Business Insider's headline sounded more like something from the National Enquirer: "NASA has a job opening for someone to defend Earth from aliens and it pays a six-figure salary."
So we put our Verify fact checkers on the case and they confirmed it’s not fake news. It's the real deal, and the job is posted here. Here's the scoop in a nutshell:
Job description: Defend Earth and other planets
Pay: $124,406 to $187,000 plus benefits
Title: Planetary Protection Officer
We did a little more digging and learned it’s not quite as sexy as it sounds.
The job was created as part of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 to protect planets and other celestial bodies from contamination by explorers – human and otherwise.
NASA says the PPO's duties includes making sure space ships aren't carrying contamination to -- or from -- Earth.
As PPO, you won’t be traveling to other planets, but frequent travel is part of the job description. And since it's part of an international mission, you'll probably get to visit space centers around the world.
And you do get secret security clearance, but you don’t get to battle aliens or brandish high-tech weapons (that we know of).
Not quite as cool as the alien fighters in "Men in Black."
Before you get ready to fire off that resume, you need to know a few of the out-of-this-world requirements:
- Advanced degree in physical science, engineering or mathematics
- Advanced knowledge of planetary protection
- Demonstrated experience planning, executing or overseeing elements of space programs of national significance
- Demonstrated diplomatic skills
- At least one year of experience as a top-level civilian government employee
Still interested? Earthlings have until August 14 to apply.
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