6 Careers in Space Science (Plus Benefits and Skills)

What is the universe made of? Has there ever been life on Mars? What effects do humans have on the Earths environment? If youve ever asked yourself those types of questions, you have one of the defining traits of a scientist: curiosity!

Launching a space career
Occupation Typically needed to enter the occupation Typically needed to attain competency in the occupation
Education On-the-job training
Astronomers Doctoral or professional degree None
Atmospheric and space scientists Bachelor’s degree None
Physicists Doctoral or professional degree None


Benefits of jobs in space science

People in this field can develop, test and analyze hypotheses that help develop advanced technology for exploring space. Their jobs may allow them to share what they learn with the public or other scientists in their field, which can increase collaboration on and confirmation of a scientific theory.

Careers in space science can also provide the opportunity for professionals to expand their knowledge beyond their respective fields. For example, planetary geologists and climatologists might work together to gain insight into how a planets temperature may cause its structural composition to change in the future.

What is a career in space science?

A career in space science is a job in which an individual conducts research and analyzes data to study the planets, the solar system and other parts of the universe. These scientists interpret data to develop theories that advance collective knowledge and understanding of the universe. This field includes many types of sciences, including astronomy, physics and chemistry. Examples of space science professionals include astronauts, geologists, plasma physicists and climatologists.

6 fields with career opportunities in space studies

There are many sciences that have opportunities for studying space. Here are six types:

1. Astronomy

Astronomy is the study of the planets, stars and galaxies that make up the universe. People working in astronomy may study phenomena such as black holes or gravitational waves. Using equipment like telescopes, astronomers collect data to explain scientific concepts about the universe or develop new tools and technology. Examples of jobs in astronomy include:

2. Atmospheric science

Atmospheric science is the study of a planets atmosphere and how it affects the planets function. Scientists in this area evaluate and interpret data to understand how a planet may evolve. They use equipment and computer programs, such as satellites and graphics software, to collect this data and demonstrate their findings. Atmospheric scientists may study factors like the ozone layer or develop concepts like climate change. Examples of jobs in atmospheric science include:

3. Chemistry

Chemistry is the study of matter and the composition of planets and celestial objects. These scientists study atoms and molecules and analyze their interactions. They may use space probes to gather planetary information or telescopes to examine the composition of celestial objects. Examples of jobs in chemistry include:

4. Geology

Geology is the study of materials that comprise planets. These scientists may use data from satellites or rovers to analyze planets characteristics, such as their material structure and the physical processes that occur. Other professionals in this field may examine Earths characteristics by studying images taken in space. Examples of jobs in geology include:

5. Meteorology

Meteorology is the study of weather and climate on Earth and other planets. These scientists gather information to develop forecasts, which are reports that predict the conditions of the atmosphere at a specific time. They use computer programs, mathematical models or local data to conduct research and reach conclusions. Examples of jobs in meteorology include:

6. Physics

Physics is the study of the properties of matter, energy, space and time and how they interact. These scientists may develop hypotheses about natural properties and perform experiments to test those ideas. They can use telescopes or other instruments to study the properties of Earth or other parts of the universe. Examples of jobs in physics include:

Skills for careers in space science

Aside from technical knowledge, here are some helpful skills to develop if youre interested in space science:


Many scientific professions involve working with other team members on a project or experiment. Collaboration can lead to innovative ideas and increased productivity, allowing for more comprehensive research. Knowing how to work in a team shows you can work productively with others to accomplish shared goals.

Interpersonal skills

You use interpersonal skills to communicate and interact with others effectively. These skills, which include active listening, empathy and understanding body language, can help you explain complex topics in a clear, cohesive way. Interpersonal skills are helpful for jobs where youre expected to share your thoughts and discoveries with the public or other scientists.


Space science is an evolving field, and scientists are constantly conducting new research and developing theories to improve their understanding of the universe. For these reasons, adaptability is a key skill for anyone interested in space science. Adaptability means that youre able to adjust your beliefs and expectations based on new research or information.


Professionals in space science use their research to address problems and present answers. This can mean making adjustments quickly if the data being observed changes. Problem-solving skills, such as the ability to conduct research and make decisions, can help you identify potential solutions and implement strategies to find solutions. These skills show you can take action to achieve a goal.

Critical thinking

Many careers in space science focus on complex topics or ideas, so critical thinking is a valuable skill. Critical thinking, which may include analysis and observation, shows you can examine information thoroughly to understand a problem and reach a conclusion. This can be important for jobs that require data interpretation and application to develop findings in a larger context.


Because theres still much to learn about the universe, its important for anyone working in this area to have a curious mindset. This means youre an active learner. Curiosity leads scientists to ask questions and develop plausible theories, which is a critical focus of many jobs in space exploration.

Tips for pursuing roles in space science

If youre considering a career in space science, here are some tips:

Take STEM classes

Taking STEM classes—classes in science, technology, engineering and math—can help you develop a broad perspective on the different areas of space science. Taking a range of these classes can also help you determine which areas of space science you may wish to pursue.

Seek internships or volunteer opportunities

Consider applying for internships or volunteer opportunities related to space science. Search online for any businesses, organizations or museums that may provide you with relevant experience. Include these experiences on your resume to show future employers your passion for and commitment to space science.

Keep learning

There are many other ways to learn more about your field of interest. Read books, watch television shows or visit museums to expand your knowledge on the different sciences related to space. There may be extracurricular activities to encourage your interests, such as a chemistry club or space camp. These types of activities can introduce you to others interested in space science and provide valuable networking opportunities.


Is space science a good career?

Space exploration and related careers is an ever-expanding area with great potential for numerous future career specialisations. Evidently, all this will require a vast range of professional competencies like space technology, management, media skills, knowledge of physical and biological sciences, and more.

What should I study if I love space?

Astronomy is the study of the planets, stars, and all the other bodies that make up the universe. Once qualified, astronomers create theories to try and explain how the universe operates.

How do I start a career in space science?

10 tips on how to pursue a career in the space sector
  1. Take as many science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) classes as you can. …
  2. Find a field that you love. …
  3. Be prepared to study. …
  4. Become a space buff. …
  5. Get informed and get involved! …
  6. Volunteer. …
  7. Choose a work-study program. …
  8. Hone your English.

What is the field of science for space?

Astronomy – The general field of natural science concerned with celestial objects including Solar System, Galactic and Extragalactic objects. Most of the enrolled students in the field work in this overarching area.

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