NASA’s planetary protection officer job is out of this world

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Have you ever wanted to be paid to be a hero? NASA is looking for a new planetary protection officer. Yes, that’s a real position — and it pays six figures.

The position is for someone to guard the planet from “organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration.”

In other words, the officer’s responsibilities include ensuring humans don’t contaminate space, and other organisms don’t contaminate Earth either.

Doing so will maintain worlds in their natural states and avoid contaminating explored environments, NASA says.

The job was recently posted on government job website USA Jobs. It comes with a salary between $124,406 and $187,000 per year.

“The Planetary Protection Officer (PPO) is responsible for the leadership of NASA’s planetary protection capability, maintenance of planetary protection policies, and oversight of their implementation by NASAs space flight missions,” according to the job posting.

The job also requires “broad engineering expertise,” “advanced knowledge of Planetary Protection,” and a willingness to travel.

Candidates should also have a degree in physical science, engineering or mathematics.

CNBC reports it is just one of two planetary protection officers in the world; the other is with the European Space Agency.

The job is open for applicants until Aug. 14 and is for an initial period of three years although could be extended for an additional two.