NASA Is Hiring A Planetary Protection Officer And No This Is Not A Joke

Image courtesy of Vileinist

Look, guys. I don’t know for sure whether or not aliens exist. But I do know that if they come after us, I want someone in charge of protecting the planet from harm. NASA wants that too, so they’re hiring a Planetary Protection Officer tasked with keeping us safe from outerspace threats.

Specifically, whoever is hired for the position of Planetary Protection Officer will work in the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance for Planetary Protection, which is concerned with “the avoidance of organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration.”

Simply put: NASA doesn’t want anyone — human or robot — on a space mission bringing back something they shouldn’t, intentionally or unintentionally, or spreading that stuff around elsewhere in the solar system.

NASA’s policies regarding planetary protection are applicable to all space flight missions that are “intended to return to Earth and its biosphere with samples from extraterrestrial targets of exploration.”

To that end, the PPO is responsible for things like leading NASA’s planetary protection capability, maintenance of planetary protection policies, and oversight of their implementation by NASA’s space flight missions.

While the listing notes that “Frequent travel may be required,” it does not indicate whether that travel will be at lightspeed.