Is NASA hiring employees in preparation for an alien invasion? The quick answer is no. It is not true that NASA is getting ready to defend the earth from alien invaders. But chances are you’ve read this headline, which was humorously written by several media outlets such as USA Today and the Washington Post, in response to a job posting released by the space agency. Andrew Follett from the Daily Caller clears up the subject.
“Several media outlets claimed NASA wanted to hire planetary protection officers to defend Earth from an alien invasion,” writes Follet. “But the reality is far less glamorous and potentially harmful to the space agency’s mission.”
So if NASA is not looking to defend the earth from aliens, then what are they doing?
According to Follet, “NASA is actually looking for someone to make sure bacteria and microorganism don’t contaminate space probes. For example, the office is supposed to stop potential Mars-based bacteria from coming to Earth.
The original job summary can be listed below:
“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 constituents to the planets or other solar system bodies, and any mission employing spacecraft, which are intended to return to Earth and its biosphere with samples from extraterrestrial targets of exploration. This policy is based on federal requirements and international treaties and agreements.
Current Agency policy requires the SL appointments be time-limited. The initial appointment will be for 3 years, with the possibility of extending for an additional 2 years. The selectee for this position will receive a temporary promotion. Employee will then return to a grade level no lower than the grade previously held at the home center. This temporary promotion may be converted to permanent without further competition.”
In other space-related news, a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse will stretch across the United States on August 21.