Careers In The Space Industry!
Astronauts are usually at the top of everyone’s list when thinking about jobs you could have in the space industry! Being an astronaut is only one of the hundreds of space-related jobs, but to be fair, they’re easily the coolest! I mean, they are the lucky people who actually get launched by rockets into space!
Astronauts are often qualified pilots, or trained in aeronautical engineering, so that they can fly their spacecraft! They may also be specialized scientist called ‘mission specialist’ who spend time in space to conduct research. While in space they may also conduct experiments, especially if they’re staying in the International Space Station (ISS) which is basically one big science laboratory!! You can learn more here.
We all might have a vague idea what an astronomer is; they study astronomy right?! Well, did you realise that you can turn your hobby of studying and learning about the planets, moons, stars, galaxies, black holes etc into a job when you grow up?
In the modern world where we’ve learnt a lot about the nature of our solar system, astronomers (also referred to as astrophysicist) have to nowadays use really big telescopes or expensive space-based observatories to study weirder and weirder objects further away! So, if you’d like to be an astronomer I hope you like math and science subjects like physics as astronomers these days work on some really complicated problems, even looking for invisible stuff like dark matter! You can learn more about being an Astronomer here.
Engineers like to build things so are often computer buffs who design machines or tools like a spacecraft's systems or robotic space probes that may get sent to another planet or moon of the outer solar system with 3D computer software! They’ll get to build and test their designs too, which can be a lot of fun! Engineers often need to enjoy math and science subjects too as they’ll be dealing with these subjects a lot! You can learn more about being an Engineer here.
Aerospace engineers are a special type of engineer who design aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, robotic rovers, missiles – usually anything that might fly! They’ll also get to test their prototypes to make sure that everything works as they’d hoped!
Safety, efficiency and reliability is everything to an Aerospace Engineer, so I hope you’re ready to focus on flight safety, fuel efficiency, speed and weight along with reducing system costs while also constantly playing around with the latest technology!
Travelling into space is ‘by its very nature’ a very alien experience for humans and our bodies! There are many challenges that an astronaut’s body experiences while in space, from the near low gravity, extremes of temperature, isolation and exposure to the Sun’s and cosmic radiation!
The effects of space on the human body are constantly being monitored (in space and on the ground) so there is a great amount of emphasis on medical professionals specialising in space medicine!
Doctors and medical researchers are always working very hard to make sure that astronauts are kept safe and healthy during their long spaceflights. You might be interested in joining their team!
If you’re really into animals, biology and space then becoming an Astrobiologist could be your perfect job! Their job is to attempt to understand what the requirements for life are, where potentially habitable environments are in space, how organisms respond to these extreme environments (if they are dramatically different from Earth’s) and work hard to find out how we can detect for signs of life? You can learn more about being an Astrobiologist here.
Planetary Scientists may have one of the most interesting jobs and a future mission to Mars will surely have one onboard as they’re specialist at studying celestial bodies like planets and moons and their evolution history. They love to study surface features or the characteristics of a celestial body like its gravity, magnetic fields and atmospheres to try to piece together how the environment has changed over time!
Today’s Planetary Scientist are busy studying all the data that space probe missions to the planets and moons of the solar system are returning, to make new discoveries or find evidence of habitat conditions.
There’s a lot of buzz around Mars, Titan, Enceladus and Europa these days, no doubt they’ll need more Planetary Scientist in the future – you could be one of them! You can learn more about being a Planetary Scientist here.