India as a country has been obsessed with Engineering and Science for a long time, and it can be witnessed by the number of engineers that are produced every year. However, experts suggest that the field is not limited to a specific domain of study and require authentic curiosity to pave a career path in space explorations.
“The perception towards a space programme or space agency is skewed and the perception is that we only need engineers. But, the reality is way different as the programmes are multidisciplinary and require the participation of professionals from various domains including design, gaming and medicine. Blurring boundaries and gradients push innovation and education systems across the globe should teach students to accept failure,” says Jennifer Blank, scientist, NASA Ames Research Centre, USA.
Jonathan Clarke, president of Mars Society, Australia, says that Space Studies is not something one can pursue while sitting in an office. “In Apollo 11 mission, 12 people walked on the moon but thousands of people worked towards making the mission successful. The role of origami artists is unimaginable in a space programme, but they have a crucial contribution to make towards how the spaceship will unfold itself in space after the launch. Similarly, it is important to focus on different job roles while exploring a career in space as the domain is more than just Engineering and Sciences,” adds Clarke, on the sidelines of the International Seminar on Space Explorations Challenges by Amity University, Noida.
A career in space has still not made it to the list of mainstream career choices opted by Indian youth as there is a lack of awareness regarding job roles. “It is the responsibility of scientists and teachers to bring the domain of space into mainstream careers. Astrobiology, which is the study of life in the universe, is a field that is in its nascent stage in India because of lack of awareness. As ISRO is expanding and small companies are shooting up because of industry requirements, opportunities for Indians to have a career in space are going to increase remarkably in the forthcoming decade,” says Siddharth Pandey, research scientist, Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, USA and head of newly-established Centre of Excellence in Astrobiology, Amity University, Mumbai.
“Students should carefully participate in symposiums and conferences while building a strong foundation of basic subjects. Also, students should not hesitate to contact people directly, they must send as many emails as possible to reach out to relevant people in the space industry,” adds Pandey.