No, NASA is not seeking to protect humans from aliens, but rather to protect alien life from human contamination.
NASA is raising eyebrows with a new job posting that would involve hiring a “Planetary Protection Officer” to protect from alien invaders. And it’s a pretty awesome job too, paying a staggering $187,000 per year, although the notion circulating out there that his or her job will be to protect the Earth from aliens is false – the job is actually there to protect other planets from an alien invasion of human beings and Earth-bound life.
You see, human beings are exploring like never before, trying to find evidence of microbial life on other planets. And it’s possible some cosmic bodies in our own solar system, like perhaps Mars, Titan, Enceladus, or others, have hosted or are currently hosting such life forms. But when we send robot probes or even human beings to explore, we can bring with us trace bacteria viruses that can contaminate alien worlds and lead to a false positive.
That’s why this new “Planetary Protection Officer” is needed. If we’re going to find life, we have to make sure we’re not contaminating a planet in such a way that it would be impossible to know if any organism detected was native to the planet or brought there by humans, and also, this Earth bacteria could represent a threat to alien life.
“This position is assigned to Office of Safety and Mission Assurance for Planetary Protection. Planetary protection is concerned with the avoidance of organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration,” the job posting states. “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. This policy is based on federal requirements and international treaties and agreements.”