The Office of Planetary Protection
UPDATE: UN to Appoint Ambassador to Outer Space, Green Power Ring Not Provided
According to The Telegraph, Mazlan Othman, a Malaysian astrophysicist, will soon be appointed to a brand new international position: being the person who coordinates our response to first contact with alien life. The move has reportedly been prompted by the recent discoveries of hundreds of exoplanets orbiting other stars. Currently she is the head of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, a job she was first appointed to by Kofi Annan in 1999, though her other accomplishments include becoming the first Malaysian astrophysicist in history, and helping put the first Malaysian man into space. According to
Professor Richard Crowther, an expert in space law at the UK space agency who leads delegations to the UN... “Othman is absolutely the nearest thing we have to a ‘take me to your leader’ person”.There's got to be a better title for that job. We trust the UN, which is quite capable of giving programs names with disproportionate coolness to their actual purpose (I'm looking at you, UN-SPIDER). Too bad Planetary Protection Officer is already taken.Read on...
NASA Drafts Our Prime DirectiveNASA has an Office of Planetary Protection. It's where the Officer of Planetary Protection works. And that may be the most awesome thing I've heard all week. Goodnight everybody! ...Just kidding. But there really is an Office of Planetary Protection at NASA, and its job is to keep us from irretrievably screwing up interaction between terrestrial life and extra-terrestrial life (or possible extra-terrestrial life). Boing Boing has an article up about the ever-changing job of creating the protocol that we use to avoid horrible science fiction disasters.Read on...