What did you want to be when you grew up? A fireman? A pro bowler? I have a new one for you: Planetary Protection Officer (PPO).
None of us will ever join Captain America and the other Avengers in defending Earth from Thanos, but NASA’s open position might be the next best thing.
The government agency posted a listing for a full-time position, seeking someone with “broad engineering expertise” and “advanced knowledge of Planetary Protection.” The right candidate could make up to $187,000 per year.
Here’s a portion of the summary found in the listing’s job overview:
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 missions employing spacecraft, which are intended to return to Earth and its biosphere with samples from extraterrestrial targets of exploration.
So, worst case scenario, the PPO will get blamed if a NASA astronaut brings back an alien organism that wipes out humanity. On the flip side, the PPO will be responsible for ensuring no astronauts introduce Earth-based microbes to other planets. That sounds… stressful. Maybe being an Avenger isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
According to the listing, the PPO won’t need to manage anyone, but will be required to travel. That’s not the worst requirement in the world, especially when mankind’s potential survival is on the line.
As for the security clearances you’ll get when linking up with NASA’s elite Earth protection force, the listing is rather vague, simply saying the word “secret.”
If you do decide to apply, the listing says candidates will be evaluated under strict standards, including educational level and training, technical and strategic problem solving, and outside professional activities, among other things. And, no, I don’t think watching the Avengers movies counts as an outside professional activity.
You can find the full listing at the link below.