Science 03 Aug 2017 NASA needs someone t ...

NASA needs someone to protect Earth from aliens

AGENCIES
Published Aug 3, 2017, 12:41 am IST
Updated Aug 3, 2017, 11:07 am IST
Job involves preventing alien microbes from contaminating Earth, vice versa.
The planetary protection officer’s role is one of just two such full-time positions in the world.
 The planetary protection officer’s role is one of just two such full-time positions in the world.

Washington: NASA is looking for someone who can defend Earth from aliens. Well, sort of. The “planetary protection officer” will have the job of ensuring that humans in space do not contaminate planets and moons and also ensure that alien matter does not infect our planet. NASA will pay between $1,24,406 and $1,87,000 per year plus benefits for the job, the Independent reported.

According to a job description, “Planetary protection is concerned with the avoidance of organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration.

 

“NASA maintains policies for planetary protection, applicable to all space flight missions that may intentionally or unintentionally carry Earth organisms and organic constituents to the planets or other solar system bodies, and any mission employing spacecraft, which are intended to return to Earth and its biosphere with samples from extraterrestrial targets of exploration.”

The hiring process won’t be easy as the space agency requires an advanced degree in science or math and an experience in planning and executing space programmes, as well as skills in diplomacy. Candidates must also have at least one year’s experience as a top-level civilian government employee.

Sadly, only US citizens and US nationals can apply for the job. The planetary protection role reportedly came about as a result of the Outer Space Treaty, an international agreement ratified by the US in 1967. The treaty stipulates that all space missions should have a less than 1-in-10,000 chance of contaminating an alien world.

There is only one other full-time role like it in the world at the European Space Agency, Catharine Conley, NASA’s only planetary protection officer since 2014, told Business Insider. The post is for an initial period of three years but may be extended for an additional two, CNBC reported.

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