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NASA Is Hiring Someone to Protect the World from Alien Germs

The Planetary Protection Officer job could earn you a six-figure salary.
Photo via NASA's Project Apollo Archive

NASA is looking to hire a "Planetary Protection Officer" to help keep our world safe from galactic invaders, and it's willing to pay that qualified individual more than $100,000 a year, CNBC reports.

But before you start trying on suits and burning your fingerprints off, this isn't some Men in Black–style gig—the day-to-day won't involve chasing down unlicensed cephalopoids or whatever. The aliens NASA wants to stop are more of the microbe variety.


A Planetary Protection Officer would be tasked with making sure that astronauts and robots don't return home contaminated with some potentially harmful organic matter picked up during space travel. The job would also involve making sure astronauts don't contaminate other planets with biological material from Earth.

According to Business Insider, the job's been around since 1969, when the US first signed the Outer Space Treaty.

"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," NASA wrote on the job listing, which was originally posted last month. They also want someone with a "broad engineering background."

Basically, the gig sounds like a galactic version of the customs agents who make sure you don't bring certain fruit into Hawaii, and pays really well. The listing says the salary will be between $124,406 and $187,000 a year for a contract of three years and a chance to extend for another two.

If that's you, head over to NASA's posting to apply. It's accepting applications until August 14. But if you rather spend your work week blasting space debris away from valuable satellites, the US Space Corps might be more your thing.