NASA Is Hiring a Planetary Protection Officer

Who knew that protecting planets would be such a well paying job. Depending on your qualifications and how well you can negotiate in a job interview you could be earning a salary of $124,406 to $187,000 per year.

This is a permanent role and a full time gig. So you’re going to have no time to enjoy the planet you’re protecting. Although the twist here is that you aren’t protecting earth against aliens, rather you’re protecting every other planet from us and our bacteria. Planetary protection officers spend their days worrying about germs getting from us, our robotic explorers down to virgin planets, untarnished by our mistakes.

NASA takes this sort of thing seriously, and it’s part of the reason why Cassini is going to purposefully run itself into Saturn, destroying any trace of itself, even after 10 years in the vacuum of space.

NASA is also concerned with bringing germs back on return voyages, although that’s far less likely and common. This policy is based on federal requirements and international treaties and agreements.

The planetary officers job won’t just be squirting hand sanitizer on everything, they’ll act in an advisory in everything pertaining to their task.

Requirements to take the roll will require the ability to be able to do frequent travelling, and unlike Donald Trump, complete a financial disclosure statement. Also broad engineering expertise is a must as well as knowledge of what a planetary officer even must do. It doesn’t really sound like something you pick up experience for during summer jobs at uni.

If technical skills weren’t all it took, you also need to be a people person who can diffuse any situation and turn it into an impossible win, according to the job listing. The applicant should “Demonstrated skills in diplomacy that resulted in win-win solutions during extremely difficult and complex multilateral discussions. This includes building coalitions amongst organizations to achieve common goals.”

Whoever this person is, no doubt they’ll be able to negotiate the upper end of that pay packet.

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