Last week NASA advertised that it was looking for a new planetary protection officer. The role is designed to ensure that the space agency’s activities comply with a 50-year-old international treaty that sets standards for preventing biological contamination outside of Earth, and safeguarding the planet’s biosphere from any alien life.
Naturally, the intriguing job title, admirable salary and auspicious opportunity attracted numerous applicants. Among them was 9-year-old Jack Davis from New Jersey.
Davis took the application very seriously, and carefully wrote a handwritten application in pencil.
“Dear NASA, My name is Jack Davis and I would like to apply for the planetary protection officer job,” he wrote. “I may be nine but I think I would be fit for the job.”
Davis was quick to list his qualifications, namely that his sister already thought he was an alien, plus he has seen “almost all the space and alien movies I can see”, including the Marvel Agents of SHIELD (he concedes he is yet to see the Men in Black films). Young Davis signed off with “I am young, so I can learn to think like an alien.”
Like any good recruiter, James L Green, the director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division wrote back to Davis confirming receipt of his application. “I hear you are a ‘Guardian of the Galaxy’ and that you’re interested in being a NASA Planetary Protection Officer,” Green wrote. “That’s great!”
While Davis may not be successful this round, Green told him they were always on the look for future scientists and engineers. “I hope you will study hard and do well in school,” he wrote. “We hope to see you here at NASA one of these days!”