5 jobs with great alien-life balance

Leave your Earthly-bound cubicle forever! NASA has a new job opening for someone to defend the planet from alien invaders. This new Planetary Protection Officer would be given a six-figure salary to protect us from alien contamination as we explore the cosmos.

The role was created in 1967 after the U.S. ratified the Outer Space Treaty and promised to be careful about what we may bring back from space missions: “to avoid their harmful contamination and also adverse changes in the environment of the Earth resulting from the introduction of extraterrestrial matter.” The job is currently a full-time, three-year commitment that became vacant after our current Planetary Protection Officer vacated the role.

Aliens may seem like science fiction, but several leading scientists and thinkers are convinced they’re already walking among us. Tech billionaire Elon Musk wouldn’t rule out the possibility, saying that “if there are super intelligent aliens out there they are probably already observing us.”

Similarly, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking believes we are not alone, and he warns that the aliens we will meet may not be E.T.-friendly. Hawking is convinced that aliens would be “rapacious marauders roaming the cosmos in search of resources to plunder, and planets to conquer and colonize.” One of NASA’s own partners remains “absolutely convinced” that aliens exist.

So laugh now, but be aware that extraterrestrial life is no joking matter. You can prepare to become an ally of our future alien overlords by acquiring the skills needed to work remotely from Mars. Besides becoming a Defender of the Earth, here are jobs that are out of this world.


Smells get intensified in the heat and in confined spaces. This is bad enough in a car, but in outer space, you can’t just roll down a window and let it air out. You may be stuck with those obnoxious odors for years. One space mission was even aborted in 1976 because two cosmonauts couldn’t bear the smell of fuel in their air supply.

That’s why NASA has a Master Sniffer, George Aldrich, whose job is to smell everything an astronaut could encounter from fabrics to grease. Aldrich is part of an odor-testing panel that U.S. space missions must clear before launch.

By becoming a nasalnaut, you too could make one small sniff a big step for all of mankind.

Space lawyer

Where there’s adventure, there’s liability. You can join the frontiers of legal interstellar experts debating space tourism accidents and moon-mining mineral rights. Space lawyers even have their own legal journal. Hurry now, so you can address the risk concerns of the locations of satellites and signals. The Earth’s going to need a lawyer when the aliens make contact.

Space tour guide

Start brushing up on your astronomy. If you lack the physical and mental requirements to be an astronaut, a U.K.-backed report believes there may still be ways for you to get to outer space by becoming a space tour guide. The Microsoft and The Future Laboratory report identified this role as one of tomorrow’s jobs that will be in demand as technology breakthroughs make commercial space tourism viable.

Downside: You’ll probably have to know the name of every meteorite and asteroid.

Government UFO-verification expert

Got good communication skills? Become a liaison between aliens and the public. The U.K. Ministry of Defence has a UFO Desk Officer whose job is to investigate any sightings of extraterrestrial beings.

“Since the universe is a very large place and mankind has only explored a very small corner of it, we cannot rule out the existence of intelligent life on other planets,” the current UFO officer wrote in 2008 about their jobs, “We therefore remain open minded on the topic. In the absence of proof either way, this position seems a perfectly sensible one.”