Job Opportunity: Science Writer, Sea Level Portal and Exoplanet Exploration Program – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Jet Propulsion Laboratory Logo

Posted Date 4/15/15
Job Locations US-CA-Pasadena


Do you excel in an environment that values exploration and discovery? We have a universe of opportunities waiting for you!

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is NASA’s lead center for robotic exploration of the solar system. Our core competency is the end-to-end implementation of unprecedented robotic space missions to study Earth, the Solar System, and the Universe.

JPL, located in Pasadena, California, has a casual, campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.

JPL’s Office of Communications is currently seeking a Science Writer to support NASA’s Sea Level Change and Exoplanet Exploration web portals.  Both projects are being developed with the goal of providing scientists and the general public with “one-stop” resources of current information and data about sea level change science and the search for new worlds and life beyond Earth.

We are proud to be part of NASA and Caltech, as we explore the universe and make history through new discoveries.

We aim to do things never done before and to go places few can go. We dare mighty things…do you?


Specific responsibilities of the Science Writer for the Sea Level Portal include:

  • Authoring a series of core knowledge articles, along with fact sheets, that provide a broad overview of the subject of sea level change. Topics include: Causes of globally averaged sea level rise; causes of regional changes in relative sea level; history of sea level measurements; current effects; future projections; and contributors to sea level rise (land ice, thermal expansion of sea water, etc.). This will constitute about 7-10 articles, total, written at a level accessible to the general public. These will be completed prior to website launch, scheduled for this October.
  • Consulting with management, technical staff, and writers on related website elements, graphics, social media, and possible video products.
  • Developing contacts and relationships with researchers at JPL, partner institutions and in the field. Mining research areas for feature article ideas and topics, which will then be pitched to the Sea Level Portal editorial team.
  • On a weekly basis, meeting with researchers and the portal team to discuss current research and editorial priorities.

Specific responsibilities of the Science Writer for the Exoplanet Exploration Program include:

  • Authoring and helping plan and conceptualize the new portal on Exoplanet Exploration. This includes  a series of core knowledge articles, along with fact sheets, that provide a broad overview of the subject. Topics include: Methods of planet finding; the history of the search for new worlds; current and future technologies; astrobiology; and an overview of current and future NASA exoplanet missions.
  • Following site launch, there will be an ongoing series of news and feature articles focused on recent news and developments, new research findings, new technology breakthroughs, interviews and profiles of researchers in the exoplanet and astrobiology communities.
  • Working with social media staff to distribute new content through social media platforms (primarily Facebook and Twitter).
  • Occasional travel to science conferences to staff NASA’s booth, and occasional support for public events such as JPL’s annual Open House.

NOTE: During the first six months of employment, approximately 75% of the Science Writer’s effort will be allocated to the Sea Level project, and 25% to the Exoplanet program. After than time, the Writer’s time will average 50% between the two themes.

This position typically requires a Bachelors degree with 3 years of related experience, or a Masters degree with 1 year of related experience.

Other qualifications include:
• Excellent communication skills, especially written.
• Experience in successfully handling multiple project timelines and varied deliverables.
• Significant portfolio of written articles covering Earth, space science, and astrophysics programs and projects at JPL and other institutions.
• Demonstrated familiarity with Earth Science, and with JPL and NASA’s programs and projects.
• Ability to conceptualize graphic elements or animations and work with artists for development.
• Knack for translating advanced scientific concepts into a narrative form that is accessible and engaging to a non-technical audience.
• Ability to communicate and work effectively with the technical community to ensure accuracy of content.

Preferred qualifications include:
• Some knowledge of JPL exoplanet missions and technology and experience developing science-related web and interactive content (especially Earth science).
• Some experience with social media.
•Familiarity with the evolving new media communications landscape.
• Experience with image cropping and working with MS Office product and Adobe Photoshop.

For more information, see the full job posting.


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