Job Overview


NASA, the world's leader in space and aeronautics is always seeking outstanding scientists, engineers, and other talented professionals to carry forward the great discovery process that its mission demands. Creativity. Ambition. Teamwork. A sense of daring. And a probing mind. That's what it takes to join NASA, one of the best places to work in the Federal Government.

The Exobiology Branch (Code SSX) at NASA Ames Research Center is currently seeking interested applicants for the position of Research Space Scientist. The incumbent is responsible for conducting microbiological and/or geologic research to identify biosignatures that characterize past/present life in environments related to astrobiology. He/she studies the origin, composition, structure, and evolution of the solar system, including planets and satellites; the Earth and Moon; and meteorites, asteroids, comets and dust.

This vacancy announcement has been amended to extend the closing date to May 9, 2013.


As a Research Space Scientist, the incumbent is responsible for conducting research involving modern field samples, ancient terrestrial rocks, meteorites, extraterrestrial materials, ices, Mars analog rocks, and returned data from spaceflight missions. He/she conducts research that emphasizes on the elucidation and characterization of modern, ancient, or extraterrestrial habitable zones and mineral biosignature. This includes the evaluation of preservation potential related to biosignatures; primary/secondary mineral phases associated with habitable zones; and the development of databases, microbial specimens, and geological collections for planetary studies and spacecraft missions. The incumbent conducts research that addresses two or more of the following categories of biosignatures: cellular and extracellular morphologies, biogenic fabrics in rocks, bio-organic molecular structures, chirality, biogenic minerals, biogenic stable isotope patterns in minerals and organic compounds, atmospheric gases, remotely detectable features on planetary surfaces, and characteristic temporal changes in global planetary properties. He/she investigates biosignatures to understand key microbial communities and evolution in the context of the environments.

The incumbent develops research proposals and publishes research results in national and international peer-reviewed scientific journals. He/she participates in field campaigns, geological field work, and investigation of analog environments on earth that represent factors of planetary surfaces and planetary surface environments. The incumbent identifies and characterizes biosignatures in microorganisms or natural samples by integrating measurements obtained from state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation. He/she contributes to the development and deployment of instrumentation for NASA missions, including testing spaceflight hardware in relevant analog environments. Spaceflight hardware includes mineralogical instrumentation (such as X-ray Diffraction/Flourescence (XRD/XRF), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), and Energy Dispersive X-Ray (EDX), electron microprobe, and Infrared Spectroscopy); and life detection instrumentation such as gene and antibody microarrays.