Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Aerospace engineering is divided into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. The former deals with craft that stay within Earth's atmosphere, and the latter with craft that operate outside it.
[UMichigan]: Aerospace technology has grown out of the problems of design, construction, and operation of vehicles that maneuver above the Earth's surface. These vehicles range from ground-effect machines and helicopters to aircraft and spacecraft. Design of such vehicles has always been challenging, not only because of the requirement that they operate in a hostile environment, but also because of the high premium placed on light weight, high efficiency and great reliability.
These same requirements apply not only to future spacecraft and high performance transport aircraft, but also to the next generation of ground transportation, such as high-speed trains, over-water transportation, and automated motor vehicles. Aerospace engineering is a field where state-of-the-art technologies are applied every day. It is an exciting profession with outstanding career opportunities in which physical sciences, mathematics and computers are combined in the design of air and space vehicle systems and components to achieve high performance with limited size and weight. This requires aerospace engineers to constantly develop and apply the most advanced technologies.
The oceans have long been recognized as an essential part of our global environment. Covering more than 70 percent of the earth's surface, the oceans affect all life on earth directly as well as indirectly. Ocean Engineering is a multidisciplinary engineering field aimed at solving engineering problems associated with working in the ocean environment and wisely exploring and harnessing the ocean’s resources.
[UC Berkeley]: Ocean Engineering involves the development, design, and analysis of man-made systems that can operate in the offshore or coastal environment. Such systems may be used for transportation, recreation, fisheries, extraction of petroleum or other minerals, and recovery of thermal or wave energy, among others. Some systems are bottom-mounted, particularly those in shallower depths; others are mobile, as in the case of ships, submersibles, or floating drill rigs. All systems should be designed to withstand a hostile environment (wind, waves, currents, ice) and to operate efficiently while staying environmentally friendly.
Earth Science is the study of the Earth and its neighbors in space. Many different sciences are used to learn about the earth. However, the four basic areas of Earth science study are: geology, meteorology, oceanography and astronomy.
Those early earth scientists focused mainly on the search for and extraction of natural resources, an important endeavor during that age of expanding industrialization. Today, we live in a time when the Earth and its inhabitants face many challenges.
Human activities contribute to climate change and global warming by causing changes in Earth’s atmosphere in the amounts of greenhouse gases, aerosols (small particles), and cloudiness. As worldwide populations grow and become more affluent, the demand for food and water rises. At the same time, climate variability and change are making it difficult to provide water where and when it is needed. Floods destroy communities in one part of the world, while in another people trek miles every day just to get enough water to survive. Water scarcity is a pervasive problem and is one of the most difficult challenges we face in the 21st century.
In addition, earth scientists are also challenged to: develop new sources of energy that will have minimal impact on climate; locate new sources of metals and other mineral resources as known sources are depleted; and, determine how Earth's increasing population can live and avoid serious threats such as volcanic activity, earthquakes, landslides and more. These are just a few of the problems where solutions depend upon a deep understanding of Earth science.
Today, the earth scientists study to gain a better understanding of our planet's history and its future, the energy and resource base that supports society, geologic hazards that impact a growing population, a changing climate, and the challenge of sustainability.
[UI at Urbana-Champaign]: Evidence continues to mount that human activities are altering the Earth’s climate on a global scale. The greatest challenge in understanding the global climate system is that climate research must reach far beyond the atmosphere—to the oceans, land surfaces, vegetation, cryosphere, and even to the sun, the source of energy for our atmosphere. The rapid changes that have occurred in the earth’s climate system in the last two decades have brought a new sense of urgency in climate research.