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Currently, I am an undergraduate majoring in biophysics and minoring in astrophysics. I've always had a deep passion for learning about the universe (especially the field of astrobiology) and I also have strong interests in "applied" biophysics.

Initially, I wanted to pursue higher education to do research in either astrophysics or astrobiology. After spending time in both physics and biology research, however, I realized that research was not what I am most passionate to pursue and I could not find a calling in that career, although I enjoy the subjects very much.

However, through my experience in research, I was introduced to and developed an interest in the field of medicine because of many reasons, but especially because it provides me an opportunity to apply my biophysics passion to work on "practical" things such as creating new medical technology.

My problem is that pursuing further studies towards medicine by going to medical school would almost completely isolate my passion for space. So, currently I am at a crossroad and do not know where to pursue my higher education.

I can't find much information on how I could possibly continue to pursue both passions, which is why I am writing to ask if anyone has any ideas if there are any fields or directions that would still allow me merge my two interests (medicine and astrobiology)?

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Neither of these fields is my area, so I'll mention an orthogonal path: you could become an expert in something else (e.g., statistics, game theory, programming -- right now the hot thing is machine learning / deep learning, but who know where we'll be in 10+ years), then you can apply that toolkit to both space programs and biomedical programs (whether through a university or through scientific consulting). Of course, it's an uncertain path, particularly if there is no "something else" that you are also passionate about.

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  • Hmm, this is a really interesting idea! I'm learning a little bit of programming, but it's not my main focus. But I really like your idea of using skills from one field as a toolkit for the other. So, do you think I could just pursue medicine for now (which I would be fine with), and later if/when opportunities arise (due to a lot of advancements in space currently, like from SpaceX), I would be able to find a more space-related field? No problem if you aren't able to answer that; I'm young and inexperienced so I'm not very sure haha – George Orwell Nov 7 '19 at 0:41
  • I have no idea. I can't imagine (outside of some edge cases, like Buffy mentioned) how medical training would be useful in space research, or vice versa, hence my "orthogonal path" comment. But who knows, perhaps we will need doctors on Mars in 10+ years. Or perhaps you'll just be a regular doctor, which is not a bad fate. – cag51 Nov 7 '19 at 0:44
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Space Medicine is actually a thing, but I suspect that the opportunities are limited.

And I doubt that it is very connected to astrobiology.

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  • I also read about that, but unfortunately you're completely right - it's very limited in opportunities. However, it doesn't need to be completely related to astrobiology - I'd just be happy if I could find something related to space! – George Orwell Nov 7 '19 at 0:11
  • Let me give another idea. This planet is currently being stressed and so the biological systems will be stressed. This implies that research in medicine will be required in the future as we try to adapt. It isn't exactly space, but it could be important. How do systems adapt to stress? Not exactly a new field, but new opportunities, perhaps. – Buffy Nov 7 '19 at 0:18
  • That's also a good idea, and it sounds kind of similar to cag51's answer about using my skills from one field (like medicine) as a toolkit to apply to opportunities in another field in the future... I'll do some research on this and get back to you if I find anything significant. Thanks! – George Orwell Nov 7 '19 at 0:43

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