9-year-old applies to be NASA's 'Planetary Protection Officer' - WDRB 41 Louisville News

9-year-old applies to be NASA's 'Planetary Protection Officer'

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Photo by: NASA Photo by: NASA

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Move over aliens: a fourth grader says he's ready to defend the planet.

According to NASA, the elementary school student recently mailed the space agency a letter applying for the job of "Planetary Protection Officer."

The job opening was announced last month. According to the job posting, the position involves, "the avoidance of organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration."

"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 posting states.

Protecting Earth from extraterrestrial threats? Nine-year-old Jack Davis says he's up for the job. In a letter to NASA, dated Aug. 3, he told the space agency that he wants to throw his hat into the ring:

Dear NASA,

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 of the space 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 video games.

I am young, so I can learn to think like an alien.


Jack Davis
Guardian of the Galaxy
Fourth Grade

The letter prompted a response from Dr. James L. Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division:

Dear Jack,

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

The 9-year-old also got a personal phone call from Jonathan Rall, NASA's Planetary Research Director, who congratulated him on his interest. 

Copies of the letters, provided by NASA, appear below:

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