NASA generated headlines with its recent job posting for someone in its Office of Safety and Mission Assurance for Planetary Protection – and spurred the most brilliant cover letter ever:
My name is Jack Davis and I would like to apply for the for the planetary protection officer job. I may be 9, 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 and alien movies that I can see. I have also seen the show ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and hope to see the movie ‘Men in Black.’ I am great at video games. I am young, so I can learn to think like an alien.
Guardian of the Galaxy
The NASA post seeks someone to protect Mother Earth when space exploration missions go into the final frontier.
“NASA maintains policies for planetary protection applicable to all space flight missions that may intentionally or unintentionally carry Earth organisms and organic constituents to the planets or other solar system bodies, and any mission employing spacecraft, which are intended to return to Earth and its biosphere with samples from extraterrestrial targets of exploration,” the job post reads.
It pays up to $187,000. Here’s the job listing.
The position has been around for decades but recently went into orbit, pardon the pun, no doubt thanks to the word “extraterrestrial” in the job description. The ensuing buzz may explain why the precocious youngster from New Jersey decided to set his sights on the gig.
Dr. James L. Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division, took the time to respond:
“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,” it read. “We hope to see you here at NASA one of these days!”
Green also worked in a little clarification about the job: “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.”
Here are both letters, which NASA has posted on its official site: