August 2, 2017
Yes, you read that correctly. If you're like me you may have instantly thought of the popular movie, Men In Black. But this is not a movie, this is a real job. NASA currently has job opening for a “planetary protection officer” responsible for ensuring alien life described as “organic-constituent and biological contamination” doesn't make it's way back in a space ship. While that may seem outlandish to some, it seems slightly self-centered to think we're the only ones out there in the universe.
The job is likely at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. and pays six figured with a range from $124,406 to $187,000. The role must be appointed with the initial appointment for 3 years, with the possibility of extending for an additional 2 years (some solid job security of possibly 5 years!). Not bad.
What to look for in a Planetary Protection Officer?
I'm as curious as you are about what skills are deemed most important when leading up this effort. Candidate must have “advanced knowledge of Planetary Protection,” and have demonstrated “skills in diplomacy that resulted in win-win solutions during extremely difficult and complex multilateral discussion.” As this role will be, “responsible for the leadership of NASA's planetary protection capability, maintenance of planetary protection policies, and oversight of their implementation by NASAs space flight missions.” So it's not only about protecting Earth, it's also about protecting other planets from contamination from Earth. That seems pretty heavy, so you must be a responsible person to take this on – the Earth as we know it is counting on you. NASA's only previous Planetary Protection Officer was Catharine Conley. She explains this in further details in the video below.
Planetary Protection Officer Job Description
Don't take my word for it, the full job description is below.
If this describes your skillset and you have a dream of working in the space program, you have until August 14th to apply, but I wouldn't waste any time – who knows, they may be on their way. ?
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