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Planetary Science career

  1. Feb 7, 2016 #1
    First off, let me start by saying this isn't a thread asking about career prospects or salary prospects or anything like that. I've finally reached a point in my life where I know I want to pursue physics, and I'm extremely thrilled by the idea of Planetary Science. Nor do I have a romanticized view of a scientist, I understand that it would be hard work and I may die nameless without having contributed something of great importance, I don't plan on being the one to come up with the all defining theory of everything or to even have textbooks written about me. But the idea of studying the planets and many bodies in our solar system is something that really interests me. I like the idea of learning everything I can about our solar system and the physics of the world and greater Universe simply for me. I'm not interested in making a lot of money or becoming famous, I just want to be happy. I've read in a few places that Planetary Science can be grueling work, and I understand a Physics degree and PhD in and of itself is grueling work.

    I'm curious to hear from any planetary scientists or even astrophysicists here on this forum about their work. And when I say Planetary Scientist and Astrophysicist, I mean someone who really is getting paid to do it, it's their career, their livelihood. I understand anyone can study the planets and stars casually, and that's great for them, but I want to hear from people who have actually gone to or are going to school to pursue these careers, and their own experiences within them. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2016 #2
    There are not a whole lot of jobs in planetary science out there.

    It would be a great sideline for a career in teaching physics, physical science, earth science, and/or astronomy.
  4. Feb 13, 2016 #3
    If you want to get into Planetary Science, then cool: go for it. But please keep a plan B ready. Since Planetary Science is such a small field, it is very likely that you will fail to get into it. Please develop marketable skills so you won't end up surprised.
  5. Feb 13, 2016 #4
    Well, I will be going for a Physics Bachelor's degree and I will be taking as many physics classes as possible. One of the possible Graduate Schools I've been looking at has a Physics Department with a Planetary Science PhD, so maybe I can go for the Physics PhD but still try to do some work in Planetary Science. I think I still have lots of time to really decide what I want to do in Physics, once I begin taking some higher level classes I may discover something I'm more interested in.
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