How many types, branches of jobs there NASA
Every two years, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) solicits applications for its astronaut candidate program.
Appropriate to its inception in the Cold War, NASA’s astronaut program originally targeted the best and brightest pilots in the U.S. military, among them naval aviator Scott Carpenter and fellow Marine John Glenn. Astronauts have since been drawn from more diverse civilian communities like engineers, scientists and educators, but the military remains an important source of candidates.
Current astronaut candidates in the military retain their rank and service obligations while assigned to the Lyndon Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, for a five-year tour.
Although post-baccalaureate degrees are preferred, NASA wants astronauts with at least a bachelor’s degree – specifically one focused on engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics.
They also don’t want new graduates: Prospective astronauts must have at least three years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience. although a master’s degree can replace one year, and a doctoral three years, of that requirement.
Shuttle pilots and commanders also need a minimum of 1,000 hours of experience as a pilot-in-command.
Also, any candidate – military or civilian – must pass a NASA space physical and meet specific height and weight requirements.
Like other personnel hoping to qualify for space travel, astronauts need to have normal color vision (no colorblindness), hearing and equilibrium. They should have no history of chronic migraines, epilepsy, or psychological conditions such as claustrophobia.
If you have a condition that requires medications that may affect alertness or judgment, you’re likely precluded from becoming an astronaut.
Candidates must also pass a background check with eligibility for at least a Secret-level security clearance. Although not required, high school work in physics, geometry, trigonometry, algebra, and computer science are all considered helpful primers
Astronaut candidates must also pass a background check with eligibility for at least a secret-level security clearance. This involves an in-depth background check of character and finances, and a history of drug use or alcohol abuse may be disqualifying.
And although not required, high school work in physics, geometry, trigonometry, algebra and computer science are all considered helpful primers
Military Requirements for Astronauts
In general, military astronaut candidates are U.S. citizens and commissioned officers with at least five years of active duty service.
In addition to NASA’s degree requirements, Army and Marine Corps regulations also list degrees that aren’t acceptable, including:
- Medical technology
- Psychology (unless clinical, physiological, or experimental)
- Exercise physiology
- Social sciences
All NASA hopefuls apply through federal recruiting hub USAJobs, but military candidates also forward the application through their chain of command.
Even though NASA sees the application right away, the services each have a say in the process through a selection board – the same kind of headquarters committee that decides promotions. The Marine Corps, however, dropped the selection board in April 2012, figuring NASA knew best how to pick an astronaut.
Career Outlook for Astronauts
Getting into the astronaut program through the military is a worthy goal, but it requires a lot of patience, foresight, and dedication. And with no guarantees of the future of the space program, there may be a lot of uncertainty about what jobs will be available to trained astronauts, and when.
And we can categorize into 17 branches of astronomy.
Astrophysics applies the principles of physics to astronomy. Akin with geophysics which studies Earth’s physics, astrophysics relates physical processes and properties to stars, celestial bodies, and its surrounding space.
Cosmology is different from astrophysics because it studies the evolution and expansion of the universe. For example, cosmologists study red-shift to see how fast the universe is expanding.
Spectroscopy studies how light reflects, absorbs, and transfers between matter. In a similar manner, photometry examines how luminous astronomical objects are in space based on electromagnetic radiation properties.
Asteroseismology is closely related to helioseismology. They both study the internal structure of stars by measuring radiation and oscillations. But helioseismology is specific to our sun.
Finally, heliophysics studies the sun’s constant and dynamic radiation that affects its surroundings in space. There have been various heliophysics missions to study space weather, solar flares, and the constant stream of solar particles from the sun.
- ASTROPHYSICS – How the laws of physics apply to stars and celestial bodies.
- COSMOLOGY – How the universe was created, evolves and its ultimate fate.
- SPECTROSCOPY – How light reflects, absorbs and transfers between matter.
- PHOTOMETRY – How luminous astronomical objects are in space based on electromagnetic radiation.
- HELIOPHYSICS – How the sun’s constant and dynamic radiation affects its surroundings in space.
- HELIOSEISMOLOGY – How the interior structure and dynamics of stars are composed by observing waves from its surface.
- ASTEROSEISMOLOGY – How to study the internal structure of stars from observing their oscillations.
READ MORE: Astrophysics Courses Online
Instead of the physics that drives motion in space, astrometry focuses on the precise position of celestial bodies. It also provides a frame of reference for the movement of stars and individual objects in space.
On a similar note, exoplanetology inventories how many and where planets exist outside of our solar system. This inventory of planets lists all potential residences for new life outside of Earth
Planetary science (planetology) is concerned with how planets form in the solar system including their composition and dynamics in history. This subject is tied closely to planetary geology.
- ASTROMETRY – How celestial bodies are positioned and move in space.
- PLANETOLOGY – How planets form in the solar systems including their composition and dynamics in history.
- EXOPLANETOLOGY – How many and where planets exist outside our solar system.
READ MORE: Astronomy Courses Online
When the Mars Rover started wheeling around the red planet, its crosshairs were targeting the rocks and geology of Mars. Specifically, it was getting a close-up of the composition or areology of Mars.
READ MORE: 15 Facts About Mars: The Remarkable Red Planet [Infographic]
Astrogeology is very closely related to exogeology. They both focus on how geology relates to celestial bodies like moons, asteroids, meteorites, and comets.
Lastly, selenography studies the physical features of the moon. For example, it understands and catalogs features such as lunar maria, craters, and mountain ranges on the moon.
- ASTROGEOLOGY – How geology relates to celestial bodies like moons, asteroids, meteorites and comets.
- AREOLOGY – How geology is composed on Mars.
- SELENOGRAPHY – How physical features on the moon formed such as lunar maria, craters and mountain ranges.
- EXOGEOLOGY – How geology relates to celestial bodies like moons, asteroids, meteorites and comets.
READ MORE: Geology Courses Online
Astrobiology involves the search for life outside Earth. It also asks the questions: What is the origin and evolution of life? Is there life on other planets? Which environments can support life?
If you want to measure the probability of life in space, exobiology considers planetary conditions for life. For example, exobiology also understands the early evolution of life and the biological/environmental factors to advance life.
Lastly, astrobiology pulls from astrochemistry to better understand substances in celestial bodies, stars, and interstellar space. Observing molecules in space gives a solid indication of the physical conditions of what we are used to on present-day Earth.
- ASTROBIOLOGY -How life (including extraterrestrials) in the universe evolved, originated and what will be its fate.
- EXOBIOLOGY – How likely and where is life in space.
- ASTROCHEMISTRY – How to study substances in celestial bodies, stars and interstellar space
1. NASA Astrophysics
The NASA Astrophysics division finds our place in the universe. Specifically, it studies everything from dark energy, dark matter, black holes, the Big Bang, types of galaxies, stars and exoplanets.
Find out more on the official NASA astrophysics website.
2. The searchable astronomical database
The searchable astronomical database helps you orientate in the sky. It assists in organizing and making searchable all the world’s astronomical information. First, you submit an image of the sky. Next, it will return known objects that fall inside the view.