US government scientists work hard to protect the public.
Some researchers study infectious diseases and effective treatments. Others ensure that drugs, food, vehicles, or consumer products live up to their claims and don’t harm anyone. But the concerns over at NASA headquarters are, quite literally, extraterrestrial — which is why the space agency now has a job opening for a “planetary protection officer.” The gig? Help defend planet Earth from alien contamination, and also help Earth not to contaminate alien worlds that it’s trying to explore. The pay? A six-figure salary ranging from $124,406 to $187,000 per year, plus benefits, for three to five years.
While many space agencies hire planetary protection officers, they’re often shared or part-time roles. In fact, only two such full-time roles exist in the world: One at NASA and the other at the European Space Agency. Planetary protection officer occasionally gets to travel to space centers around the world and analyse planet-bound robots. The officer helps ensure that we don’t accidentally contaminate a pristine world that a probe is landing on or, more often, is zooming by and taking pictures of. An out-of-this-world job like requires some equally extraordinary qualifications.
Candidates must have at least one year of experience as a top-level civilian government employee, plus be an expert in “advanced knowledge” of planetary protection and all that it entails. If you don’t have “demonstrated experience planning, executing, or overseeing elements of space programs of national significance,” then you may be wasting your time by submitting an application. The job involves a lot of international coordination — space exploration is expensive and the costs are frequently shared by multiple nations — so NASA needs someone with “demonstrated skills in diplomacy that resulted in win-win solutions during extremely difficult and complex multilateral discussions.”
Did we mention the advanced degree in physical science, engineering, or mathematics? You should have that on your resume, too. The job comes with a “secret” security clearance, and non citizens aren’t technically allowed to apply. Come on-apply… just for the fun of it, you got nothing to loose :-).
Article credit: Business Insider
Photo credit: NASA