Want the coolest job in the world? Well, NASA is looking for a Planetary Protection Officer (PPO). It’s a position that, on the surface, sounds like what Will Smith did in Men In Black.
Okay, so NASA’s new PPO won’t be rubbing shoulders with tentacled, sentient aliens, but they will be working to keep our world free of potential alien contaminants and microbes.
“Planetary protection is concerned with the avoidance of organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration,” NASA explains in the job posting.
As if the amazing job title isn’t enough of a reason to apply — just imagine handing over that business card — there’s also the incredibly high salary, which is listed between $124,406 and $187,000 USD. Fighting aliens seems to be a good line of business.
The position isn’t just about protecting the Earth from contaminants from other planets, though.
According to the job listing, “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.”
In other words, the job’s biggest responsibility involves guarding other planets from us.
Part of the job will also be to travel to space centres around the world and inspect space-bound technology, making sure they’re free of potentially harmful material.
If you’ve got professional aspirations that reach into the stars and meet the unique qualifications for this out-of-this-world position, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to apply.