The Exobiology Branch at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center (ARC) is currently seeking interested applicants for the position of a Research Physical Scientist. The Research Physical Scientist conducts research that emphasizes the conception and development of flight instruments that are suitable for detecting evidence of life, including extant life, and/or identifying and characterizing habitable environments beyond Earth.Learn more about this agency
Research includes instrument concepts and technologies with application that address following categories of biosignatures and/or habitable planetary environments: remotely detectable features on planetary surfaces (photosynthetic pigments, fluvial surface features, atmospheric composition, etc.), characteristic temporal changes in global planetary properties (e.g. seasonally-mediated respiration and biomass cycles), biogenic atmospheric gases; in-situ detectable features such as cellular and extracellular morphologies, biogenic fabrics in rocks, bio-organic molecular structures, chirality, biogenic minerals, biogenic stable isotope patterns in minerals and organic compounds, redox active species, bio-available energy sources and gradients.
Research entails instrument technology such as x-ray diffraction and fluorescence, fluorescence imaging microscopy, raman, ultraviolet, and infrared spectroscopy, biopolymer sequencing, polarimetry, electrochemical methods, capillary electrophoresis, microfluidics, or others related to habitability determination and biosignature identification. The position acts as an investigator and assists in field campaigns to investigate processes and develops instrumentation requirements that are relevant to the exploration of other worlds, e.g., Mars, Europa or exoplanets.
The Research Physical Scientist contributes to the development and deployment of instrumentation for NASA missions, including testing potential spaceflight instrumentation in controlled laboratory and relevant analog environments, and to the development of crucial testbeds for real-time problem solving. Supports research and instrument concept proposals in response to research opportunities and publishes research results in national and international peer-reviewed scientific journals with an emphasis on instrument development concepts suitable for the identification of biosignatures and/or habitable environments relevant to Astrobiology.
Occasional travel - Travel may be required for training or other work-related duties
Who May Apply
This job is open toâ€¦U.S. citizens and U.S. nationals
Questions? This job is open to 1 group.
Job family (Series)
Conditions Of Employment
- Position is subject to pre-employment background investigation
- A one-year probationary period may be required
- Selectee must complete a financial disclosure statement
You must meet qualifications requirements by the closing date of this announcement.
As identical vacancies are identified, additional selections maybe made.
This position will be filled at the GS-12 grade level only; the FPL is at the GS-14 grade level. Selectee can be promoted without further competition.
QualificationsApplicant must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade, which has equipped the applicant with the particular competencies needed to successfully perform the duties of the position described above.
In addition to the basic education requirements, applicants must possess one of the following:
To qualify for the GS-12 level:
One year of specialized experience is defined as experience in publishing journals relevant or related to multiple sub disciplines of astrobiology and reporting results through peer review publications/ presentations AND experience working with instruments related to the detection of bio signatures or features indicating habitability OR experience working with teams on performing measurements and collecting data at field sites.
Completion of all requirements for a doctoral degree (Ph.D. or equivalent) in an appropriate field.
In order to qualify for this position you must meet the Basic Education Requirement
Applicants must have successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate degree with a major in either a) engineering from a college or university that has ABET accredited engineering programs or b) Physical Science, Mathematics, Life Science, Computer Science, Other fields of science.
Degrees in engineering technology are not considered to be qualifying for this position.
The degree must have been received in the year of, or any year subsequent to the original date of accreditation. To find out if a school has an ABET accreditation, go to
ABET accredited schools
The accreditation, type of degree, and course work taken will determine if the basic education requirements are met.
Applicants must list their majors on their resume.
ABET or Foreign accreditation requirement applies to foreign education. Applicants who have completed part or all of their education outside the U.S. must have their foreign education evaluated by an accredited organization to ensure that the foreign education is comparable to the education received in accredited educational institutions in the U.S. If selected, a written evaluation translated in English of any foreign education must be completed and provided to the Human Resources official making the offer. Please indicate in your resume that you have had your foreign education formally evaluated by the closing date of the announcement. Failure to provide this evaluation may result in your being found unqualified for the position.
Applicants must complete the following fields in USAJOBS Resume Builder, Step 2. Education section in order for education qualifications to be considered for this position:
Any applicant tentatively selected for this position may be required to undergo a pre-employment background investigation. Individuals who have special priority selection rights under the Agency Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) must be well qualified for the position to receive consideration for special priority selection. See 'How You Will Be Evaluated' for definition of well qualified. Federal employees seeking CTAP/ICTAP consideration must indicate their eligibility when applying for a position. The USAJOBS resume asks you to identify your ICTAP eligibility; the NASA Supplemental Information asks you to identify your CTAP eligibility. If you are selected for the position, you must be prepared to submit proof that you meet the requirements for CTAP/ICTAP. This includes a copy of the agency notice, a copy of their most recent Performance Rating and a copy of their most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level, and duty location.
As a condition of employment, male applicants born after December 31, 1959, must certify that they have registered with the Selective Service System, or are exempt from having to do so under the Selective Service Law. In order to receive preference in hiring, you must clearly identify your claim for veterans preference on your resume.
NASA's Applicant Guide provides the information needed to assist you in determining whether or not you can claim 5 or 10 point veterans preference. You should not submit documents to prove your eligibility for veterans preference at this time. However, you must be prepared to submit proof of veterans preference (DD-214, and, if claiming 10-point preference, SF-15 plus proof required by that form) as requested by the Human Resources Office. Veterans preference will only be considered based on what is supported For instance, if you claim 10-point preference, but are only able to document 5-point preference, you will be considered accordingly. If you fail to provide the required documents within the stated time period, we may withdraw a job offer and/or remove you from further consideration.
Your USAJOBS account asks you to assign a name to each of your resumes. When you apply to a NASA position, we will show you the text of the resume you have submitted, but we do not maintain the name you have assigned to that resume. If you wish to keep track of that information, we recommend you make note of it at the time you apply.
Fair Employment Opportunities for Applicants
NASA Credit for National Service
Identification of promotion potential in this position does not constitute a commitment or an obligation on the part of management to promote the employee. Promotion will depend upon administrative approval and the continuing need for an actual assignment and performance of higher level duties.
The payment of relocation expenses is authorized.
How You Will Be Evaluated
NASA uses an automated system (STARS) that matches the competencies extracted from your resume to the competencies identified by the selecting official for the position. Based on the competencies you match, you are placed in one of three categories identified as 90, 80, or 70 pt. quality categories, which are defined as:
90 pt. Category - Tentatively meets (until subsequent confirmation upon referral) the basic qualification requirements identified in the vacancy announcement and has experience in the same or similar job that has demonstrated superior proficiency in the primary requirements of the position.
80 pt. Category - Tentatively meets (until subsequent confirmation upon referral) the basic qualification requirements identified in the vacancy announcement and demonstrates satisfactory proficiency in the primary requirements of the position.
70 pt. Category - Fails to meet criteria described in the 80 pt. category.
Additional application guidance is available in NASA's Applicant Guide.
Information for Veterans: The Category Rating Process protects the rights of veterans by placing them ahead of non-preference eligibles within each category. Preference eligibles who meet qualification requirements and have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent must be listed at the top of the highest quality category, except when the position being filled is scientific or professional at the GS-09 grade level or higher.
For the purpose of the Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) and the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP), candidates rated in the top quality category are considered well-qualified.
If you are eligible for a special program such as individual with a disability, former Peace Corps employee, returning Peace Corps or AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer, 30% or more Disable Veterans or Veterans' Recruitment Appointment, you may apply to this announcement under the hiring authority that you are eligible for. To receive consideration under the appropriate hiring authority, you will need to check mark the appropriate category under the 'Options' tab when completing the application process.
If you are found qualified, your resume will be forwarded to the hiring manager.
For more information please visit:
Schedule A Hiring Authority- https://www.opm.gov/disability/PeopleWithDisabilities.asp OR http://nasajobs.nasa.gov/generalinfo/nssc.htm.
Peace Corps or AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer- http://www.peacecorps.gov/nce
Veterans' Recruitment Appointment and 30% or more Disabled Veteran- https://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/shav/index.aspx OR https://applyonline.nasa.gov/veterans.jsp
To receive consideration, you must submit a resume and answer NASA-specific questions. The NASA questions appear after you submit your resume and are transferred to the NASA web site. If you successfully apply, USAJOBS will show your application status as 'Received'. If your status is 'Application Status Not Available', you have not successfully applied. Do not rely on a USAJOBS email to confirm successful application. Only an email from NASA confirms a successful application.
Background checks and security clearance
Drug test required
NASA's application process has been specifically developed to ensure that we only ask you for the information we absolutely need to evaluate your qualifications and eligibility. In order to apply for this position, you only need to submit your resume and answer the screening questions and supplemental information. No additional documentation is accepted at the time of application. (For example you need not submit narrative 'KSA' statements; they are not required and will not be evaluated.) In this way we allow you to focus on preparing a resume that best describes your background and abilities. For assistance in preparing your resume, consult the Applicant Guide. Nothing further is required until requested by the Human Resources Office. At that point, we may ask you to submit documentation to support statements made in your resume. For example, we may ask you to provide academic transcripts or proof of Federal employment status. If you are claiming veterans' preference, we may ask you to submit proof of veterans preference (DD-214, and, if claiming 10-point preference, SF-15 plus proof required by that form). If you fail to provide the required documents within the stated time period, we may withdraw a job offer and/or remove you from further consideration.
If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.
A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding.
Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.
How to Apply
This vacancy is being filled through NASA STARS, an automated Staffing and Recruitment System. NASA partners with USAJOBS in providing a seamless application process. Before you begin the application process, please read the vacancy announcement carefully and have all required information available. You may begin the process of submitting your resume by clicking on the 'Apply Online' link. In order to be considered, you must submit a resume completed on the USAJOBS site. When completing your USAJOBS resume, please remember that NASA limits resumes to approximately 32,000 characters including spaces. NASA does not accept resumes uploaded to USAJOBS from a second source or documents attached through USAJOBS' document attachment feature. Once you submit your resume to NASA, you will be asked to complete a short series of additional questions. You must finish the entire process in order to have a complete application package and receive consideration. Your answers will not be saved unless you finish the entire application. You may edit a previously-submitted application, if the announcement is still open. If you are unable to apply electronically for this position, submit your resume and supplemental questions to:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
4200 Rideout Road
Resume Operations Center/Mailstop: HS50
Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812
DO NOT submit your resume directly to the Center advertising this vacancy. Mailed resumes must be received by the close of business on the closing date of the announcement. Hard copy resumes requirements are provided at: Hard Copy Resume Requirements. If you are a first time applicant, we recommend that you review NASA's Applicant Guide to ensure that you are providing a complete resume. Failure to submit the supplemental data and a resume that contains all of the required information may result in loss of consideration for positions in which you are interested. All applications must be received no later than midnight Eastern Time on the closing date of the announcement.
Agency contact information
AddressNASA's Resume Operations Center
4200 Rideout Road, Mailstop HS50
Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812
Visit our careers page
Learn more about what it's like to work at Ames Research Center, what the agency does, and about the types of careers this agency offers.
Candidates for NASA positions are evaluated using our automated staffing and recruitment system, NASA STARS, which compares your skills and experience as described in your resume with the requirements of the position. If you are found to be a highly qualified candidate, you will be referred to the selecting official for further consideration. (In some cases, individuals with priority for special consideration must be considered and selected before other candidates.) Whether or not you are contacted for an interview depends upon the location of the position and the judgment of the selecting official. At NASA, we pride ourselves on efficient and timely recruitment actions, and you can normally expect to learn the outcome of the selection process in a fairly short period of time. In addition, to ensure that you can measure progress for yourself, NASA provides you with regularly updated information on the status of the vacancy announcement.
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The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.
Equal Employment Opportunity Policy
The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy And gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.
Reasonable Accommodation Policy
Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.
A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.
Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:
- An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
- An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
- An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.
You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Legal and regulatory guidance
This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/508618500. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.