February 9, 2013

How to be an Asteroid Miner

We get asked a lot of questions, and one of the most frequent ones is:

How can I be an asteroid miner at Planetary Resources?

We’re always looking to add exceptional people to our team, and here’s some insight into what we look for in aspiring asteroid miners.  Some attributes apply to college students, others to professionals, some to those in secondary, or even primary school – and others to everyone.  I’ll address them all – so look for the one that applies to you below.

Three qualities are paramount in any member of the Planetary Resources team:

  1. You’re a joy to spend time with, and you bring energy to the team. You’re willing to be wrong, but confident when you’re not.  You motivate us to learn from one another, and you make us want to be better at what we do.
  2. You are brilliant.  The kind of brilliant your family brags about, your teachers are proud of, perhaps irritates your friends, and sometimes makes your significant other feel awkward.
  3. You have a driving passion to explore space and open our next frontier.  For you, this is not a passing interest nor a mere fancy, but a life-altering obsession.  This is your reason for being.

Now that we’ve got the basics covered, let’s get to the engineer, scientist or entrepreneur in you.

We like people who don’t wait for “just the right” opportunity, or ask permission to create, innovate, design and LEARN.  Your living room might be your laboratory; your garage might be your basecamp for many journeys of exploration and discovery; your desk is the site of deep research into your future endeavors.

You’ve gone out of your way to broaden your horizons, given yourself a higher bar to reach, and added another tool to your toolkit.  Experience is king, even if it was of your own device.

As Yoda wisely said, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”  You have the scars to prove it, and experience that can only be won through lessons from failure, and hard-won victories.  (Remember to tell us your epic failure story in your application!)

Now, some advice specific to a few different walks of life:

The Professional:

If you are lucky enough to be a practicing spaceship engineer, or have a technical background and want to be a spaceship engineer, this information is for you.  Ever heard of a “product lifecycle”?  Ideally, we’d like you to have experienced a few of them, from start to finish.  Do you know how to get something done, even when you don’t have everything you need, or know all the answers?  Step right up.   Never considered applying your talents to space before, but can create critical systems that have got to work?   Let us know.

The College Student:

You’ve set your course in life, and you know that you’ll only be happy if it will involve exploring the heavens.  You’ve gotten through the basics: algebra, calculus, maybe even an eigenvalue.  You know your way around a team design project.  Class is fun, but you live for the project.  Your classmates are cool, but you’re drawn to mix with students from other departments.  Maybe you play an instrument.  Perhaps you love to share your passion with others.  Whatever it is, you spend as much or more time learning outside the classroom as you do in it.  If this is you, join us this summer and fall.

The “When I grow up I want to be an asteroid miner” kid:

Mom and Dad are raising you right, and you want to make the world a better place.  You’ve seen every TV special on space exploration, engineering, and technology, and now you’re reading the books and writing your own script.  You finish your math homework early and do the extra problems.  You’ve entered the science fair, and that is just the beginning.  You should now seek new experiences and find a mentor and friends who will keep you learning and growing.  Study subjects that help you understand how the world works.  Experiment and learn how technology shapes your life.  Seek the opportunity to make your own mark.  Then take the advice for college students above.  We’ll be waiting for you when you’re done.

These are just a few things to keep in mind when considering becoming an asteroid miner – or anyone who can harness science and technology to shape the world around us.

If you think you want to take a shot with us, you can find the open positions we’re currently looking for on our website at http://planetaryresources.com/careers/  We’ve got a number of opportunities for students this summer and fall, as well as options to join the full time staff.

Stop reading about it, and start doing it.  We’ll see you soon.

-Chris Lewicki
President & Chief Asteroid Miner

PS – More to add to our list?  Tell us below!

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