Astronomy Jobs – How to work at NASA: 10 careers you can study to do it

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Would you like to work at NASA but you don’t know what to study? We made a list of the 10 careers that will bring you closer to space dream and you will know how to work at NASA. 

Working at NASA is the dream of many students and professionals fascinated by science and space. 

This list of careers will help you know what kind of professionals NASA needs. Beyond astronauts or astronomers, NASA draws on a great diversity of professional profiles to carry out its research projects. 

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration known as NASA, is the US government agency that develops space research programs, including manned missions. It is the biggest reference in the sector and the dream job for those who marvel at the mysteries of the Universe. 

Next, you will find 10 careers that you can study if you want to work at NASA, although the degree itself is only the beginning of a long road that you must follow: applying for job offers, passing a series of tests in case you are selected and maybe, studying a related graduate. 

1) Aerospace Engineering 

Design systems such as vehicles and artifacts that fly into the atmosphere, especially airplanes, missiles or space equipment used by astronauts to accomplish their missions. 

It requires skills in calculation, projection, preparation of construction sketches and modification of the parts that can be optimized. Both theoretical mathematics or fluid dynamics and motion equations are indispensable in spaceflight. 

2) Computer engineering 

It combines Computing with Electronic Engineering and Software Engineering so that it develops intelligent systems to process information automatically. Familiarization with robots, algorithms, telecommunication or information theory, are pillars in this race. 

The profession is fundamental in an organization like NASA that requires constant monitoring systems and interpretation of data that they receive from space missions, but also from the astronomical environment. 

3) Environmental engineering 

If you are excited about green careers and space alike, you can venture into this branch of Engineering, which tries to solve environmental problems. It promotes sustainable development by applying knowledge of chemistry, ecology or biology by studying global warming, rainfall, glaciers or ocean saltpeter, among other natural phenomena. 

At NASA, its task is to analyze these incidents on Earth to look for patterns with other investigated planets, as well as to measure the environmental impact of vehicles or artifacts that are sent to space to investigate. 

4) Telecommunications Engineering 

An astronaut cannot undergo a mission without a telecommunication system that contacts him with those who stay on Earth. The professional in charge of the development of these remote communication systems directs their attention to the emission and reception of interpretable signals. 

Satellites are his kingdom par excellence in the confines of the Universe, but he is also dedicated to radio, television and digital networks that could be used inside a spaceship and on land bases. Physics, mathematics, chemistry, electronics, and computer science are some of the main areas studied. 

5) Electronic engineering 

It solves practical problems linked to powerful electrical systems or their transformation to adapt it to different electrical devices. Process automation is one of its most outstanding tasks in technology companies, installing its electronic systems. 

NASA’s electronic engineers spend long hours in technological laboratories creating the necessary sensors and instruments on the launching platforms of ships that meet scientific objectives, with or without crew. 

James Bailey works on Mars 2020 in Building 179, Highbay 1
James Bailey works on Mars 2020 in Building 179, Highbay 1

6) Chemical engineering 

It uses knowledge of the basic sciences to transform raw materials into marketable or applicable products in a company. One of its fundamental aspects is the treatment of fuels, which in the case of the space agency are used in artifacts or vehicles that fly into the atmosphere. 

It is related to environmental care, to the extent that the fuels and treatments they carry out an attempt to have the least possible impact on the Earth. 

A picture of a  telescope with the sky full of stars.
A picture of a telescope with the sky full of stars.

7) Astronomy 

What would NASA be without its astronomers? An option for those who do not sympathize with Engineering careers, but enjoy space issues, particularly research on the physics of the Universe. Galaxies, stars, planets or other celestial bodies are the focus of their analysis, extracting data from terrestrial telescopes or even located in space. 

Their knowledge in astronomical theoretical models allows them to obtain conclusions about changes in the cosmos, traveling the world to study phenomena in different observatories. 

NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren prepares a fresh coffee using one of the specially designed cups used in the Capillary Beverage study.
NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren prepares a fresh coffee using one of the specially designed cups used in the Capillary Beverage study.

8) Physics 

He systematically works on the laws that govern everything that exists, gathering information through experimental methods to verify or refute hypotheses based on theoretical precepts. 

The mathematical relationships between the elements or subjects studied allow us to know everything that surrounds us, vital information to perform in the space where the level of gravity is low. From how materials are composed to how different forms are interrelated, they are key in the study of NASA physicists who provide relevant data to missionary astronauts, aeronautical engineers and all professionals directly involved with life in space. 

The Moment a Geologist Was Born
The Moment a Geologist Was Born

9) Geology 

The specialty in Planetary Geology analyzes the Earth to achieve patterns that facilitate the study of other planets, their evolution and the possibilities of other life forms in the Solar System, for which they need to understand different types of surfaces. 

Since the 1960s, space probes have been sent that throw information to examine the planetary bodies and draw conclusions about their changes. Knowing the components of these surfaces helps determine what will be required to complete the space missions successfully. 

Mikulski's Powerful Advocacy Will Be Missed Across NASA
Mikulski’s Powerful Advocacy Will Be Missed Across NASA

10) Advocacy 

Yes, you read that right: Advocacy. It is a career that shares the basis of law but is so malleable that it can be applied to different areas. In fact, the most modern legal trends specialize, for example, in drones. 

The lawyers dedicated entirely to the laws that govern space are valuable pieces for NASA because they interpret the legislation to act in unusual places like Mars. Implements to travel to space, space debris, the extraction of resources from other planets by companies or simply the use of satellites, are some of the fields that space lawyers work. 

Do you already know which career to choose to develop a profession and how to work at NASA? 

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