National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a job vacancy! The United States government’s authorized employment site has posted a notification informing potential US citizens and nationals regarding an opening for the post of a Planetary Protection Officer who will be responsible for safeguarding Earth from possible extraterrestrial contamination. The job duties also include the responsibility of ensuring that humans in space, on an expedition to explore other planets, moons etc, do not contaminate them either and make all efforts to maintain its natural state.
The salary being offered ranges from $124k to $187K per annum in addition to other benefits. It has been reported that such a role of a planetary protection officer is not new in the world of space exploration. Various other space agencies employ such executives in either joint or part-time positions. Apart from the above mentioned vacancy, there is only one more full-time position for a planetary protection officer and this post has been occupied by Catharine A. Conley in NASA at the moment.
The job opening is only applicable to US citizens and nationals, who can apply for the position up until 14 August 2017, according to the official website, which also states that this particular job for the officer was brought into existence as a result of the United States government signing the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. The present appointment to this position will be for 3 years, with a possible extension for another 2 years.
One of the key requirements listed in the notification is that frequent travel will be on the cards along with ‘Secret’ status when it comes to security clearance. Further, the applicant is expected to have (at the least) one year of experience as a high-level civilian government employee. Academically, in addition to a physical science, engineering or maths degree, he/she is required to have advanced knowledge of planetary protection policy complete with all its missions and requirements. This new recruit is likely to be participating in the upcoming NASA voyage to the moon of Jupiter, Europa.