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Learn about space with online courses and programs

Space is the vast expanse that contains all celestial objects beyond Earth’s atmosphere, including planets, stars, and galaxies. Learn more about space with online courses delivered through edX.

What is space?

Space is the vast realm beyond Earth’s atmosphere that holds all of existence: from galaxies and stars to dust and radiation. There’s still so much we don’t know about Earth, but that hasn’t stopped our exploration of what lies beyond our planet. Space is not empty – it is filled with cosmic phenomena and objects and stretches on beyond our observational capabilities. Our solar system is full of information about our potential origins as well as the origins of the universe, and organizations like NASA continue to look for answers to some of our most basic questions. With the International Space Station fostering worldwide cooperation, learning about space not only opens up potential career opportunities but is also the perfect way to pursue knowledge for its own sake. Whether you’re following the colonization of Mars or the search for exoplanets that may support life, learning about our surroundings is a fascinating pastime. And with enough knowledge, you may one day hold the key to building the starships we’ve dreamed about since we first looked up to the stars.

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Space course curriculum

The topics you can study about space are almost as vast as the universe itself. You can learn about the aerospace materials used to build spaceships, or find out how humans have been exploring space. You can also learn how we observe space, or how we design space missions. Some further themes can include: 

  • Astronomy: The study of celestial objects such as stars, planets, galaxies, and the universe as a whole.

  • Astrophysics: The application of physical principles to understand the behavior and properties of celestial bodies and phenomena.

  • Cosmology: The study of the origin, evolution, and large-scale structure of the universe.

  • Planetary science: Focuses on the formation, composition, and characteristics of planets, moons, and other solar system objects.

  • Astrobiology: Investigates the possibility of life beyond Earth and the conditions required for it to exist.

  • Space exploration: The engineering and scientific aspects of sending spacecraft and astronauts into space to study and explore celestial bodies.

  • Astrochemistry: The study of the chemical processes and compositions of cosmic objects, including stars, planets, and interstellar space.

  • Space weather: Researching the effects of solar and cosmic radiation on space missions, satellites, and Earth’s atmosphere.

  • Space technology: Developing and improving technologies for space exploration, satellite communication, and Earth observation.

  • Astrodynamics: Calculating the trajectories and movements of objects in space, such as spacecraft and celestial bodies.

edX offers online courses that allow learners to study a variety of topics including space, aeronautics, astronomy, and much more. ‌Sign up for an accelerated boot camp or enroll in a full degree program and start working toward a bachelor's degree or (or more advanced learners) a master’s degree in a relevant subject. You can also explore executive education programs specifically designed for busy professionals.

Explore space jobs

As more companies and innovators push for humanity’s expansion to the stars, you could find yourself in a dynamic career position. Some space-related careers include: 

  • Astronomer: Conducts research on celestial objects, studies the cosmos, and analyzes astronomical data.

  • Cosmologist: Investigates the origin, evolution, and structure of the universe.

  • Aerospace engineer: Designs and builds spacecraft, rockets, and space exploration equipment.

  • Astrophysicist: Applies physics principles to understand the behavior and properties of celestial bodies.

  • Spacecraft operations specialist: Manages the day-to-day operations of spacecraft in orbit, ensuring their functionality and data collection.

  • Satellite engineer: Develops and maintains satellites for communication, Earth observation, and scientific research

  • Space research scientist: Conducts experiments and research in microgravity environments on the International Space Station or other space laboratories.

  • Space robotics engineer: Designs, develops, and maintains robotic systems and technologies for use in space exploration missions, including spacecraft assembly, maintenance, and exploration tasks.

  • Space tourism operator: Works in the emerging field of commercial space travel, helping to facilitate space tourism experiences.

  • Space lawyer: Specializes in legal issues surrounding space activities, including international space law, contracts, and intellectual property.

Even if you don’t pursue a career in space, feed your curiosity with courses from edX and continue to find wonder.