No, this is not a joke. The position is actually called “planetary protection officer” and it sounds amazing. Catharine Conley (pictured), who currently holds the position, is leaving soon and NASA is in need of someone to fill it. But, do you have what it takes to be considered for the job?
You’re probably wondering what on earth (or in outer space...hehe) this job entails. According to NASA’s job description, the main duties of the position include making sure spaceflight missions remain compliant under NASA planetary protection policies and international rules.
NASA also mandates that the planetary protection officer must be willing to go through a one-year probationary period, complete a financial disclosure statement, and travel frequently. Does this include travel to space? We must know!
This position is time-limited due to agency regulations. The initial position will run for three years, with the potential for extending another two years. In other words, if you end up hating the job, at least it’s temporary? However, if you do a good job, your position could be made permanent.
The security clearance for this position, meaning the level of classified information you’re allowed to access, is listed as “secret.” Who knows what kinds of government alien-related secrets you’ll get to learn!
And now for the grand finale: the salary is not too shabby, as it turns out. The pay is a little more than 100 grand per year, presumably depending on your experience. So even if you end up hating the job, at least you’ll be making some money? That’s good justification, right…?