Careers in planetary exploration

Want to work in space? You don’t have to be an astronaut!

Planetary exploration is a dynamic, exciting field that employs around 5000 scientists and engineers across Europe and has inspired many more young people to consider a career in STEM. Europlanet strongly supports opportunities for young people to build careers in both industry and research relating to planetary exploration. So, whether you want to be part of the team constructing Europe’s next mission to Jupiter’s icy moons, to investigate the origins of the solar system or to study the most extreme forms of life on Earth, there’s a role out there for you!

Careers in the Space Sector

Europe’s space industry employs nearly 40,000 people. Whether you want to build satellites, make discoveries about our solar system, develop new launch systems or help aid agencies reach a disaster zone, the space sector has career opportunities for a wide range of skills and interests. Space involves international collaborations, so a job in this area can mean working with researchers, space agencies and industry all around the world.

Many jobs in the space sector require a degree and a PhD, especially for research. On the engineering side, you may be able to follow a vocational training route. However, becoming a scientist or engineer isn’t the only path to a career in space. Europe’s space industry employs a huge variety of people and professions, from writers to doctors, artists to accountants, and social media managers to lawyers.

What should I study at school?

Science and mathematics are a good place to start, but space covers a broad range of subjects. Some of the fastest growing areas of space research are at the intersection of different disciplines, such as astrobiology, astrochemistry and planetary geology

Space is an international endeavour, so learning different languages can also be an advantage. Team work, written and spoken communications and problem solving are also important skills.

Where can I find out more?

Space Awareness offers information about the numberous career opportunities offered by space, including videos and webinars with space researchers and engineers.

The European Space Agency (ESA) website includes information about working at ESA and programmes to support young people who want to follow a career in space, including the Young Graduate Trainee programme and student internships. offers careers resources, job profiles and information (not just for jobs in the UK):

Download Europlanet Space Careers info sheet