August 08, 2017: NASA has sent an inspiring letter to a nine-year-old who expressed interest in being a Planetary Protection Officer after the US space agency recently announced an opening for the position.
Nine-year-old Jack Davis from New Jersey is a self-proclaimed “Guardian of the Galaxy” and he reached out to NASA in a letter to express his interest in serving as the agency’s Planetary Protection Officer.
“My name is Jack Davis and I would like to apply for the planetary protection officer job. I may be nine but I think I would be fit for the job. One of the reasons is my sister says I am an alien also I have seen all the space and alien movies I can see…,” Davis wrote in his letter signing it off as Jack Davis, Guardian of the Galaxy, Fourth Grade”.
In response, NASA’s Planetary Science Director Jim Green wrote back to him.
“I hear that you are a “Guardian of the Galaxy” and that you’re interested in being a NASA Planetary Protection Officer. That’s great!” Green said.
Although the Planetary Protection Officer position may not be in real-life what the title conjures up, it does play an important role in promoting the responsible exploration of our solar system by preventing microbial contamination of other planets and our own.
“Our Planetary Protection Officer position is really cool and is very important work. It’s about protecting Earth from tine microbes when we bring back samples from the Moon, asteroids and Mars. It’s also about protecting other planets and moons from our germs as we responsible explore the Solar System.
“We are always looking for bright future scientists and engineers to help us, so I hope you will study hard and do well in school. We hope to see you here at NASA one of these days!” Green said in his letter to Davis.
He also received a phone call from NASA’s Planetary Research Director, Jonathan Rall at NASA Headquarters in Washington, to congratulate him on his interest in the position.
The US government’s official employment site advertised the job which is open to US citizens and nationals for applications until August 14.
The person who lands the job will draw a six figure salary — $124,406 to $187,000 per year.
Candidates must have “broad engineering expertise,” and should be an expert in planetary protection.
“This includes demonstrated technical expertise to independently form technically sound judgments and evaluations in considerably complex situations,” according to the advert.