Archive Scientist

Job Summary

Scientific / Technical Staff
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement
In-Person Location(s)

Pasadena, CA
United States

Job Description

Caltech is a world-renowned science and engineering institute that marshals some of the world's brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions. We thrive on finding and cultivating talented people who are passionate about what they do. Join us and be a part of the diverse Caltech community.

IPAC at the California Institute of Technology is soliciting applications for an Archive Scientist to work on the Near-Earth Object Surveyor (NEOS) program and the SPHEREx mission. NEOS is a NASA Planetary Defense mission that will launch in late 2027 and will conduct a mid-infrared imaging survey of the sky that will detect, track, and characterize Near-Earth Objects, particularly those that pose a hazard to Earth, and more distant small bodies in the solar system. SPHEREx, the Spectrophotometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer is a NASA Astrophysics Explorer mission which will conduct a spectroscopic, infrared survey of the entire sky starting in 2025.

IPAC is developing and will operate the NEOS Survey Data System (NSDS) that ingests raw data from the flight system, processes those data into calibrated images and source detections, performs automated searches for moving solar system objects, and assesses the quality of the survey data. Long-term archiving and public access to the NEOS image and extracted source data products will be done in collaboration with the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive (IRSA).

IPAC provides the SPHEREx Science Data Center (SSDC), which is responsible for the development and operation of the data pipeline and for the archiving and support of the data at IRSA.

Job Duties:

NSDS Archive Scientist, you will report to the NSDS Lead Scientist and System Architect. As the SSDC Archive Scientist, you will report to SSDC Lead. Your duties will include:

  • Serving as the primary technical liaison between the NSDS and IRSA
  • Coordinating and documenting the operational and data interfaces between the NSDS and IRSA
  • Working with the NSDS quality assurance team to validate transfer of data into the NEOS archive
  • Working with the SSDC team on validation of the science data products
  • Coordinating with IRSA the design and development of user interfaces to the services that provide access to the NEOS and SSDC data products
  • Contributing to general analysis and documentation of the NEO Surveyor and SPHEREx data products that will be served by IRSA

Basic Qualifications:

  • PhD in astronomy, planetary science or a related discipline and two years of post-PhD experience
  • Experience in the design, implementation and use of scientific archives and their user interfaces
  • Good communication skills and experience working in a team of dedicated scientists and engineers
  • The ability to write and maintain documents that describe software design, usage, and interfaces, including tracking results from testing and validation.

Preferred Qualifications:

Besides these basic qualifications, there are a set of skills and experience that will enhance your contributions as the NEOS and SPHEREx Archive Scientist. The following might give you a head start, but even if these don’t describe you or your experience, we would still like to hear from you.

  • Experience in infrared astronomy, especially infrared or spectroscopic survey observations
  • Plans for an active research program that will make use of the image and catalog data from the NEOS and/or SPHEREx

Required Documents:

  • Cover Letter
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Names and Contact information of 3 references
  • Application Accepted via the Caltech Site only

Applications are due by April 26, 2024.

IPAC, part of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy Division at Caltech (, partners with NASA, NSF, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL, operated for NASA by Caltech), and the world-wide research community to advance exploration of our universe. IPAC provides science operations, user support, data and archive services, and scientific vision to maximize discovery with observatories both in space and on the ground. Scientists at IPAC have access to Palomar Observatory and other research facilities.

Hiring Range

$66,600 - $103,300 Per Year

The salary of the finalist(s) selected for this role will be set based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to, internal equity, experience, education, specialty and training.

As one of the largest employers in Pasadena, CA, Caltech is committed to providing comprehensive benefits to eligible employees and their eligible dependents. Our benefits package includes competitive compensation, health, dental, and vision insurance, retirement savings plans, generous paid time off (vacation, holidays, sick time, parental leave, bereavement, etc.), tuition reimbursement, and more. Non-benefit eligible employees will have access to some benefits such as onsite counseling and sick time. Learn more about our benefits and staff perks

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Caltech is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

To read more Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) go to eeoc_self_print_poster.pdf.

Disability Accommodations

If you would like to request an accommodation in completing this application, interviewing, or otherwise participating in the employee selection process, please direct your inquiries to Caltech Recruiting at [email protected]

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2024 Mar 08
Application Deadline
2024 Apr 26