NASA to 9-year-old applicant for alien-protection job: Maybe

Commentary: Jack Davis, a self-styled Guardian of the Galaxy, applies for a gig as NASA's planetary protection officer. The space agency offers him hope.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

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NASA didn't say no, Jack. 


The Earth seems to have spun at twice its normal speed since NASA announced it was looking for someone to protect the planet from aliens. 

And someone to protect aliens from our, well, worst habits.

The position of planetary protection officer, for which applications are now being accepted, is important and prestigious. It means trying to make sure neither side infects the other. And it carries a salary of between $124,406 and $187,000 a year.

Still, Jack Davis applied for the job not because of the money, but because he's a Guardian of the Galaxy.

Yes, he's only 9. But his letter offered excellent reasons as to why he should be considered. 

"My sister says I am an alien also, I have seen almost all the space and alien movies I can see," he wrote.

Even more powerfully, he added, "I am young, so I can learn to think like an alien."

The logic is brilliant. After all, the more we begin to know about what (and who) is out there, the more we'll have to train our young to communicate with them, learn from them, protect ourselves from them and even conquer them. 

NASA was clearly moved by Jack's note. He received a call from Planetary Research Director Jonathan Rall. 

But it was the letter from Dr. James L. Green, director of NASA's Planetary Service Division, that may have given Jack the most hope. Green wrote to Jack and said it was great to receive an application from a real-life Guardian.

He explained what the job entailed. But here's the most important thing: He didn't turn Jack down.

Instead, he wrote: "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!"

Jack, play your cards right and I think you might have an interview. We need all the Guardians we can get.

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