility. The successful applicant will have access to a newly acquired SEM/EDX at the LPI, and may 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).

The successful applicant is expected to actively contribute to the LPI’s culture of collaboration, inclusivity, and community service. In addition to carrying out their own research programs, LPI staff and postdocs play an important role in supporting NASA and the planetary community. This support includes activities such as: supervising summer interns; involvement in education and outreach activities; contributing to focused workshops and conferences; and producing material of community interest for our website, newsletters and the LPI Bulletin. Contributions in one or more of these areas is expected, and excellent communication skills are preferred.

Applicants for this position must have a Ph.D. in Geology, Geophysics, Geochemistry, or other space science-related field, with experience in planetary research. 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 http://oiir.hq.nasa.gov/nasaecp/) are not eligible. The Urey Fellow will be provided a competitive level of salary, research support, and travel support for two years. Travel to present research results at conferences and related meetings is expected.

Questions can be addressed to Dr. Lisa Gaddis (lgaddis@lpi.usra.edu). Interested applicants should apply to the posting at USRA Careers and must submit a Curriculum Vita with a list of publications, a two- to three-page statement of research interests and anticipated collaborations at the LPI, and a list of three professional references. Further information on current research and facilities at the LPI and at JSC can be found on our website.

USRA is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations.

Apply Here  

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

Get the solar system in your inbox.

Sign up for LPI's email newsletters