Some ladies are really, really into space. And we need those ladies.
We need people of all kinds who realize just how important space exploration and research is. Especially now as the political climate makes it look like we won’t be seeing as heavy a focus on those fields. We always need more women in STEM jobs, but those aren’t the only ones that can get you a career dealing with the planetoids, stars, and nebulas you love so much. So, what directions can you go in if you want to head to space?
If it’s the science of space that you love, then there are certainly plenty of fields where you can build on that scientific curiosity and genuinely help or lead the research that makes groundbreaking discoveries. Some of the highest paying careers in astronomy are theoretical and observational astrophysics. This could involve creating virtual models of the different parts of the universe to better understand them and working with the very data found by space exploration efforts. The findings of astrophysics have a massive impact on the lives we live here on Earth, as well. To use the most famous example, we understand the theory of global warming so well thanks to the data we’ve found by observing the nature of Venus and its own greenhouse gasses.
Physics plays just as big a role in engineering, but if that’s where your talents lie then there’s still plenty of room for you to get involved in space exploration. The majority of aerospace engineering jobs tend to deal with crafts that stay very firmly within the Earth’s atmosphere. But there are no rockets, no spacecraft, and no space stations. There’s a lot of work done in those teams, with specialists in structures, thermal, power, and so on. It takes a lot of specialization in your education. But for many people working in the field, the amount of time spent getting there is more than worth it.
Be the astronaut
Of course, the same can most certainly be said for those who actually go into space. Being an astronaut is not an unrealistic career option. There are plenty of people who go through the process every year in the hopes of reaching the stars. Of course, there are plenty of strict requirements set by NASA and just about every other space program in the world. Physical fitness, flawless eyesight, and certain measurements are a necessity. The training missions and physicals leading up to getting your qualification can be just as grueling. But it’s important to know that the option to take those tests and begin the path to reach the stars is a reality and a true career option. A bachelor’s degree in fields like mathematics or engineering is also a requirement.
Did you know that all space-faring countries in the world have a treaty that says they’re not going to weaponize space to use it as a battlefield in any potential wars? It’s an interesting fact and just one of the many that have been hashed out due to the work done in space policy. Space policy combines the world of politics and science and is an essential part of supporting the space programs. As with any political field, it can be messy work. But if it’s more important to you that we continue to explore the final frontier then actually getting to explore it, and if you have the ability to grasp law and policy, it could be a field in which you make a real impact as to what direction the country takes.
We’re not talking about writing sci-fi, though there are certainly writers like Asimov that have had a huge impact on society from doing that. But if you like learning about space, keeping up-to-date on the news, stargazing and the like and you have great writing, then there are plenty of sites and magazines like Sky at Night that are always looking for good content. Most writers in these fields are freelance, but it gives you the opportunity to focus on taking what you love and sharing it with the community. Getting involved in that community also gives you the opportunity to work with and meet some of the most influential people involved in space travel and exploration, too.
Too often, we treat the childhood fascination with space as immature and ‘mature’ it out of people. If you have that passion, hold onto it and follow it. There are lucrative careers in doing what you love if you’re brave enough to head for them.