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What Career to do with space is best for me?

  1. Jun 7, 2012 #1
    I'm really interested in space, I love anything to do with it, I just find the topic amazing.
    I know I want a career in space, I just can't settle on the right one for me. Right now I'm in Year 9, next year for my subjects I'll probably pick Physics, Math, chemistry, and any other subject that might help me in a career in space.
    I love Math and English, they're probably my best 2 subjects. In Science we don't really start to look much into Physics and that sort of stuff until next year, so I don't know how good I'll be at that.
    Right now I'm thinking of becoming an Aerospace engineer, but to be honest I'm not that into building and designing things.
    I just love learning new things about our planets, the solar system, and space in general. My mum suggested that maybe I should become an Astronomer, what sort of stuff would I do if became one? Would I just sit in an observatory all day looking at numbers and such?

    I know it might be a bit early looking into what career I want to do later on in life, but I'd like to know now, to pick what I'm going to do, and to work my way to getting there from now.

    Please any ideas? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2012 #2
    You're right, it's still very early for you to be planning this out. I think most people change their minds multiple times before finally settling, and sometimes they end up right where they started (that's me...) so I applaud you for trying to figure this stuff out early!

    Based on what you said, your mom is probably right. If you love learning about space science but don't think you want to work on the actual spacecraft/satellites systems, then Astronomy is probably a good fit. As for what they do, I think your idea may be pretty accurate. Many of them work in observatories and deal with numbers for the most part. From what I understand, most of the research into "space" deals with things we can't actually see, even with telescopes. They detect very tiny differences in light, or wobbles in gravity, and "guess" that something must be out there. This means they use tons of math, and it would probably help to be able to write computer programs so you can code your own simulations to "test" your mathematical theories about space and see if it makes sense.

    This isn't specifically related to your question about Astronomy, but it's probably a good idea to study Russian too, as it seems they have the only functioning space program right now. Of course, anything could happen in the future.... like the privatization of space exploration by companies like SpaceX. And you could be wrong about not liking building and designing. You may discover you like it someday if you ever have a positive experience with it, that would open up your options for working with "space" a lot! I think SpaceX is probably more relevant than NASA nowadays.... take a look at all the different kinds of people they are hiring now, might give you some ideas about what kind of work is involved in "Space"
  4. Jun 16, 2012 #3
    Also, here's a quote from a website with lots of info about science/technology related careers. This may help you get an idea about another way to work with with space-related science.

  5. Jun 16, 2012 #4


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    I had 'astronomer' picked out in 7th grade as my future career, and now I am one. I studied Russian in high school, and I have never once had the opportunity to use it. I wish I had studied Spanish - all the big observatories are in Chile.

    Many astronomers never visit observatories; I know a few who couldn't point out any constellations in the sky. Only some astronomers use ground-based telescopes, and we don't spend much time there when we do. Although joining a local astronomy club would be a good idea; I was hired as a teaching assistant for the astronomy dept my first year in college because I already knew how to run a telescope.

    SpaceX will not be hiring astronomers. They want engineers. Astronomer work on the science, not the whole putting people in space part. There's not much actual science there, not astronomy anyway. Plan on majoring in physics in college; most of the jobs in the field require a PhD in astronomy or physics, and you need a physics major to get into those graduate programs.
  6. Jun 17, 2012 #5
    basically you have no idea what you want to do.
  7. Jun 20, 2012 #6
    Thanks for that response, very informative and helpful.
    Astronomy sounds like it would be interesting, but I want to do something more...practical?
    When I say practical, I mean doing something that's contributing to what we do, and what we accomplish in space (like an Engineer).
    To be honest it sounds a like being an astronomer would be a little boring.
    But as you said, it's still a bit early for me to be thinking too seriously about careers yet, I have a lot of time to make my decision.
    I agree, if I ever do become an Engineer, a private space company like SpaceX does look more attractive then something like NASA, they're hardly doing anything over there anymore.

    Over the next few years my feelings towards Astronomy, and Engineering, might change, or I might pick a completely different career. For now I can just keep researching about different careers to do with space, and more importantly, do well over the next years in school.

    Thanks a lot for your help! The websites you linked were really helpful.
    And if you don't mind me asking, what career did you eventually settle down on?
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