My Application for NASA Planetary Protection Officer

Dear NASA,

Our planet is a fragile orb in a hostile galaxy. We face threats both here on Earth — climate change, the lizard people who live at the center of the planet, plastic grocery bags — as well as threats from "out there."

Whether it's asteroids, alien invaders, or the monster from "Cloverfield," we are rather vulnerable, given our reliance on 20th-century technology and a child's understanding of the threat that aliens present.

But a steady diet of movies, old Omni magazine reprints, and TBS' new comedy hit, "People Of Earth," I'm well aware of the lurking menace we face.

To that end, please find my application for the brand new post of Planetary Protection Officer at NASA.

I feel I would make a perfect candidate for the position, because of my varied experiences in planetary protection studies. My résumé is attached, but I would like to draw your attention to a few important details.

First, I have an outstanding record playing Space Invaders, both the original standup arcade, and later, Atari console game. I became an ace at shooting up through my own shields, and I was often asked by my sister to help her get that last guy.

I was also a dab hand at Asteroids, and am confident that a small crew and I could keep our planet safe from large, medium, and small space rocks. While I could easily fly a manned spacecraft, I believe a smarter strategy would be to develop a series of ships that could be controlled from Earth and deployed in sets of three.

I have also given some thoughts to several strategies and tactics I would develop during my tenure as PPO.

One is to train and equip elite ground troops to be deployed should aliens ever launch a ground attack. I've studied the tactics of Tom Cruise in "Edge Of Tomorrow" and Ellen Ripley from Aliens, and I believe if we were to equip our soldiers with those body suits with forklifts for hands, as well as machine guns on their shoulders — like War Machine from Iron Man 3 — we could give those little green bastards a run for their money.

I would also ask NASA scientists and leading physicists to develop hand-held phaser blasters, similar to those seen in Star Trek and Star Wars, and the plasma blaster from Predator. I realize the U.S. has enough guns that we could probably just drop the entire stockpile onto an invasion and wipe it out, but we may need them later since the battle is never over until you see their mother ship crashed in the desert.

Plus, the guns may be damaged by the alien blood, which as you know, is acid.

While we could use normal firearms, I worry about accuracy and reloading. Pistols are notoriously inaccurate, and semi-automatic rifles are only slightly more so, especially over a long distance. But phaser blasters have an endless energy supply and the bolts fly faster than bullets. If nothing else, a soldier would only have to press the trigger and fire a continuous laser to cut the invaders in half.

Of course, war should only be a last resort, and we should never ignore the lessons that Gene Rodenberry taught us through Star Trek. We should always seek the diplomatic solution first. After all, the aliens may actually only be an exploratory contingent, and eagerly blasting them into atoms may doom us all.

So I would also propose that we put a portion of our annual budget into developing a communications strategy. Since music is a universal language, I would assemble a crack team of musicians including Justin Bieber, Nickelback, and Skrillex to communicate musically with any alien ships that make contact with us.

If they manage to prevent our first intergalactic war, that would be wonderful. But if we're truly about to be invaded, I at least want to go to my own death knowing they died moments before I did.

Finally, while we're probably a couple centuries from cloaking technology — unless you know something I don't — I propose a similar solution that I call Project Disappearing Elephant.

We would collaborate with David Copperfield, who made the Statue of Liberty disappear in 1983, to place a series of mirrors around the planet to make it "vanish." I've taken the liberty of reaching out to Mr. Copperfield's people, and am awaiting a return call.

I read on your website that for this position, the ideal candidate will have "advanced knowledge of Planetary Protection," which I have demonstrated. He or she should also have experience overseeing nationally significant space programs, and have" skills in diplomacy that resulted in win-win solutions during extremely difficult and complex multilateral discussion."

To that end, I'm the father of three older children. And I've read the Star Trek book, The Kobayashi Maru, seven times.

Finally, I understand the position will require frequent travel. Can you tell me whether that's within the country, or will it require international travel? Or will there even be a need for off-planet travel as well? Another plus in my favor is that I don't suffer vertigo or get car sick. Also, I have a new passport.

I look forward to your reply. Thank you.

Photo credit: FitzFox (Pixabay, Creative Commons)

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