NASA recently announced a job opening for “Planetary Protection Officer,” looking for the people with advanced degrees and experience of interplanetary missions. As a child, we all had ambitions to join space companies like NASA. However, we never thought of sending a job application right away.
Jack Davis, a fourth grader, applied for the position of planetary protection officer; a position established in 1967 that pays up to $187,000. The role of the officer is to protect the outside world from the germs on the spacecraft that we launch. He is also responsible for protecting our planet from the microbes that astronauts might bring back from the space. Space does not necessarily mean other planets, but also our moon, and Jupiter’s icy moon Europa that is potentially habitable.
The best way to make through life successfully is by exploring all the possibilities, and little Davis seems to have learned that. His letter to the space agency is just the proof of his determination and firm belief.
NASA did not only reply to the child but also posted the letter in a press release.
The letter reads:
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 almost all the space movies and alien movies I can see. I have also seen the show Marvel Agents of Shield and hope to see the movie Men in Black. I am great at vidieo [sic] games. I am young, so I can learn to think like an alien.
Guardian of the Galaxy
NASA strives to spread awareness about the space in young minds while cultivating a learning interest to boost their sense of planetary protection. This time, NASA did not dismiss the letter but sent out a reply to keep the kid’s hopes alive.
The letter says:
I hear you are a ‘Guardian of the Galaxy’ and that you’re interested in being a NASA Planetary Protection Officer. That’s great!
Our Planetary Protection Officer position is really cool and is very important work. It’s about protecting Earth from tiny 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 responsibly 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!
Dr. James L. Green
Director, Planetary Science Division”
If sending out a reply does not sound enough to plant the seed for a future NASA scientist, you will be amazed to know what happened next. The planetary research director at the space agency, Jonathan Rall, personally called the young boy to congratulate him on his interest.
The press release reads, “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.”