See You Later, I’m Gonna Protect The Planet!
I like my job. It's fun. Not a bad way to spend the day. And I like living in Quincy, the town I've made my home for the past 19 months. But man, do I love space. And NASA. And Star Trek. And outrageous job titles. So you can imagine how excited I was when news broke that NASA was hiring a, and this is the real title, Planetary Protection Officer.
This is a permanent, full-time job, posted to the USAJOBS.GOV website. Linked over just in case you think you can apply. Unfortunately for me, it requires advanced degrees in physics, engineering, or mathematics. None of which I have, I was more of a humanities guy. But basically the job is making sure we as Terrans (people of Terra, the Latin word for Earth, because "Earthicans" sounds kinda stupid) don't contaminate possible alien worlds, and also making sure those alien worlds don't contaminate Terra. So were you to get the job, you'd be critically involved in missions to Mars and Europa (one of Jupiter's moons). We as space explorers need to make sure we aren't ruining these celestial bodies, and if we bring samples back to Earth, we need to make sure we aren't bringing some sort of alien parasite back.
And they stress diplomacy in the work place as you'll probably be working with multiple departments within NASA, and indeed different space agencies from around the world. I'm starting to get a real United Federation of Planets/Prime Directive vibe off of this whole deal.
Unfortunately I am woefully underqualified, but maybe later tonight if I get a few glasses of rum in me, I'll start updating my résumé and cover letter. I won't get the job, and since it's more interplanetary C-Span than it is Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica or Firefly, I may pass. I just want to hang out in space with a laser gun, shooting attacking aliens.
But NASA... if you need a space radio DJ, or a space bartender... give me a call.