9-year-old applies for planetary protection job at NASA

When NASA announced it was hiring a “planetary protection officer,” a role designed to protect the planet from aliens, the space agency received applications from candidates of all ages.

Nine-year-old Jack Davis, a self-described “Guardian of the Galaxy,” was among them.

He threw his hat in the ring, undeterred by the job requirements, which include “advanced knowledge of Planetary Protection” and a degree in physical science, engineering, or mathematics.

“I may be nine but I think I would be fit for the job,” he wrote in a handwritten letter addressed to NASA.

The job posting describes planetary protection as the protection of earth from alien organisms, as well as the protection of other planets from earthly germs.

Davis listed his job qualifications in his letter. “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,” he wrote.


Nine-year-old space enthusiast Jack Davis applied for a job at NASA and actually received a reply.


He touted his age as an asset, too.

“I am young, so I can learn to think like an Alien,” he said.

NASA officials were impressed and reached out to Davis to say so.

Dr. James L. Green, the director of NASA’s planetary science division told Davis it’s “great” that he’s interested in being a NASA planetary protection officer.

He described the work as “really cool” and “very important.”


Jack Davis, 9, said he thought he was “fit” for the job of planetary protection officer at NASA.


“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,” Green wrote from NASA’s Washington headquarters.

He encouraged Davis to study hard, and said he hoped to see him at NASA one day.

The daring fourth-grader also received a congratulatory phone call from NASA’s planetary research director Jonathan Rall.

A NASA press release said that although the position “may not be in real-life what the title conjures up, it does play an important role in promoting the responsible exploration of our solar system by preventing microbial contamination of other planets and our own.”

NASA is accepting applications for the role through Aug. 14.


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