Some kids have a very clear image of what they want to be when they grow up from an early age. We all had big dreams about the future and we consider those who make them happen when they grow up extremely lucky.
An astronaut is an often answer kids give when asked what they want to become. We can’t deny it, it sounds cool. One young man wanted to become an astronaut so hard that he couldn’t handle the waiting – he wanted it right now.
Jack Davis is only nine years old and already proactively looking for a job. Specifically, he wants the job of planetary protection officer, and he wrote a letter to NASA applying for it. NASA has recently listed this role with a brief explanation – the planetary protection officer aims to protect Earth stopping contamination from “extraterrestrial targets of exploration”.
Jack carefully crafted the letter and sent it to 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 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.
Guardian of the Galaxy
Image credit: NASA
Jack probably didn’t expect to receive a reply from NASA, so imagine his surprise when the letter arrived. Dr James L Green wrote him an encouraging letter congratulating him on his interest in the role.
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
Image credit: NASA