NASA is known to think and develop technologies that many people believe are out of this world. Now, a new job listing for the agency has appeared for the designation of the Planetary Protection officer. This post and the work involved is quite unique and is only the second ever full-time work offer of its kind in the world.

The planetary protection officer who would be assigned by NASA will ensure that foreign living organisms that may be picked up by astronauts in the future from celestial bodies do not spread on Earth. This means that the officer in question is responsible for ensuring that extraterrestrial life does not run rampant on the Earth.

On the other hand, this officer will also ensure that the human beings do not leave any genetic material of their existence on the planets that they visit in the future.

New job posting by the space agency

The person hired as the planetary protection officer will be given the task to ensure that Earth is not contaminated by extra terrestrial organisms and also that the other planets are not contaminated by the human trying to explore that world. Not only is this an unusual job, it also comes with impressive salary package ranging from $124,406 to $187,000 annually, plus benefits for a term of three to five years.

Most space agencies are known to hire planetary protection officers. However, in most cases, these appointments are shared between two or more agencies and are temporary or part-time roles.

Other than the recent one in NASA, only one other full-time planetary protection officer position exists in the world, which is through the European Space Agency.

What is the importance of the NASA post?

Catherine Conley is the sole planetary protection officer in NASA currently and has been interviewed by several publications to look deeper into the strange job that she is associated with.

Conley did not comment on the new vacancy to the post that NASA has now revealed. It is not known whether Conley will be leaving the planetary protection officer’s post or whether NASA is adding a brand new position.

The officer is known to travel to space stations and keep a close eye on all interplanetary activities that take place in NASA.

Even if a probe is being sent to click pictures and send data about that particular planet or celestial body, the planetary protection officers must ensure that none of the samples collected are contaminated by the materials from Earth. However, not everyone can apply for the job, as it requires advanced degrees in Physics, engineering or mathematics, along with experience in managing space programs and interplanetary activities.