New Jobs - Star Mapping for Weather, Space Exploration And Asteroid Mining

Stars have always been used for mapping and calculations.
Stars have always been used for mapping and calculations. | Source

What if...?

An interesting HubPages Question:If you could choose to have any job, real or made up, what would it be? was asked by TheLifeExperiment

Ancient and Modern Pioneers Make Maps

Novels from the Golden Age of Science fiction, Star Trek® and other science fiction and futurist television shows, films, books, fanzines and graphic novels have suggested devices and services unknown at the time of their descriptions, but which came into being years later.

The iPad and the cell phone were imagined on Star Trek. Growing new organs instead of undergoing transplant surgery was seen in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and today in the mid-2010s, we are able to grow these new organs. New jobs envisioned on the show are emerging in reality as well. Stellar Cartographer is one of the new job titles that we are ready to use as we make plans to mine ear-Earth Asteroids in the late 2010s.

What would be the reaction of Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clarke (inventor of the ComSat concept and proponent of the Solar Sail), and the Wright Brothers? From imagination to Kitty Hawk in 1903 to the moon in 1969 and Mars in 2018 -- what a dream ride!

Native American constellation: The Wintermaker Returns.
Native American constellation: The Wintermaker Returns. | Source

A New Type Of Map Making

One of the jobs we see in science fiction films is that of Stellar Cartographer, probably mentioned first in television's Star Trek: The Next Generation®. The Federation of Planet's ship Enterprise included a stellar cartography department, but Celestial Cartography was first conceived centuries in the past, particularly by Egyptian and Chinese astronomers.

Science is transitioning in the early 21st Century through terms like star mapping, astrometry, and stellar cartography.Perhaps some other divisions of mapping will be added, but whatever terms we use in the near future, we already needed to use them in 2013 during the advent of the Google LunarX Prize first missions on the moon.

Google joined filmmaker James Cameron in entering the Asteroid Mining Business in the spring of 2012 as well. America also pursues Mission to Mars, which may prove to begin ahead of schedule, as have Google's and SpaceX's projects.

There is and will be plenty of mapping work available related to near-Earth asteroids, Luna, and Mars and I suspect that maps will be needed of the abandoned space vehicles and equipment floating in Earth orbit - these things will only increase in number. Beyond all this, we have the Asteroid Belt past Mars and commercial plans for sponsoring aerospace vacations even further, past the asteroids to the moons of Jupiter by mid-century.

Ancient and Modern Chinese Star Maps

Ancient Chinese star map.
Ancient Chinese star map. | Source
Modern Chinese star map.
Modern Chinese star map. | Source

Who Is a Stellar Cartographer?

The Stellar Cartographer is an individual that will map the stars, planets, other heavenly bodies and newly explored sectors of space.He or she will also tentatively map the regions just beyond Known Space*, with CAD-type programs, planetarium projections, and holography. The days of computer screens as solid materials are numbered.

Holography and data that float in front of the eyes above a pressure sensitive roll-up keyboard are already in trials. Add voice recognition software and the keyboard is unnecessary. Add interaction software that enables a user to reach inside the data to manipulate it and mind-bending possibilities are jaw dropping. It brings to mind the concepts of the book Flatland over a hundred years ago, explaining the three dimensions.

*Mapping Will Go Well Beyond Constellations

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Selected constellations, 2007.NASA Mars Reference Mission; positronic fueled ship, prototype drawing.
Selected constellations, 2007.
Selected constellations, 2007. | Source
NASA Mars Reference Mission; positronic fueled ship, prototype drawing.
NASA Mars Reference Mission; positronic fueled ship, prototype drawing. | Source

Outer Space Mapping Since 2001

Far from being a romantic dream of novels, this mapping position is already coming into demand. In 2001, a Topographic Map of Mars was presented to the public by the US Geological Survey. The Hubble Telescope and NASA added other editions in short order.

Since (2012), Google Mars at google.com/mars/ can show you just about anything known concerning the surface of Mars. Google has accomplished this with the help of NASA personnel stationed at the University of Arizona.

The moon, Mars, and the Asteroid Belt beyond Mars that we want to mine for resources will all need mapping, along with everything else in those regions of space. Putting my experience in astronomy, geography, and math to work, I'd become a Stellar Cartographer in the future; but I would need additional coursework. From fifty to a hundred years from now, every spacecraft's captain will need experience in a number of fields, including this one.

What is required to become a Stellar Cartographer?

Star Maps

Guide to the Stars
Guide to the Stars

Many more maps like these will be needed. We will be mapping the moons of Mars, the Asteroid Belt, and each of the planets and moons beyond that ring of asteroids.

 

Job Requirements Of the Stellar Cartographer

The US Department of Labor's Occupational Handbook, which has experienced a good redesign and updating in 2012, provides information about mapping as a line of work. My summary and observations follow:

As of 2010, a cartographer needs a Bachelor's degree in geography or cartography, with a license required in some US States. In the future, a stellar cartographer will likely need a background in astronomy and physics. Some of these workers may also possess degrees in engineering and/or computer science. Training in surveying and drafting would be a plus and for current map making, professionals need mathematics training in geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.

The market demand growth for cartographers and photogrammetrists (aerial cartographers) is 22% from 2010 to 2020 (this is felt to be faster than average by the DOL). However, this projection was done without the foresight of the Google space-related projects in production or of NASA's partnership with SpaceX and the Japanese Space Agency in different projects. Therefore, expect these jobs to grow by a larger percentage.

While current map makers work indoors and outdoors, stellar cartographers will also work on spacegoing vehicles. They may work on the surface of the moon and Mars, requiring them to undergo astronaut training. Some will already be astronaut-engineers.

Gaining Experience In Star Watching

A Planetary Resources project, promoted by Star Trek stars Brent Spiner and Robert Picardo, placed hundreds of new satellite telescopes into the skies about Earth.

These will be accessible by the public soon via personal computer, laptop, Smart Phone and tablet. Thus, anyone will be able to study the data collected by these telescopes and begin gathering experience in viewing and understanding the skies and celestial bodies to be mapped in the future.

Students and teachers are particularly encouraged to access the data and later, these students may wish to work an internship at Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining company.

Pay Range For the Job

Median pay for a mapmaker on Earth in 2010 was over $54,500, but annual salary for a stellar cartography is bound to be much higher, reflecting additional education and greater number of venues for work, including outer space. NASA professionals that make and use Earth maps and star maps already earn a greater income at this present date.

Job descriptions, requirements, and licensing mandates are not yet complete for the position of Stellar Cartographer and related occupations, but the future is ecstatically exciting. It will recall the days of Earth's earliest explorers looking to the moon and across the oceans.

Humankind has been excited about what is going on in the skies and among stars for millennia. As we have lost some of the dreams of E.T. humanoid life created by tales like "The Martian Chronicles", new excitement had been sparked by new telescopes in the skies and new maps of the Red Planet. Space is more exciting than ever!

Early and Modern Martian Maps

The images below are of some of earliest celestial maps produced, made by using telescopes, paper, and ink in centuries past.

Chinese and Egyptian astronomers made celestial maps hundreds of years before even these images that you see. Many Indigenous Peoples' sky maps were never recorded in any medium except sand or dirt, but we have a few records of unique constellations seen by Native American Nations.

Today, we can see maps of Mars on Google Mars.

Hobbists, banker Wilhelm Beer (1797-1850) and teacher Johann Heinrich Maedler (1794-1874) began mapping mars through telescopes around 1830 and eventually came up with an entire spherical map of the planet.
Hobbists, banker Wilhelm Beer (1797-1850) and teacher Johann Heinrich Maedler (1794-1874) began mapping mars through telescopes around 1830 and eventually came up with an entire spherical map of the planet. | Source
The planet mars mapped through a telescope by Giovanni Schiaparelli in 1888. North is at the top of the chart.
The planet mars mapped through a telescope by Giovanni Schiaparelli in 1888. North is at the top of the chart. | Source
Martian canals drawn as seen through a telescope by Percival Lowell. in 1895 to 1914.
Martian canals drawn as seen through a telescope by Percival Lowell. in 1895 to 1914.

© 2012 Patty Inglish

More by this Author


Comments 13 comments

Lizam1 profile image

Lizam1 4 years ago from Victoria BC

Well I am probably too old to re-train for this career of the future - it is amazing though that storytellers are the prophets of the future and in themselves (ourselves) are so undervaluned. Well written hub. Thanks


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Creating a map with a small telescope and hand writing tools seems a miracle to us now. This job is really very exciting and the youth today have great opportunities with it and other new occupations. Who knows? if the US age of retirement keeps rising,maybe there is hope for older workers yet, especially since John Glenn went up in the shuttle at age 77 and did a project. He's 92 and teaching at Ohio State University. I hope that doesn't mean we all have to work THAT long, tho.


Lizam1 profile image

Lizam1 4 years ago from Victoria BC

...except to keep writing perhaps:-)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

That we can do!


GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

Sending this fascinating, timely Hub to my 2 yr old grand daughter. Thank you. It is amazing. Or is it not?


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

I think it's pretty amazing. Your granddaughter is going to see lots of new things.


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 4 years ago from Florida

IMO, I would think stellar cartography would require an astronomy degree atleast and a PHD at that. Great hub for those young enough to pursue such adventures!!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

We learned some mapping in the third quarter of astronomy, so I think Bachelor's might do it, but I also think some PhD engineers will be engaged in this work early on.

There is also a degree in Geomatics that combines disciplines and I think it may be expanded to include space, but it will be interesting to see in the future just how this all shapes up. Thanks for commenting, JTWalters.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

This is awesome! I love Cartography! For my "real" job - I look at public records (maps and plats recorded) and check all the boundaries and legal descriptions to make sure they are correct. People think it's boring but it simply is not. I have a deed plotting program that helps for very tedious ones - but history is RICH in those records.

Loved this a lot!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Amazing! I had a chance to look up plats in a couple of suburbs in Michigan and Eastern Ohio recently and found it fascinating. I see how you love your job.


one2get2no profile image

one2get2no 4 years ago from Olney

An awesome hub that has become very topical in our household as my son doesn't know what career to choose and my wife and I are telling him to choose a career which is modern and uses technology. What you describe has those facets and he became very interested. Thank you. Voted up and awesome.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

I am delighted that your son may be interested in pursuing this sort of career. Many other new types of jobs are coming our way with this push toward space exploration and related business. It is stimulating to find each new one as it emerges. Thanks for posting a comment!


Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

Wow, this is fantastic! I have been wanting to get into outer space for years. My idea was a time machine, I like these job ideas you write about much better! Awesomeness.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working