Wish You Were a Jedi? NASA Gig Might Be for You

NASA seeking new 'planetary protection officer'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2017 11:34 AM CDT
Wish You Were a Jedi? NASA Gig Might Be for You
NASA's planetary protection officer is tasked with keeping space free of contamination.   (NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP)

(Newser) – Want to become a Jedi? This is probably as close as you could possibly get: NASA is looking for someone to protect Earth and other planets in our known universe. The agency is accepting applications for the full-time post of "planetary protection officer," a position created after the signing of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty—which sought to keep the peace in space by, among other things, barring countries from sending weapons of mass destruction to other planets. The main job of the planetary protection officer, however, isn't to search the stars for bombs. Rather, the goal is to keep earthlings from contaminating space and returning spaceships from contaminating Earth, per Business Insider.

It's a pretty sweet gig, and not just because it comes with a salary ranging from $124,406 to $187,000 a year. The three-year appointment (with a possible two-year extension) involves traveling the world visiting space centers and the rovers and other equipment each plans to send to space. Nabbing one of only two such full-time posts on the planet won't be easy, though. NASA is looking for a candidate with an advanced degree in physical science, engineering, or mathematics, plus "demonstrated experience planning, executing, or overseeing elements of space programs of national significance" and "demonstrated skills in diplomacy." Think you've got the right stuff? Applications will be accepted until Aug. 14. (Read more NASA stories.)

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