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Post Doctoral Planetary Data Scientist
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland
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Date Posted January 15, 2020
Employment Type Full-time
Application Deadline Open until filled

Position Description

Are you interested in producing maps of other solar system bodies that reveal an unprecedented level of detail?

Do you have proven capabilities in sophisticated data filtering and image processing techniques that reduce the noise and boost the signal?

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) instrument on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The instrument has operated in two modes, collecting 20 meter per pixel hyperspectral targeted observations, or collecting 100-200 meter per pixel mapping strips with any of three subsets of CRISM’s wavelengths. In recent years the team has been developing value-added analysis and visualization data products from the targeted observations and two of the three mapping data sets.

We seek a postdoctoral data scientist who has experience with CRISM data, for a 2-year position (extendable to 3 years) to lead the prototyping and development of a processing pipeline for the final mapping data set – the hyperspectral survey mapping data. These data cover ~40% of Mars and contain contiguous hyperspectral sampling of mineralogically important visible and infrared wavelengths at 200 meters per pixel. This data set is expected to extend mineral detection capabilities typical of hyperspectral targeted observations to a 20-times larger area. The pipeline will require remediation of both instrument artifacts and residuals that result from time-variable atmospheric opacity, as well as geospatial processing to assemble a set of hyperspectral survey mapping strips into a coherent mosaic. It is expected that some aspects of the hyperspectal survey data processing workflow can be adapted from the processing pipelines for the first two mapping data sets, but unique characteristics of the data set will require the development and application of new techniques. The successful candidate will work with another postdoc who is conducting pilot analyses of hyperspectral survey mapping data, and will also assist in upgrading the pipeline for higher-order targeted observation data products to improve the characterization and empirical correction of atmospheric scattering effects.

The duties of this position will include: 

Prototype, test, and validate a processing pipeline that will remediate noise and atmospheric residuals in hyperspectral survey mapping data, advancing the workflow toward the production of a global set of map-projected mosaic tile data products
Assist in upgrading a targeted observation data processing pipeline to accommodate atmospheric effects in the absence of a direct measurement of the atmospheric state
Conduct independent research focused on production of higher-order data products
You will meet our minimum qualifications if you have:

A Ph.D. in Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Applied Math, or a closely related field
Experience working with one or more parts of the CRISM data set
Excellent programming skills
A working knowledge of spectral properties of Mars at 0.4-3.9 microns wavelength

You will go above and beyond our minimum qualifications if you have: 

Expertise with mineralogic interpretation of spectral data

Experience with spectroscopy of planetary bodies other than Mars
Research funding of your own or as a co-investigator on an ongoing project

Why work at APL?


The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) brings world-class expertise to our nation's most critical defense, security, space and science challenges. With a wide selection of challenging, impactful work and a robust education assistance program, APL promotes a culture of life-long learning. Our employees enjoy generous benefits and healthy work/life balance. APL's campus is located in the Baltimore-Washington metro area. Learn more about our career opportunities at www.jhuapl.edu/careers.


APL is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

Primary Location *United States-*Maryland-*Laurel


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