Last week, the mainstream media fell all over itself to inaccurately report the details of NASA’s latest, and highest profile, job opening: a new position entitled Planetary Protection Officer. While the actual posting NASA placed on the government job board USAJobs called for an expert in planning, executing, or overseeing space missions of national significance to primarily protect alien ecosystems from Earth-borne contaminants, just about every news outlet with a webpage announced that NASA was on the hunt for our generation’s James T. Kirk.
That’s not all bad news, however, as the social media shares those outlets garnered through less than reputable means invariably led to NASA garnering a great deal more attention than they normally might. If NASA had posted an opening for a “bacterial contaminant specialist,” the four-letter acronym that represents our country’s official space faring outfit likely wouldn’t have been a trending topic over the weekend, and nine-year-old Jack Davis may never have come across the posting. Young Jack did find it, though, and he promptly hand wrote his own application.
My name is Jack Davis and I would like to apply for the planetary protection officer job,” the fourth-grader wrote. “I may be nine but 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 I can see.”