When I was growing up, I wrote the guys and gals at NASA enough letters to fill a space shuttle.  I was sure I could be the first kid in space.  My Dad tried to throw out some figures concerning the cost of miniature space suits, something something lack of training, blah blah blah.  I was too busy writing epic, mid space-walk speeches just riddled with well-hidden fart jokes lurking below the magnanimous words I would transmit across the world to celebrate my achievement and immaturity.  It was gonna be great.  Turns out my Dad was right, and I had no shot (outside of switching places with that hyper-intelligent chimp) of getting into space.  Damn you Mission Commander Bubbles!

Fuse, ThinkStock Images

What NASA did do was pretty freaking cool.  I came home from school one day to find a gigantic package waiting for me from Houston's Johnson Space Center that I assumed was a space suit and a slice of humble pie for my old man.  What I found instead captures my imagination to this day.  They sent me a treasure trove of very large, very glossy pictures and declassified technical schematics.  The photos prominently showcased static vehicles of all types (rockets, satellites, orbiters, landers, etc), high res photos of launches, and a whole bunch of telescopic pictures taken of spacecraft taken from earth during the various stages of their missions.

I never got to space, but NASA still has a place for me.  The slide-rule crew in Houston is looking for someone to enhance our planetary protection capability - the official title is Planetary Protection Officer.  The job is pretty simple - make sure our space missions don't bring back anything "Nasty."  And by "Nasty," I mean the "avoidance of organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration."  The job pays roughly $187,000 per year.

According to the job listing on USAJOBS, they are looking for a select individual with "advanced knowledge of Planetary Protection."  I've got this in the bag!  Combine my knowledge of our space programs, and my near photographic memory of both the Alien and the Predator universes - and you've got the guy who can protect the planet and spit out witty one-liners.

Apply if you want, but I already got the job (pretty sure, anyway).  I've started sending them letters again.  I know how to break them.

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