What is The Study?
Looking at the image alone will make someone think that the unknown subject we're about to discuss is astronomy or something to do with the Astros. Though this is true, you may be in for something far more interesting. We know the common subjects, right? Well if you do not, take a look at the list below.
Biology & Chemistry
How it works is, there is usually some type of biology mixed with another subject making it an interdisciplinary subject(i.e. astrophysics, biochemistry, etc.). The subjects listed above are very common studies we are most familiar with. However, what if I told you that there's something called Astrobiology? Well, you may be just as puzzled as I was when I first stumbled across this. For anyone that knows me knows that I have a deep obsession with the origin of life topics and theoretical/philosophical ideas for life.
relating to more than one branch of knowledge. "an interdisciplinary research program"
The main issue I had with my obsession was trying to correlate it to a specific topic. Do I go and study the route of biochemistry? Is it molecular biology? Do I study religion? Well, I believe my questions have been answered with my new discovery. The subjects listed are always great to learn, but I was looking for something that would be up my alley.
What is Astrobiology?
So I've boosted the topic up enough. So what exactly is astrobiology? Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary subject concerned with the study of life on both Earth and Space; this is a simple and broad definition. Though broad, astrobiology offers many topics within the study. Astrobiology discusses and asks:
How life may have emerged on Earth.
What is life like on other exoplanets? Is there life or not? If there is other life how did they come to be? If we are alone, then what makes us so special?
Concerned with the future of life in the universe based on contingent events.
Studies of early evolution.
How does life survive in extreme environments?
What Does It Take To Become An Astrobiologist?
To no surprise, you are going to need a degree to become an astrobiologist. There are not too many programs out there that offer graduate or undergraduate degrees in astrobiology... However, NASA has compiled a list that may be some help to point you in the right direction. Astrobiology is relatively new to interdisciplinary studies when compared to other subjects, so it is imperative to learn about astrobiology and see if it is for you first.
1. Though it is new, you may always get a head start with some courses or get familiar with some groups that are researching in the field as well. You may receive your degree in any of the topics shown in the picture above to begin.
2. The most important part would be to participate in some type of graduate work and build a community of others who are excited about astrobiology as much as you are.
3. And like that... you are an astrobiologist. Of course, there is a lot of work that goes into this all. I highly recommend visiting NASA's Astrobiology section for a more in-depth look at this. I just wanted to do my part and share with people another path they may want to take in their scientific careers!
Next Will Be A Theoretical Biologist...What's That?
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