The Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is located within Pasadena, California, USA and is a federally funded research and development center managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for NASA. JPL’s focus is on planetary exploration, Earth science, astronomy, and technology development. It is also the lead US center of the robotic exploration of space. Over the last several decades JPL has managed numerous missions, including the recently launched Perseverance rover which is currently making its way to Mars. In regards to astrobiology, there is a wide range of research being done at JPL by several different groups. One such group is the Origins and Habitability Laboratory (OHL) which studies the origins of life, planetary geochemistry and habitability, extremophiles, and life detection.

Funding acknowledgement: This research is carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (80NM0018D0004).

Useful links:

Point of contact: Dr Laurie Barge and Dr Scott Perl


  1. Any chance at JPL to open research for human sciences? E.g., as an anthropological ethnography in laboratories?
    JPL’s focus is on planetary exploration, Earth science, astronomy, and technology development, as such there is no ongoing research related to anthropology.
  2. Is there any summer internship programme for international students pursuing their postgraduation?
    Internships are reserved for students (undergraduate, Masters, or PhD). International students pursuing a Masters or PhD in STEM fields are qualified to apply to the JPL visiting student research program so long as they have secured external funding to pay their stipend and health insurance. The program dates are flexible and individuals can choose whether to work full or part time. For more information visit this page.
  3. Do you know any group in JPL working on the evolution of metalloproteins and Fe-S clusters?
    The Origins and Habitability Lab group is investigating the role Fe-S minerals and clusters may have had on the origins of metabolism. For more information, I would suggest reaching out to Dr. Laurie Barge at Laura.M.Barge (at) or Dr. Jessica Weber at Jessica.Weber (at)