Interested to start career in Planetary Science or just want to know about planetary science for the future career reference.
But you don’t know where to start. No worries, findcareerinfo introduce you every possible detail regarding planetary science. Which is required for you to know before deciding this career path.
Hey, are you that guy who is looking into the sky and get astonished to see the stars and moon (stargazing). And ask yourself how they work and comes to the origin and just want to know more about that.
If you are that fascinated guy, who wants to know more about planets, solar system, galaxies, stars and the mysteries of the Universe then planetology might be a right career option for you.
Don’t take me, wrong guys, that does not mean if you are not looking at the sky; you are not the right fit to start career in planetary science. We are living in the world where anybody can become anything if he/she has the right guidance and good knowledge.
Here’s how I am going to make it easy for you to determine. Is Planetary Science (Planetology) an appropriate career option for me or not?
You will get to know! About these things…
- What is the education required to start a career in planetary science?
- Job description of a planetary scientist
- Career scope in the Planetology and how you can become the part this ambitious career.
- What are the skills possessed by a planetary scientist?
- Which are the tools and instruments uses for exploring the deadly dark space?
What is Planetary Science all about?
In our school days, we all hear about the Astronauts (Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin), who goes into space and moon. And every child has a fantasy to become an Astronaut (Yah! I also had). So I will be using this reference to define the meaning of planetary science.
Planetary Science comes under the branch of astronomy that deals with the complex structure of the planets. And provide the information to the Astronauts before going into the dark space.
Planetary science gives the answer to the planets related queries, such as…
- How a planet comes to origin?
- How the Earth and other planets have gradually evolved since their composition 4.54 billion years ago?
- What are the possible elements (Cosmic Dust- contains gases, chemicals, materials etc.) behind the formation and evolution of planets?
- How a planet and their satellite work?
- What are the similarities and differences in between two astronomical objects? (like our Earth is a unique place where life forms as compare to other planets in our solar system)
- Is in the dark space any other planets same as Earth, where lives or could be possible?
- What are the governing laws of planets that play a vital role in the survival of any planet?
- What causes seasons on Earth? [Summer-to-Spring-to-Winter-to-Autumn-to-Summer]
Celestial Objects in the Universe
Other than the above mysteries planetary science also explain about the origin and evolution of these celestial objects (astronomical objects)
- Comets and dust
- Dwarf Planets
A Planetary body that is neither a planet nor a natural satellite (like our moon) is called by astronomers as Dwarf Planet.
Planetary Body/ Planetary-Mass Object (PMO): An Object named under the category of PMO when their mass and weight are equivalent appears to the existing planets.
- Exoplanet/ Extrasolar planet: A planet outside of our solar system
- Asteroid belt
- Kuiper belt / Edgeworth–Kuiper belt
A planetary scientist does researches on how a planet or any astronomical objects come into existence and what could be a possible reason behind the destruction.
Do you Know? Mars is the most studied planet other than Earth.
Eventually, in a single sentence you can say that;
“Planetary Science study starts from the core of the Earth and ends into the furthest galaxies”
Is not that interesting! To study the universe amazing things and know about the history, composition, formation, evolution and interrelation of the astronomical objects.
Beginner’s guide to step forward in the field of Astronomy
If you are passionate about the planetary science and want to become part of the astronomy club.
You need these stuff (Instruments) for stargazing.
- Terrestrial Telescope
- Star Chart Planisphere
- Red LED flashlight
- Barlow lens (Doubler)
- Moon filter
You can watch this video to get some overview about the telescope; additionally, it will help you to choose your first telescope.
This practice helps you a lot to start career in planetary science as well as in your entire career. You will get the basic overview of the astronomy. And it will help you to keep motivated in your choosing career path.
This stargazing hobby of yours gives you extraordinary feeling when you first saw the whole new world above the sky with yourself.
Before engaging in stargazing. You need to take some precaution for better observation.
- Elude the light objects (Darker the place better the views)
- Clear Sky (bad weather could ruin your stargazing)
- Pollution free place (Avoid Light pollution)
- Avoid using mobiles while doing night observation
Prerequisite (Before Start career in Planetary Science)
If you are in a high school and want to become Planet taker (Planetary Scientist). Then you should have to consider these two subjects
Strong these two subject because these two subjects will help you in your entire career as a planetary scientist.
Tips: I highly recommend you to strengthen your mathematics before start career in Planetary Science.
If, you are not good at the above two mention subjects. Then you have two choices, select either of one.
 Strong these subjects
 Do not start career in planetary science or any related field of astronomy. You will not fit in that career option. Find another career path, in which you are good at and feel enjoyable.
You can try the following career options
These careers don’t require the above prerequisites to be a success. Always select a career based on your interest level not by the popularities or any other factors.
Education requirement to start career in Planetary Science
Education 1 (Mandate): You must have completed your high school from science stream [Subjects must have: Biology, Chemistry, Maths] to move further on planetary science career paths.
Education 2 (Mandate): Bachelor’s Degree
For the entry-level jobs, you must have at least bachelor’s degree in planetary science, Earth & Planetary Science, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Geology, Biology or any engineering discipline.
Tips: The best way is to start doing jobs in the planetary science after complete your PhD.
Note: Many Universities give combine option of Master’s + PhD. So you can enrol in such types of programs after complete your bachelors. It will save your time.
Education 3 (Mandate+Optional): Master’s + PhD
You can do your Masters + PhD in Planetary Science, Astrophysics, Geochemistry, Astronomy, Earth Science, Geophysics and Space Instrumentation.
Higher the education ∝ (directly proportional to) more opportunities
In this career options, you need lots of patience and keep going and on to become a planetary scientist. Because to study planetary science you have to spend lots of your time (PhD), to become a planetary scientist.
Therefore to pursue this career you have to be passionate about this field. Because it is your passion which helps you to keep track of the planetary science career.
Even after complete your PhD and start doing the job. You need the patience to observe the astronomical phenomenon to collect the right data.
Do you Know? A scientist spends their time in years (1 to 10 years) for a single project. So be prepared to face the time challenge.
Planetary Scientist Skills set
- Advanced Mathematics: Runge-Kutta method, Complex Variables, Differential equations, Special functions, Laplace Transform and Fourier transform etc.
- Life Science
- Observing and Analysing
- Orbital Mechanics and Rotational parameters
- Surveying and field sampling
- Optical design and wave optics
- Image Science
- Astrophysical Concepts
- Catoptric and Dioptric systems
- Oort Cloud/ Öpik–Oort cloud
- Government Laws and regulations on Environment
- Complex problem-solving ability
- Programming Language: C, C++ and FORTRAN, MATLAB and IDL (Interactive Data Language)
Programming skills are not a necessary skill to start career in planetary science. However, if you know these languages, it will give you more opportunities than rest of the job applicants.
Tips: If you want to learn programming language then choose the easiest one to learn. I would suggest C.
Tools/Instruments to observe astronomical objects and phenomena that occur in the Universe
- Telescope: Refractors and Reflectors telescope
- Radio telescope
- Infrared telescope
- Gama ray telescope
- Earth-Orbital Satellite telescope
- Planetary Rover
- Atmospheric radiative transfer codes or simulator (ARTS)
- For technical documentations- Mathematica, LaTeX, Texmaker, MiKTeX
You can see this video to know what type of balloons a planetary scientist uses
Planetary Scientist Job Description
- Planetology Scientist highlights the issues that are a danger to our existence. For example, they light the threat of the use of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) that destruct our Ozone (O3) layer. Thanks to them now our Ozone layer is safe and start healing itself.
- Researchers often become involved in developing new and better exploring deadly dark space tools and instruments.
- Study and observe the properties of planetary bodies such as atmospheres, surfaces and interiors of planets.
- How the changes on one planet affect the others in the Universe.
- Work on many projects to protect our incredibly exceptional planet Earth
- Prediction and monitoring of natural hazards such as river floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and many natural disasters.
- Study the origin, dynamics and evolution of the celestial objects. A planetary scientist studies about the past, present and future of the heavenly bodies.
- Calculate the percentage of Greenhouse gases [water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide(CO2), methane(CH3), nitrous oxide(N2O), ozone(O3), Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Hydrofluorocarbons (HCFCs and HFCs)]. And take the immediate actions, if the composition of these gases break the threshold and harm the earth environment.
- Observe, analyse and illustrate the calculated information of celestial objects. A scientist spends too much time on a single object to calculate the correct data.
- Search for the asteroids (astronomical objects) and determine the physical characteristics of asteroids that may be catastrophic to Earth.
- Observe the motions (both real and apparent movements), dimensions, masses, and surface feature of planets and their natural satellite.
Planetary Science Projects and Missions
If you want to comprehend the job roles of a planetary scientist in more details with real-time projects you can refer these projects. These projects currently running and active. You can also check some previous and upcoming missions.
So from these projects, you can understand, In which type of project a planetary scientist could be part of
Click Here for Project Link1
Click Here for Project Link2
“Planetary science is necessarily an observational science rather than an experimental one”
Planetary science career options
After completing your education in planetary science, you can decide to go into many professions based on your interest level.
- Planetary Scientist
- Environmental Consulatant
- Petroleum Scientist
Most of the Planetary Scientist are professors in the universities and doing work for the industries and observatories.
Click Here to check the list of astronomical observatories.
Job Opportunities & Career Prospects in Planetary Science
From the beginning of time, we humans want to know about the existence of life; how it will come to earth? And why the Earth is the unique and exceptional planetary bodies over the many galaxies who consist life.
So the planetary scientists are in search for that ‘exceptionally lucky’ reason; and trying to find the answers.
And in the further time as technological advancement is increasing with high speed. That is also possible we are also trying for the search of our exceptional existence more and more.
So we need many skilled planetary scientists, who will help to find the exceptional life cycle on the earth.
It is the best time to start career in planetary science. Because currently, many types of research and projects are going on trying to find the many answers.
Companies and organisations like SpaceX and NASA announce a project, to give space tour of the normal public (non-astronaut). So in the few years, we (rich-people) can make a vacation trip to space.
And it might be also possible to tour the other planets in our solar system. Therefore, companies will need many planetary scientists to research on the other planets atmosphere, gases, structure, surfaces, interior (Inner and Outer) to ensure the safety to go there.
And I don’t think these ambitious missions and projects are going to slow down anytime soon.
So if you are the person who is interested to know the above all the questions by yourself. And want to solve the mysteries of the Planets and other celestial objects. Then you are the right fit for this overwhelming and highly ambitious career.
I hope you get energized to know that much about a career in planetary science. It is very true, planetary science is among one of the highly ambitious career options.