What Do You Need to Study to Become an Astronaut

Floating in outer space may look like a cool thing to do, but it’s going to take a lot more than imagination to get you up there. An astronaut is a scientist, a pilot, a computer programmer, a fitness freak and a whole lot more. You need a good understanding of Astrophysics but you also need to know about basic human biology to survive in outer space. Here we take a look at some of the interesting things that a student should be studying in order to become an astronaut at a later date.


It is the branch of astronomy concerned with the physical nature of stars and other celestial bodies. This branch of astronomy deals with the application of laws and theories involving the interpretation of astronomical observations. Basically speaking, you’re studying the stars for their light, energy, physical movements, chemical reactions and any other property that comes up. What can you do right now? Pick up star gazing. Learn the map of the skies. Find out about the different celestial bodies and how they come together to form the solar system, the galaxy and more.

Aviation and Electronics

You want to be that suited astronaut flying a space shuttle? Well, you better know the basics of flight and that comes under aviation. You will be required to understand exactly how you are flying out into space. Most astronauts are experienced jet plane pilots with at least a thousand hours of flying under their belts. You need to enjoy studying electronics that deals with engines, radios, gyroscopes and more. After all you need to know how to fix your machine if it develops a problem out in space. You can’t wait to be towed to a service station.

Biology and Life Sciences

A large number of experiments that are conducted in space are related to how living beings flourish under the more hostile conditions of outer space. This means that you could be handling anything from microscopic bacteria to plants in a special soil mix. Recording reactions of various living organisms as they adapt to the living conditions. Needless to say, you need to study the basics of biology that helps you understand what you will be experimenting on.

Computer Sciences and Math

As glamorous as being an astronaut may sound, there is a lot of hard work and toil involved in becoming one. Regular studies of computer sciences and mathematics is pretty much compulsory for working in this field. You need to make calculations in aviation, temperature control, handling food supplies, and even programming the level of gravity you need to enforce in the space ship. In short, you need to be clued up on your computer programming as well as math in order to survive as an astronaut.

NASA receives thousands of applications each year from hopefuls and can only take in about a hundred people into their programs each year. There is a lot of competition and this means you not only need to be qualified well, you also need to excel at what you do in order to be considered for their astronaut training programs.

In fact, here’s a letter NASA received from a 9 year old about applying for the position of a Planetary Protection Officer:

“Dear NASA,

My name is Jack Davis and I would like to apply for the planetary protection officer job. I may be nine but I think I would be fit for the job. One of the reasons is my sister says I am an alien. Also, I have seen almost all the space movies and alien movies I can see. I have also seen the show Marvel Agents of Shield and hope to see the movie Men in Black. I am great at vidieo [sic] games. I am young, so I can learn to think like an alien.

Jack Davis
Guardian of the Galaxy
Fourth Grade”

“Dear Jack,

I hear you are a ‘Guardian of the Galaxy’ and that you’re interested in being a NASA Planetary Protection Officer. That’s great!

Our Planetary Protection Officer position is really cool and is very important work. It’s about protecting Earth from tiny microbes when we bring back samples from the Moon, asteroids and Mars. It’s also about protecting other planets and moons from our germs as we responsibly explore the Solar System.

We are always looking for bright future scientists and engineers to help us, so I hope you will study hard and do well in school. We hope to see you here at NASA one of these days!

Dr. James L. Green
Director, Planetary Science Division”

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