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NASA Earth The Almighty Buck Science

NASA Is Looking For Someone To Protect Earth From Aliens -- And the Job Pays a Six-Figure Salary (cnbc.com) 164

An anonymous reader shares a report: Ever fancied yourself as a bit of a hero? How about the protector of mankind? Well now NASA is looking for just that -- and it'll pay a six-figure salary for the honor. The U.S. space agency is currently in search not of life on other planets but of a "Planetary Protection Officer," who can protect Earth and its inhabitants from alien invasion. The job, which is offering a salary of between $124,406 and $187,000 per year, involves preventing alien microbes from contaminating the Earth, as well as ensuring human space explorers do not damage other planets, moons and objects in space. "Planetary protection is concerned with the avoidance of organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration," NASA wrote in the job posting on its website late last month. Other duties include advising Safety Mission Assurance officials on planetary protection matters and ensuring compliance by robotic and human spaceflight missions.
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NASA Is Looking For Someone To Protect Earth From Aliens -- And the Job Pays a Six-Figure Salary

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  • 1/2 of slashdot users are going to apply for this
    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
      Only half?
    • Sgt. Keller: "Follow me upstairs, like, now."
      Joe: "Right now? W-- Shouldn't I train this guy?"
      Sgt. Keller: "I think he can figure out how to sit on his ass and watch TV all day."

  • The biggest problem with it being that they're going to get all kinds of hopelessly unqualified applicants, which will create more work for HR to weed those ones out quickly.
    • by Gilgaron ( 575091 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @10:50AM (#54925559)
      I thought it was odd the emphasis on physical sciences and engineering versus experience in microbiology or infectious disease. A university biosafety officer is going to understand how to sterilize things better than a physicist.
      • I thought it was odd the emphasis on physical sciences and engineering versus experience in microbiology or infectious disease. A university biosafety officer is going to understand how to sterilize things better than a physicist.

        True, but a biosafety officer would tend to have a narrower view of the possible scope of risks. Since no one knows exactly what risks to consider it seems better to get a generalist who can consult with specialists, rather than the reverse.

        • True, but a biosafety officer would tend to have a narrower view of the possible scope of risks. Since no one knows exactly what risks to consider it seems better to get a generalist who can consult with specialists, rather than the reverse.

          Obviously as with most things, the simplest solution is the best: launch high yield nukes in every direction and don't send people in the other directions. 100% guaranteed contamination free (so long as they don't wait too long and orbits shift around.)

        • Granted! But if you look at the posting, why would a mathematician be a good generalist for a position like this? Maybe the networking with other NASA geeks would benefit from it. If the Andromeda Strain came down on us I'd be calling the CDC before someone that matched this posting.
          • why would a mathematician be a good generalist for a position like this?

            Because mathematicians are good at everything. :P (My degree is in mathematics)

            Is there some reason you think a physicist would be better? This job is about abstract analysis of an unknown problem space. What you need is someone who is smart, logical, thorough and able to think very broadly about the problem. Mathematicians and physicists both seem very appropriate to me. Engineers... maybe less so. And even for mathematicians, the posting requires "24 semester hours in physical science and/or related eng

            • Nothing against mathematicians, but I suppose as a microbiologist the physics and engineering seems more 'applied' to me offhand, so perhaps more experience with killing things at some point. The team working under the position would have to be fairly diversified to ensure that the sterilization procedures didn't destroy the equipment, you'd need an engineer there if nowhere else. I guess a mathematician and physicist would be needed to help figure out how to kill a super intelligent shade of the color bl
              • Nothing against mathematicians, but I suppose as a microbiologist the physics and engineering seems more 'applied' to me offhand, so perhaps more experience with killing things at some point.

                But that's experience with killing terrestrial organisms. That's what I meant about a narrow view.

                I guess a mathematician and physicist would be needed to help figure out how to kill a super intelligent shade of the color blue.

                :-)

                Or an organism based on an entirely different biochemistry, which our typical approaches to sterilization wouldn't touch.

                • But that's experience with killing terrestrial organisms. That's what I meant about a narrow view.

                  That's one difference; a mathematician won't care that the job description is about killing terrestrial organisms to keep them from infecting other planets, instead they'll take the list of words in the job description, list the Latin and Greek roots, and then define their own whole system of what they should really be doing based on a careful study of etymology.

      • by mtmra70 ( 964928 )

        It's the government for you. I remember seeing an audio/video tech job posted on the USA Jobs website. It was nothing special, similar to an IT job and only paid around $55k at the time (not many years ago). However, they wanted the person to have a PhD!

        • by thomst ( 1640045 )

          mtmra70 sneered

          It's the government for you. I remember seeing an audio/video tech job posted on the USA Jobs website. It was nothing special, similar to an IT job and only paid around $55k at the time (not many years ago). However, they wanted the person to have a PhD!

          It's not just the government, friend. I recall an ad in the SF Chronicle back in 1996 seeking a webmaster for a corporate site. Among the requirements was 7 years experience in HTML coding - which I found pretty amusing, given that Sir Tim created the very first web browser ever in 1989.

          The problem is that HR people rarely have the slightest clue as to the actual skill set required for any given technical position, so they just pile on the qualifications without the slightest regard for their

      • I thought it was odd the emphasis on physical sciences and engineering versus experience in microbiology or infectious disease. A university biosafety officer is going to understand how to sterilize things better than a physicist.

        My guess is that they already have the people who figured out the sterilization process, and this positions is to track the designers work to make sure it will with stand and allow the process. Will those gaskets be attacked by the sterilzation agents? Are there any trapped compartments that can't be sterilized when the outer surface is? If so, how can the plans be altered so that everything gets properly sterilized?

    • That is not the biggest problem, the biggest problem is that there is no way to even assess the applicants, or the job that they do once they get hired, Unless we have an alien invasion, but then it will be too late.

      You have described a problem with no practical description. There is no way of knowing the technology, they have, their psychology apart from they want to attack us for some reason. We know nothing about aliens. Since there is absolutely nothing we can do about it we may as well not worry about

      • "We need to invest heavily in the military to defend ourselves against potential alien attack. More nukes, more missiles, new defense programs. "

        There. I pretty much have got the job.

        • I am not sure if you are being sarcastic or not but if you aren't.

          We have absolutely no idea if nukes will have any significant effect on the aliens, or just annoy them so they wipe us out faster.

          These aliens must have traveled light years with an army, we can barely get a few people to the moon.

          Our best hope is just to advance our technology, without wasting our resources on building up a weapons that we have no idea will work. That is just ignore the hypothetical problem.

          • I'm being cynical I think. It's a 'follow the money' reasoning. I really believe this kind of attitude gets people to support you when you want to rise to influential positions.
            And that is also why we're in infinitely more danger of destroying ourselves than being destroyed by aliens.

            Just ignoring the hypothetical problem makes perfect sense.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      The biggest problem is that it is nearly impossible to achieve. Microbes are tiny and space is huge, anything can be frozen into tiny ice particles. Reality is, if it didn't evolve with us, the entire planetary ecosphere, it won't be adapted to eat us or to not be eaten by us (numbers some will die eating them but they will be gone) and likely will be allergic, extremely allergic to our various trace exudations. Any Alien craft visiting might well do a relatively low orbit of the sun to burn off any externa

  • It would be a bit of a pay cut, but he's got the resume. Oh, it's more about biological contamination? Then obviously Dustin Hoffman.

    • Unfortunately, Michael Jackson is no longer with us. He wanted to be Agent M for so many years but never got the opportunity.
  • I was hoping the posting would be for the first Starfleet commander. Very disappointing
    • They'd have to form an official Starfleet first though, no? Unless they already call it Starfleet internally. I don't know. I don't work at NASA.
  • Disclaimer: I am an actual alien
  • Someone wants to give you a job!

  • Job Description: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @11:05AM (#54925677) Journal
    The actual details of what the job involves or how to do it is unknown. But the position has absolutely no power or authority to do anything. But the applicant must be prepared to be the fall guy and take full responsibility if anything goes wrong that can be blamed on her/him.
  • I'll take the job. If the Earth gets visited by aliens any time before I retire, I'll give all the money back. Deal?

  • by billrp ( 1530055 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @11:07AM (#54925693)
    no doubt
  • Kill the Alien Bastards. I can see them now, with their gray skin and their large black eyes. Jack Handey knows how to deal with scum like this. Introduce them to the flowers of earth. http://www.newyorker.com/magaz... [newyorker.com]
  • Here's the plan. We're going to move the entire population of the earth to six cities all lined up in a row and all of the nukes will be launched from three locations. One in the middle of the cities and the other two flanking the cities. I'm going to need control of all nukes and hook all of that up to a radar screen. [arcade-history.com] For controls I need a trackball and three firing buttons to select which location the missiles will be fired from. . Everything that gets past earth orbit gets nuked.
  • This is like closing the barn door after the horses have run away. We've already been impacted by plenty of fragments from Mars, comets, etc. If there's life elsewhere, it's possible it started via panspermia [wikipedia.org] Then again, that's a pretty big "if" - there's no evidence one way or the other that there's life elsewhere - just WAGs [urbandictionary.com] made by wags (definition # 11 - someone not to be taken seriously) [dictionary.com]..

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This job has NOTHING to do with "space aliens" it's about preventing our space missions from contaminating other planets and moons, etc.

    Typical science ignorant press

  • This sounds like a job written as a hand out to someone's biology PhD buddy. Probably some environmental "scientist" friend that can't find a job.

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @11:28AM (#54925877)

    as well as ensuring human space explorers do not damage other planets, moons and objects in space.

    THIS is the hard part of the job.

    Otherwise, I'd go sign up for the $187,000/Year for 3 years, to protect earth from space microbes, BECAUSE the risk of a meaningful incident is extremely miniscule.

    Anyways, they probably don't consider my experience in IT meaningful for what is essentially the same as the hospital safety officers who work to define rules, procedures, and compliance programs for doctors and medical practitioners to ensure safe sanitary practices and isolation of deadly hazards such as ebola.

    • I mentioned upthread that if you read the postings the qualifications are more for an engineer than a safety officer. I agree with you that the latter would seem to be who you'd want in this position.
  • There are millions of automatic transmissions in use. And the epicyclic gear system is common in other places too. None of the gears, not the sun, nor the ring, nor the planetary needs any special protection officer. Why suddenly create one?
  • Thanks, I'd wondered what the Director of the DEO got paid.

    • Supergirl seems to work for free, though, so that is downward pressure on salaries at the DEO. NASA might need to pay more.

  • I want the job of rooting out the 5th columnists that are infected with brain worms and making the earth easier to destroy...

    The ones covering up & helping the NWO, Illuminatii, existance of UFO, advanced offworld tech & pedophile Satanists.

    Bush, Clinton, Rothchilds, JP Morgan, Rockafellers, Monsanto and their ilk lookout...

    Disclousure Now !

    We need to be ready !
    Who is up to no good ?
    Who are allies ?
    Is there a cosmic war ?
    Interstellar travel or multiverse ?
    Gods, Aliens, Demons, Angels ? What are they

  • Er, never mind, I AM saying it was aliens - it's my JOB!

  • The real work of protecting *other* worlds from US is extremely important as we continue to move closer and closer toward getting to Mars. I'm very glad to see (and not at all surprised) to see NASA continuing to pursue this.

    I thought Slashdot was supposed to be above clickbait... /s

  • Six figures doesn't sound like much to defend the planet.
    I wonder what the aliens would pay.
  • Remember, NASA is just as much "government" as the Air Force. China wants to build a station on the moon. As an Planetary Protection Officer, I say that they're not doing it up to "code" and will therefore assume jurisdiction because I say so. Private mining companies are talking about mining asteroids. As an Planetary Protection Officer, I'm going to have to inspect those precious rare metals for "safety." It's going to be expensive and a lot of paper work. It's "not my fault; bureaucracy is to blame." I c
  • Anyone with half a brain knows this job is complete bullshit.

    So aliens have the technology to travel half-way across the galaxy via FTL and our primitive technology will stop them???

    /sarcasm Riiight.

    Can I have some of what you are smoking please!? Because someone has been watching too much Independence Day.

  • This is why $18.4 in tax payer funds falling from the sky accomplishes no space victories for us.

    As a conservative I'd be genuinely interested in hearing Bernie explain if this nonsense promotes the general welfare socialists talk about all the time.

    I don't see any governments or government coalitions landing anyone on the moon or mars in our lifetimes or any point in the future.
  • Job sounds extremely awesome: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob... [usajobs.gov]

    Job Overview

    Summary

    About the Agency

    This position is assigned to Office of Safety and Mission Assurance for Planetary Protection. 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 constituen

  • Get Philip J. Fry to do it: http://www.cc.com/video-clips/... [cc.com]

  • Where's the job for the xenolinguist? That's the one I'm waiting for.

          Emilio Sandoz

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