I’m learning about Space. What careers are relevant to this area of physics?

  • Helena Kudiabor
  • Jul 13 2023

Learning about the planets and the solar system is incredibly fascinating, and there are a range of career opportunities within the area of physics.


What will I learn about space in my physics lessons?

Per the UK national curriculum, students studying Physics at KS4 level can expect to learn about the main features of the solar system. Exact topics may vary depending on the exam board, but most students will learn about: the classification of planets within the solar system, the name of our galaxy and our place within it, the lifecycle of a star, and the expansion of the universe.

Space System Engineer 

A career as a space system engineer allows you to design a spacecraft: from the initial prototypes to its eventual launch. You’ll create initial models of the spacecraft through its early design spaces, then carefully design and integrate all the different parts. Then, to ensure the spacecraft works smoothly, it’ll be tested both on the ground and in orbit. As issues appear, you’ll fix them and refine the design to specifications. Once the spacecraft is complete, you get to see it launch. Although you’ll typically be working with spacecraft, you’ll also have the opportunity to construct missiles, satellites and rockets! 

Planetary Geologist

Planetary geologists study the past, present and future of planets, moons, asteroids and comets. They study how objects in the solar system formed, how they interact with each other, and how they have evolved over time. The research they complete allows geologists to understand the origin and history of space, and make predictions about what could exist. Some topics planetary geologists have studied include: whether life exists on other planets or whether there is water on the moon. 

Science Museum Curator

As a museum curator, you’ll manage artefacts, ensuring that the collections are as engaging as possible for visitors. You could work in a science museum, or a planetarium if there’s one near you. You’ll ensure that the items available are good quality, and are looked after well, and will also seek to acquire new pieces. Typical responsibilities include: organising and presenting exhibitions and lectures, carrying out research and cataloguing items, and liaising with management boards and governments to secure the necessary funding. It’s an exciting career path, with the chance to handle historical artefacts, and teach the public about the wonders of science.