On the 30th of last June, something amazing happened in the sky.

 

On the 14th of July, Pluto sent us a heart by way of New Horizons, the spacecraft that officially completes humanity’s trip through the solar system.

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We live in a time when India sent a satellite to Mars at Rs. 7 per kilometer (when was the last time you travelled anywhere for that little?), when we know to near-certainty that Mars once had life, when we the see the gorgeous geysers of Ganymede, when we have discovered that there are 11 billion planets that could potentially support life outside of Earth. Careers in Space, even though you’ll never live on another planet in your life time, are very exciting right now, especially in the UK, which has colleges that have among the best science and technology faculties in the world. This brings us…
To Infinity & Beyond: Careers In Space Exploration & How To Get There

Astronauts

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What You’ll Do:
You’ll do what conspiracy theorists think the Americans did not do back in 1969. You’ll join the ranks of Yuri Gagarin, Neil Armstrong and Chris Hadfield (the coolest man on Earth!). Of course, you can also fuel your own conspiracy theories from the ground up.

What Courses:

  • Engineering
  • Biological science
  • Physical science
  • Mathematics

What Unis:

  • Cambridge
  • Oxford
  • Imperial College London

Aerospace Engineers

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What You’ll Do:
Aerospace Engineers come in many shapes and sizes. Any space programme requires people specializing in a who lot of areas from computers to mechanics to robotics to design and even space suits. As long as you have a tech degree, you can probably find …space. Gotcha.

What Courses:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Robotics Engineering
  • Electrical & Communications Engineering
  • Computer & Software Engineering
  • And so on
  • And so forth…

What Unis:

  • Cambridge
  • Imperial College London
  • Bristol

Astrobiologists

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What You’ll Do:
Astrobiology seems to be the microcosm of all scientific endeavour. Sure, science gave us drone selfies and the iWatch, but all that happened because humanity wanted answers to one question: Is anybody out there? This is the question you’ll be working on answering.

What Courses:

  • Geology
  • Planetary sciences
  • Biology
  • Astronomy

What Unis:

  • York
  • Durham
  • St Andrews

Astrophysicists

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What You’ll Do:
A lot of R&D goes into the efforts towards going to space. However, just as much goes into breaking down what we find once we send people or things out there. To the astrobiologist’s “Is anybody out there?”, the astrophysicist is posed – “How do we find them?”.

What Courses:

  • Astrophysics
  • Astronomy
  • Physics

What Unis:

  • Cambridge
  • Oxford
  • Imperial College London

Technologists and Technicians

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What You’ll Do:
As you may have imagined, whether it is state-sponsored space programmes or private ones (of which there are increasing numbers), technical work is what holds the whole thing up – quite literally. The aerospace engineer designs the spacecraft, but you, the technician, is going to build it. The communications engineer builds communication systems, but you will be the one putting it into place.

What Courses:

Associates Degrees
or Polytechnic Degrees
or even Bachelor’s Degrees

  • in Engineering

What Unis:

  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • The University of Exeter
  • The Open University UK