Do-It-Yourself Podcast: Exploration Careers

Exploration Careers Resources

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STEM Disciplines Legend

S in a blue block denoting Science standards-- Science

T in a blue block denoting Technology standards -- Technology

E in a blue block denoting Engineering standards -- Engineering

M in a blue block denoting Mathematics standards -- Mathematics

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In This Module

Two people dressed in spacesuits work in the desertWith this DIY Podcast module, you can build a multimedia project to help plan your future. Human resource specialists are the people who hire new employees and assist in selecting college students for internship programs. In this module, the human resource specialists give advice on how to interview well and find the job you want. NASA scientists and engineers share how they came to NASA, their educational backgrounds and some of the best things they do on their jobs.

This module has clips from the following NASA personnel:

  • An assistant human resources manager.
  • A director of an internship program.
  • Two materials engineers.
  • An astronaut who has been to space three times; his total time spent there was more than a year.
  • An assistant program scientist for the International Space Station.
  • A research scientist who plans experiments for the space station.
  • A microbiologist who helped develop the water recycling system used on the station.

E in a blue block denoting Engineering standards T in a blue block denoting Technology standards S in a blue block denoting Science standards

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Exploration Careers Background Information

What will it take for humans to continue to explore the universe? We have a space station orbiting Earth. People have landed on the moon. Now it's time to go beyond where we already have been. Even though the Space Shuttle Program has ended, NASA continues to develop new technology and spacecraft to continue the mission to explore.

Right now, people are living on the International Space Station. The station is a test bed for future exploration. This means that it is a place to practice using technology for missions beyond Earth orbit.

One of NASA's current goals is for humans to land on Mars. To accomplish this goal, NASA will need new vehicles, better ways to protect humans from radiation, better life support systems, and other improved or new technologies.

NASA Needs You
NASA will need to hire people with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, to reach its exploration goal. Astronauts will not be the only people that NASA will hire. Exploring the solar system means NASA will need scientists to help plan the missions; engineers to design rockets and spacecraft; mathematicians to plan the flight paths; technicians to build and equip vehicles; and physicians and nutritionists to plan for astronauts' health and well-being. These are only some of the positions that will make up the team required for humans to explore beyond Earth. But 60 percent of NASA's career positions are engineering and scientific jobs.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden described the workforce that NASA needs in a speech given on June 6, 2012.

In closing, I want to speak directly to the young people in the audience. The work we do at NASA every day is focused on revealing the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind. NASA needs you to fulfill that vision. We need engineers to help us design the new rockets and capsules that will take us farther into the solar system than we’ve ever been. We need scientists and researchers to help us develop materials to withstand the stresses of deep space exploration; to sustain humans for long-duration stays in space; to make air transportation quicker, safer and more efficient; and to aid us in our quest to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos and learn more about our own planet. As NASA takes its next great leap into deep space exploration, we are determined that American workers and American companies lead the way. That means you! NASA needs you! America needs you! You are the keys to growing our economy, strengthening our nation’s competitive edge and winning the future. It all begins with STEM. So my message to you is simple: Get with it in the classroom! Stay with it no matter how tough it gets; and keep preparing yourselves to take your rightful place as the next great generation of American engineers, scientists and innovators.

This excerpt is from Administrator Bolden's speech at Blastoff: Encouraging Young People to Enter and Stay in the STEM Fields.
There's Space for You
NASA employees have diverse backgrounds; they graduate from different schools. Many have bachelor's degrees, which are four- or five-year degrees from a college or university. Some have master's degrees. These are called graduate degrees because the student has already graduated from college when he or she begins working on the higher-level, master's degree. Those who want to learn even more about a subject can work toward a doctoral degree, which is usually a Ph.D. Many people at NASA have these and other advanced degrees.

Even if you are still in school, you can be involved with NASA right now. The Current Opportunities for Students page lists ways to participate with NASA. Whether you are in middle school, high school or college, you can do something now. There's space for you at NASA.
More About Exploration Careers
› Student Career Sites
› In Their Own Words -- Astronaut Videos
› Interview With Leland Melvin
› NASA's Pathways Program
› Human Exploration Homepage


Page Last Updated: July 23rd, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Education