NASA Life Science Jobs For Indian – International Candidates
We have learned and conquered so many domains in life, but we are yet to learn about the true beauty and dynamicity of the space. There are so many aspects, which till date remain unknown. Very recently the image of the Blackhole was published, and it led to awe in so many researchers, as it gave rest to the many circulating assumptions about the phenomena. There is so much going on out there. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an independent agency of the United States, plays a huge part in debunking the mystery. Established in 1958, it has accomplished many itineraries like the Apollo Moon Landing, Skylab Space Station and supporting the International Space Station. These brilliant young minds have come together from various nations and have set their focus to lead in space exploration.
Who does not want to work at NASA? It’s like a dream right? It can be a reality if you fulfill the below criteria for studying or Working at NASA after a degree in Life Science. This article focuses on NASA Life Science Jobs For Indian – International Candidates.
Educational Qualification Required for Life Science Job at NASA:
Depending on your domain of interest you may choose from Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology and Computer Science. There are various aspects to every mission. Firstly, there has to be a design to technology, wherein Physics steps in. Secondly, the material used in outer space will have very different chemistry observed as compared to Earth. Thirdly, the laws of Physics and Maths are not the same everywhere in the Universe. Fourthly, the microbiome outside (whether or not it exists and what is its nature) is not yet understood. And last but not least, we all know that our planet and its resources have longevity, which is why we are trying to develop these resources in outer space and neighboring planets and galaxies. So one must know their science very accurately!
For grabbing a NASA Life Science Job, Indians will have to acquire special skills & knowledge not taught at the college or Lab level. It can be achieved via individual research done on the web via going through as many research papers possible, published in the field of your interest.
Life Science Fields at NASA
NASA is not only about astronauts shooting into space. There are many aspects and career domains within it. Let us focus on the field of life sciences @ NASA. There are many opportunities, as listed.
Medicine – A doctor and a nurse are required at the facility. Since there are so many unknown factors and risks in space exploration, medical guidance, and expert opinion is always required. MBBS, BDS, Surgeons, Pharmaceutical experts are required.
Space Biologist – The behavior of an organism or a cell in the outer space is much different than what we find on Earth. This understanding will help even when humans think of traveling to unknown distances and unknown planets and even when we think of relocating our entire habitat. M.Sc in Life Sciences are required, Ph.D. in Life Sciences will be preferred.
Space Microbiology – Microbes are very prone to mutations and already pose a huge threat. however, do they behave the same in the outer universe? This knowledge and experimentation can help in a lot of avenues – example food storage and spoilage, growth and cultivation of crops, human diseases in space, etc. M.Sc or Ph.D. in Microbiology will be required.
Food Analyst and researchers – Since there are space explorations conducted, long missions are done. A lot of time there can be limited resources that can be carried and may not be feasible for a refill. In these conditions, proper balanced nutrition, proper storage, and hygienic supply are required. The ‘right and light’ combination can be designed by a researcher and managed by an analyst. M.Sc/M. Tech in Food Technology will be required.
Biotechnologist – We have conducted experiments, wherein plants are being cultivated in outer space, as a step closer to rehabilitation. There must be more productivity at a lesser cost and effort. For this Biotechnologists are required. M.Sc/M.Tech/Ph.D. in Biotechnology will be required.
Botanist – The circle of life is balanced by the green cover. It is a powerful source of metabolic energy. The first few things to be tried in outer space is Plant Science and tissue culture. Which is why M.Sc/Ph.D. is Botany is required.
Biophysicist and Radiologist – The outer space does not follow the Laws of the Earth. Many have not been identified as yet. There is an immense radiation surge outside our atmosphere, which is why this domain is required. Technology and Laboratory Techniques help power every research.
Behavioral and Evolutionary Science – The behavior of organisms have a lot to do with the environment. When they are displaced they may be psychologically and behaviorally different. A lot of times exposure to chemicals/radiation may lead to changes in them. These may lead to evolutionary changes. These must be analyzed and foreseen to be stabilized. Hence, this branch of science has a huge demand as well.
Work Opportunities at NASA
NASA has the policy to hire U.S Citizens as civil servants. But there are few exceptions that apply to different programs. However Foreign – Indian nationals can easily get a Life science job at any of the NASA’s International Space Partners (ISP) which are:
- Agencia Espacial Brasileira (AEB)
- Italian Space Agency
- Brazilian Space Agency
- Canadian Space Agency
- Centre National D’Etudes Spatiales
- German Aerospace Center (DLR)
- European Space Agency
- Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
- Russian Federal Space Agency
- And Other Space Agencies
How To Work as NASA International Intern
In order to become a NASA Life Science – International Intern
- you should be a Non-Us Citizen with a graduation or post graduation degree.
- You must be nominated by the NASA I2 foreign partners
- You must have expertise & sound technical knowledge of the field of your interest at NASA.
- Under this process: an international reimbursable Space Act Agreement is signed in between NASA and the partnering country via a national space agency – ISRO incase of India or Ministry of education in the country.
Astronaut Position @ NASA
International candidates can become an Astronaut at NASA, as an International Astronauts and Payload Specialist Astronauts. You need not hold a U.S citizenship to apply for these astronaut positions.
Job Role of a Payload Specialist Astronaut: Also known as pilots or mission specialists, their presence is required on the space shuttle to perform some specialized functions and tasks essential for specific missions. They are either nominated by NASA or other foreign sponsors, or the designated payload sponsor (private companies, universities, etc.)
Educational Opportunities at NASA
NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) provides exclusive & unique research opportunities to highly talented International candidates.
Currently, the applications are open for NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP). Check the details below:
About NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP)
The NASA Postdoctoral Program provides early-career & senior scientists & researchers the opportunity to work in NASA’s missions.
NASA Postdoctoral Fellows work on 1 to 3-year assignments with NASA scientists and engineers at NASA centers and institutes to advance NASA’s missions in – earth science, heliophysics, planetary science, astrophysics, space bioscience, aeronautics, engineering, human exploration and space operations, astrobiology, and science management.
How to Apply for NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP)
Application cycle deadlines for the NASA Postdoctoral Program are March 1, July 1 and November 1, annually. Currently, the Astrobiology Program accepts applications only during the March and November rounds and does not consider applications submitted during the July round.
Note: You may submit only ONE application for ONE research opportunity per application cycle.
- Register before you apply @ Applicant Portal
- Identify a research opportunity @ search the available opportunities
- Complete your application – You will apply as either a Postdoctoral Fellow or a Senior Fellow
- Three Letters of Recommendations required
- A perfect research proposal is needed
Current Cycle Deadline: July 1, 2019, 6:00 PM U.S. Eastern Time
NASA has also approved the increases to NPP annual stipend and travel allowance.
VISA Requirement For Indian to Work at NASA:
- You must have U.S. citizenship, Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status.
- You Must have Exchange Visitor J-1 Visa (research scholar only) before beginning the fellowship.
- H-1B status is not acceptable
- You can apply for certain educational programs & Jobs openings while holding the F-1 status.
- Indian Nationals with U.S Citizenship can apply for educational programs & jobs at NASA.
NASA Salary Details
NASA employees earn $62,500 annually on average, or $30 per hour According to data, the highest paying job at NASA is a Lead Engineer at $126,000 annually while the lowest paying job at NASA is a Member Services Associate at $29,000 annually. It is approximately $48907 per year for Student Trainee to $148554 per year for Medical Officer.
To earn a salary range of
- $35,854 to $46,609 you require a Bachelor’s degree: one year of professional experience as per NASA evaluation
- $43,847 to $57,015 you require a Master’s degree or two full academic years of study in a related field, one year of professional experience
- $53,062 to $68,983 you require a Ph.D. or three full academic years of graduate study, or one year of professional experience.
- If you have ample experience set by the NASA standard, the salary range can be as much as $105,123 to $136,659
Did you Know that 36% of Scientists Working at NASA are Indians? – TOI
List of Top Indian Scientists at NASA
- Kalpana Chawla: The First Indian Woman In Space
- Sharmila Bhattacharya: “Studied Human Body in Space”
- Sunita Williams: 2nd Indian-American woman to have traveled to space
- Ashwin Vasavada: Part of Mars Exploration Project Via The Curiosity Rover
- Kamlesh Lulla: Helped Astronauts to land safely Via Remote Sensing
- Dr. Meya Meyappan: Created Nano-tech for future space exploration
- Dr. Suresh B Kulkarni: Known as the ‘Rocket Man’ with 55 Successful NASA Rocket Launches
The above list is so inspiring isn’t it? You can be on this list too!
So here is a list of opportunities in terms of Work, Higher Education & Research at NASA available for International Candidates. While reading through the terms & strict hiring regulations by the US Government at NASA, one might feel like quitting and moving ahead with other reachable job opportunities in Life Science. But remember, nothing is impossible, and nothing is out of your reach. Although it looks tough, with proper research and guidance one can definitely secure that prestigious Job post at NASA in Life science field.
Disclaimer: Majority of the details mentioned here are an aggregation of data found at NASA website. It may be subject to vary as per NASA & U.S Govt rules & regulations. Do not forget to check NASA website from time to time for any change.