NASA Wants to Pay You a Six-Figure Salary to Protect the Earth From Aliens—Seriously

Welcome to your next career change.

nasaVladi333/ShutterstockNo need to star in a sci-fi movie to experience action that’s, ahem, out of this world. (But if you’re still interested, just head on over to Disney’s Star Wars Land.)

NASA is currently hiring a Planetary Protection Officer, whose job description is exactly what it sounds like: The successful candidate will “protect the planet from potential alien contamination,” Newsweek reports. More specifically, the PPO—if can we call it that—will prevent astronauts and robots from unintentionally bringing back any organic or biological material after traveling in space.

Laugh away, skeptics. Aliens might actually exist; there’s even a star sending radio waves to Earth right this second.

You can find the official job listing posted on the U.S. government’s website. The three-year contract would offer a salary between $124,000 and $187,000 per year. After those three years end, NASA could extend the contract for another two years.

And rolling in cash won’t be the only perk. If you land the job, you can look forward to several future missions that are currently in the works. Our favorite: a jaunt to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa to search for extraterrestrial life.

The role’s main responsibilities include leading all activities related to a NASA mission’s planetary protection needs, as well as advising NASA officials regarding the biological pros and cons of certain objectives.

“The Planetary Protection Officer (PPO) is responsible for the leadership of NASA’s planetary protection capability, maintenance of planetary protection policies, and oversight of their implementation by NASA’s space flight missions,” the job listing says.

NASA is looking for candidates with “broad engineering expertise” and experience in planetary protection, according to the post. They also request that applicants have a degree in physical science, engineering, or mathematics. Good luck!

Would you rather explore space from the comfort of, well, gravity? Good news: You can now take a virtual tour of the International Space Station using Google Maps.

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Brooke Nelson
Brooke is a tech and consumer products writer covering the latest in digital trends, product reviews, security and privacy, and other news and features for