NASA has a new job opening, and it involves the task of protecting Earth from potential alien contamination. Men in Black, anyone?
As indicated in the U.S. government’s official job listing site, NASA is looking for a new “Planetary Protection Officer.” The single job vacancy is open to U.S.citizens and nationals for applications until August 14.
“NASA maintains policies for planetary protection applicable to all space flight missions that may intentionally or unintentionally carry Earth organisms and organic constituents to the planets or other solar system bodies, and any mission employing spacecraft, which are intended to return to Earth and its biosphere with samples from extraterrestrial targets of exploration,” the job offer reads. “This policy is based on federal requirements and international treaties and agreements.”
The salary for the job is not something to balk at, boasting $124,406 to $187,000 per year. Security clearance is listed as “secret,” which can only mean that the tasks will involve a lot of covert work. A Planetary Protection Officer is tasked with protecting astronauts and robots from being contaminated with extraterrestrial microbes during space missions, thus protecting Earth’s residents from contamination when they return home.
The job description also indicates that the lucky person to be selected will enjoy a privileged position in the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance for Planetary Protection.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) August 2, 2017
To have a shot at being NASA’s Planetary Protection Officer, the applicant needs to have “broad engineering experience,” the willingness to travel extensively and to complete a financial disclosure statement. Candidates are required to have a degree in physical science, engineering, or mathematics. The selected applicant may undergo a one-year probation after being hired. The successful applicant will occupy the Planetary Protection Officer post for three years, though the term may be extended for an additional two.
The job of a Planetary Protection Officer is no laughing matter, as NASA’s researchers are already planning several missions to planets that may possibly hold alien life, most notably Jupiter’s icy moon Europa.
According to a NASA report, Europa is the most promising destination within the solar system when it comes to humanity’s ongoing search for life beyond Earth. The NASA mission aims to conduct an extensive study of Europa to determine the conditions that could prove its habitability.
— Popular Science (@PopSci) July 25, 2017
The mission plan indicates that NASA will launch a spacecraft to Jupiter in the 2020s. The spacecraft is expected to arrive at the gas giant’s orbit after a journey of several years.
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