Published: Wed, August 02, 2017
Science | By Hubert Green

Guardian of the galaxy? NASA hiring 'planetary protection officer'

Guardian of the galaxy? NASA hiring 'planetary protection officer'

The job description offers that the successful applicant will be in a privileged position in the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance for Planetary Protection.

It sounds straight out of a "Men in Black" movie, but NASA is looking to hire a planetary protection officer to defend Earth from alien contamination and help Earthlings avoid contaminating the alien worlds they're trying to explore.

The full-time role of "planetary protection officer" will involve ensuring that humans in space do not contaminate planets and moons, as well as alien matter infecting Earth.

According to a job description posted on United States of America jobs, the new hire will focus on the "avoidance of organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration".

The job comes with a six figure salary-$124,406 to $187,000 per year-and security clearance is listed as "secret". The other position is with the European Space Agency.

The position was originally created in the 1960's as a result of the Outer Space Treaty and is one of only two positions worldwide.

The current planetary protection officer at NASA is Catharine A. Conley who is responsible for ensuring no bacteria contaminated its Opportunity and Curiosity rovers after their exploration of Mars.

The job, while only open to American citizens and nationals - requires at least a year of services as a civilian government employee, as well as a degree in physical science, engineering or mathematics.

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