Hello Junior Astronaut! You know what they say: study hard, and you can become anything you want. And we all know that you want to become an astronaut.
But woah, woah, woah, not so fast. The trip to space is paved with lots of hard work, and you’d better put in the effort. Because stepping on the International Space Station or taking part in revolutionary space-missions requires lots of knowledge.
In this post, we’ll tell you precisely what you can study to become an astronaut, so maybe by the end of it, you’ll set your heart on a career. And even if you don’t, who says you have to make up your mind now? Learn a bit of everything and decide later on.
What to study in elementary, middle school, and high school
If you want to study your way to space, you need to start early by understanding the basic principles about how the world works. In short, you’ll need to love STEM subjects or have a crush on biology or chemistry.
Why? Well, because science, technology, engineering, and maths are the subjects that have made space exploration possible. It goes without saying that you should, at least, get familiar with them.
But suppose that numbers are not your thing. Luckily, you have two more options: biology or chemistry. Both are essential to space travel, making it possible for humans to take on zero-gravity challenges and even conduct novel experiments.
What to study in college
Suppose you got an early start and played around with biology, chemistry, or STEM subjects in your primary school years. In that case, you’ll be ready for a bachelor’s degree that can help you become an astronaut.
However, not all STEM-related degrees can get you to space. Here are the top 5 that are required by space agencies.
Sounds super-exciting, right? Because it is! Astrophysics is a broad subject that covers physics, chemistry, math, and cosmology. In essence, astrophysicists get to understand how the universe works, how it began and evolved.
That being said, to study astrophysics, you need to be an ace-of-everything-space. You have to be super-sure of your math skills, but also fearless in your curiosity. After all, your task will be to unravel the mysteries of the universe.
So, if you have a courageous mind that dares to come up with unheard-of ideas, this might be the space-path for you.
If you want to be that astronaut who knows everything about the spaceship they’re in, engineering is for you. If you decide to follow this path, you’ll build practical skills that will solve real-life problems. Plus, you’ll also get to develop innovation skills, and design abilities second to none.
In more fantastic news, engineers make up a significant proportion of astronauts. Buzz Aldrin, the moon-famous astronaut, was an engineer, so you have big astronaut boots to fill in.
Biochemistry is another cool subject to study if you aim to become an astronaut. Why? Because without biochemistry, putting people in space would not be possible. The reason is simple: for our bodies to face the challenging space-environment, we need a specialist. Here’s where biochemists step in, caring for the wellbeing of all astronauts.
Biochemists are space-doctors who know everything about the body, how it functions, and how it can thrive in even the most scarce environment. So, if you decide to study biochemistry, you’ll learn everything about living organisms and how cells communicate. This way, you’ll be able to recognise not only how to care for human life, but how to approach alien life if — or when — you find it.
Few things can be more exciting than flight science! If you’re passionate about space, you’re probably also curious about how to get there — literally. So, studying aeronautics will give you a pretty solid idea of how air travel works.
From aerodynamics to propulsion theory, you’ll learn everything about building a spacecraft and how to operate one. Keep in mind that aeronautics is closely tied to physics and maths. It’s always a plus to have computer science knowledge.
Knowing what planets are made of and how they formed will give you an upper hand as an astronaut. Since space exploration is all about discovering new space objects, geology is essential to astronomy.
As a geologist, you’ll be in charge of collecting and analysing samples from foreign planets, for example. If we are ever to colonise Mars, geologists will play a crucial role in paving the path there.
Study hard, train harder
So there you have it, the top 5 subjects you could study to become an astronaut. But be prepared to make a long-term commitment to learning, because most astronauts have master’s degrees and even PHDs.
Plus, know that studying won’t be enough. To become an astronaut, you’ll also have to be in tip-top physical condition and meet some pretty strict requirements. So eat your greens, drink your water, and skip that junk food whenever possible. You have more delicious things to chew on.
Oh, and if you're ready to taste the astronaut life right now, check out our awesome Junior Programmes and hop on board!