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NASA is Hiring a Planetary Protection Officer

By July 21, 2017May 7th, 2018No Comments
photo of a NASA rover on Mars planet for the blog post about NASAs Planetary Protection Officer

How interesting would this job would be?! To be our government’s Planetary Protection Officer.

The words, language, what you say, what you don’t say, travel, meeting people from around the world. I would imagine this to be a dream job for a communications officer or public affairs officer.

Well, if you are qualified and interested, you can apply for NASA’s PPO position at USAJOBS (link here). You can learn more about NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection here.


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. 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.

Current Agency policy requires the SL appointments be time-limited. The initial appointment will be for 3 years, with the possibility of extending for an additional 2 years. The selectee for this position will receive a temporary promotion. Employee will then return to a grade level no lower than the grade previously held at the home center. This temporary promotion may be converted to permanent without further competition.


The Planetary Protection Officer (PPO) is responsible for the leadership of NASA’s planetary protection capability, maintenance of planetary protection policies, and oversight of their implementation by NASAs space flight missions. The PPO also supports the Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) Technical Authority and serves as a principal advisory resource for the Chief, SMA and other senior officials on matters pertaining to planetary protection. The PPO is the Agency’s focal point for interactions with external organizations on matters related to planetary protection. Primarily the Planetary Protection Officer performs the following:

  • Leads planning and coordination of activities related to NASA mission planetary protection needs.
  • Leads independent evaluation of, and provides advice regarding, compliance by robotic and human spaceflight missions with NASA planetary protection policies, statutory requirements and international obligations.
  • Advises the Chief, SMA and other officials regarding the merit and implications of programmatic decisions involving risks to planetary protection objectives.
  • In coordination with relevant offices, leads interactions with COSPAR, National Academies, and advisory committees on planetary protection matters.
  • Recommends and leads the preparation of new or revised NASA standards and directives in accordance with established processes and guidelines.

Photography Source: NASA

Dave Michaels

About Dave Michaels

Dave Michaels helps organizations accelerate their growth. Over the past 10 years, his specialty has been to help companies communicate what makes them special to find their best possible markets and customers. He has an MBA in entrepreneurship and a Masters certificate in integrated marketing communications. He’s managed a marketing agency, run marketing campaigns for companies of all sizes, and set up formal sales and marketing programs within existing businesses.