The US space agency has posted a vacancy for a Planetary Protection Officer, which is more or less exactly what you’d expect although the thing about “frequent travel may be required” probably doesn’t include repurposed spaceships and/or tactical distribution of cold viruses.

For up to $187,000 per year (about R2.4 million or so), the job involves keeping our planet safe from aliens, and keeping alien planets safe from us. Mostly with lots of inspections and spreadsheets and bureaucracy, I’d assume, but I’m sure there’s something in there about quarantine procedures in case of a Xenomorph (and if there isn’t, there should be).

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

“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.”

Applicants should have a degree in physical science, engineering, or mathematics, previous experience as a civilian government employee, and “demonstrated skills in diplomacy that resulted in win-win solutions during extremely difficult and complex multilateral discussions” that almost definitely doesn’t include whatever happened on Virmire in Mass Effect.


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