Listen up, nerds, NASA have a job opening that pays up to $187,000 USD ($235,190.54) and it quite literally involves protecting the entire planet from aliens.
Specifically, you’d be responsible for ensuring we don’t cop some gnarly alien microbes as a result of our space faring ways and, on the other side of the coin, that we don’t contaminate other worlds with our own grubby cells.
Expect the badass title of Planetary Protection Officer and the right to brag about having one of the most insanely unique jobs in the world.
It’s not exactly a new position, either. It was created when the US signed and ratified the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, part of which outlines the dangers of alien matter to our existence, and humanoid matter to other worlds.
States Parties to the Treaty shall pursue studies of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, and conduct exploration of them so as to avoid their harmful contamination and also adverse changes in the environment of the Earth resulting from the introduction of extraterrestrial matter and, where necessary, shall adopt appropriate measures for this purpose.
Hectic stuff. Part of the agreement also dictates that any space mission must have less than a 1-in-10,000 chance of human contamination of an alien world. The current planetary protection officer,
“It’s not extremely careful, but it’s not extremely lax,” she said.
It’s not clear whether Conley is stepping down as Earth’s fearless protector or whether the role is just expanding. The latter would make sense, given the amount of shit we’re sending into space these days.
As for the specifics of the role, don’t expect to be shooting space lasers at incoming threats. While they do get to travel to space centres all over the world to inspect their fancy equipment, answering emails and reading studies makes up a lot of the job, according to Conley.
So it’s less playing Space Invaders IRL, and more establishing procedures and protocols for space travel. Still cool, regardless.
Reckon you have what it takes? Fat chance. The successful candidate needs at least one year of experience as a top-level civilian government employee and have “advanced knowledge” of planetary protection.
Furthermore, you’ll need to demonstrate “experience planning, executing, or overseeing elements of space programs of national significance.” You got any of that, hot shot?
If you still think you can save the entire planet from space herpes, NASA are taking applications until the 14th of August right here.