NASA to Hire Planetary Protection Officer from Alien Attack

NASA has listed an opening in the US government’s official site about the job. US eligible citizens are free to apply for the job and the deadline has been stated as August 14.


The dream job is here with NASA’s vacancy for a planetary protection officer. Ever got inspired watching E.T or District 9? Apparently, the possibility of alien attack and contamination is not a myth, for NASA has listed an opening in the US government’s official site about the job. US eligible citizens are free to apply for the job and the deadline has been stated as August 14.

The salary for the job in the advert has been mentioned to be in six figures- $124,406 to $187,000 per year. However, the security clearance fee is given as “secret”. For the role, the officer is to ensure that astronauts and robots are free from any biological or organic materials while they delve into space. With parallel intentions, he/she is also to make sure that Earth doesn’t contaminate other planets or life forms outside of itself.

Although most space agencies hire a planetary protection officer as a part-time worker or a shared worker. However, only two full-time roles exist in the world, one in NASA and the other in European Space Agency. Catharine A. Conley, NASA’s current and sole planetary protection officer, has stated in an interview that the job level is neither “extremely careful” nor “extremely lax”. She at times gets to travel around the space centers and examines and analyses planet-bound robots. What she does is to ensure that the earthlings don’t accidentally defile the grounds of the other planet or its inhabitants while a probe is landing on it or when pictures are being taken. As an international agreement’s creation, the makers have concluded that any space mission should have a 1 in 10,000 chances of polluting an alien habitat.

nasa-planetary-protection-officer
Source: Civilized.life

For instance, the Europa Clipper mission that the Congress and President have given permission for lays down the importance of a planetary protection officer vividly. The mission is to examine the possibility of life form in the icy, ocean-hiding, a potentially habitable moon of Jupiter, Europa. Although the clipper won’t land on its surface but would orbit its face for searching clues to the moon’s susceptibility to life form, there is a moderate chance of a robot crashing. This is when someone like Conley comes to the rescue.

From the job description, it’s evident that the qualifications for this job need to be much superior to most other governmental jobs. The candidate is required to have an advanced degree in mathematics, physical science or engineering and at least one-year experience as the highest level of governmental employee. Also, he/she must specialize in “advance knowledge” of planetary protection and everything else that it encompasses. The job specifies the involvement of international coordination and cooperation since space exploration could be expensive and at times the cost is shared by multiple countries. Consequently, NASA requires someone who incorporates diplomacy skills within with a capability of assessing and analyzing difficult and complex international discussions.

The listing states that this is a “three-year contract”, however, the period could be extended to two more years. During this period, NASA would plan a number of space missions including the one concerned with the icy Europa.

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NASA to Hire Planetary Protection Officer from Alien Attack

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