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    The Planetary Protection Officer (PPO) is responsible for the leadership of NASA's planetary protection capability, maintenance of planetary protection policies, and oversight of requirement implementation by NASA's space flight missions. Planetary protection refers to the policy and practice of assuring no harm from biological or organic-molecular contamination to Earth and solar system bodies resulting from robotic and human space exploration.

    Learn more about this agency


    The Planetary Protection Officer will:

    - Assess NASA's planetary protection technical capability, challenges, and opportunities. Lead planning and coordination of activities related to NASA mission planetary protection needs.

    - Oversee the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (OSMA) planetary protection research and development activities to advance scientific knowledge, tools, methods, processes, training and guidance materials. Work in coordination with the program scientist for planetary protection research to annually establish funding priorities for proposals submitted to Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science (ROSES).

    - Lead independent evaluation of, and provide advice regarding, compliance by robotic and human spaceflight missions with NASA planetary protection policies, statutory requirements and international obligations on behalf of the Chief, OSMA.

    - Advise the Chief, OSMA and other officials regarding the merit and implications of programmatic decisions involving risks to planetary protection objectives. Serve as NASA liaison to inter-agency, international and commercial planetary protection forums to promote consistency with international and science-based guidelines. In coordination with relevant offices, lead interactions with Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), National Academies, and NASA's Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) committees on planetary protection matters.

    - Promote internal and external awareness of planetary protection objectives and practices considering scientific discoveries, emerging technical capabilities, return to human exploration, and the growth of private sector space activities.

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential


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    Conditions Of Employment

    • The individual selected will be required to file an Executive Branch Personnel Financial Disclosure Report (OGE-278) in accordance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.
    • Successful completion of a background investigation commensurate with the risk and sensitivity level of the position.
    • Successful completion of pre-employment and random drug screening may be required.
    • Must meet qualifications requirements by the closing date of this announcement.


    Candidates must be a recognized subject matter expert with at least 1 year of directly related specialized experience equivalent to the GS-15 level below:

    (1) Demonstrated experience with the requirements and mission categories of Planetary Protection, which is the policy and practice of assuring no harm from biological or organic-molecular contamination to Earth and solar system bodies resulting from robotic and human space exploration. This includes demonstrated technical expertise to independently form technically sound judgments and risk assessment in considerably complex situations.
    (2) Demonstrated experience planning, executing, or overseeing elements of programs of national significance related to scientific exploration and resource utilization across the solar system or in relevant analogue environments on Earth. These elements include but are not limited to developing requirements, performing technical assessments, and preparing recommendations to leadership.
    (3) Demonstrated experience building coalitions amongst organizations to achieve common goals and deliver win-win solutions during extremely difficult and complex multilateral discussions.

    Your resume must include a clear and detailed narrative description, in your own words, of how you meet the required specialized experience. Experience statements copied from a position description, vacancy announcement, or other reference material constitutes plagiarism and may result in disqualification and losing consideration for the job.

    To meet the minimum qualification requirements for this position, you MUST address each Senior Level (SL) Evaluation Criteria separately not to exceed a total of ten (10) pages. If you fail to do so, your application will be rated ineligible. For the full definition of the SL Evaluation Criteria and Process click here. Please include your full name on all documents submitted.


    1. Education Level and Training

    Technical Excellence and Contributions
    a. Experience/Accomplishments
    b. Technical and Strategic Problem Solving
    c. Information Transfer

    3. Awards and Recognition

    4. Outside Professional Activities

    5. Corporate Cooperation and Technical Leadership Skills


    This position has a positive education requirement. To be eligible, you must clearly state in your resume the following: degree, major and/or minor, and college/university.

    A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with major study in engineering, physical science, mathematics, life sciences, computer science, or other field of science.

    SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR FOREIGN EDUCATION: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs. These education credentials must be deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For further information, click here.

    Additional information

    This position is full-time remote and the duties can be performed from anywhere. The candidate's duty station location will be determined after selection.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    All qualifications requirements must be met by the closing date of the announcement. You will be evaluated based on how well you meet the qualifications above. To determine your qualifications and referral status, we may review your resume and supporting documentation and compare it against your responses to the assessment questionnaire. Overstating your qualifications and/or experience in your application materials or assessment questionnaire may result in your removal from consideration.

    You will be assessed on the following competencies:

    • Astrobiology
    • Conflict Management
    • Contamination Control
    • External Awareness
    • Oral Communications
    • Partnering
    • Policy Management
    • Program and Project Management
    • Risk Management
    Under NASA's category rating process, applicants will be assessed on the position competencies and placed in one of three categories identified and defined below:
    • Best Qualified Category - Applicants who demonstrate a superior level of all evaluation criteria.
    • Highly Qualified Category - Applicants who demonstrate a satisfactory level of the evaluation criteria.
    • Qualified Category - Applicants who demonstrate the basic qualifications, with general knowledge, skills, and abilities.
    Names of all qualified candidates in the Best Qualified category will be referred to a panel of subject matter experts (unless a sufficient number of qualified veterans are found - in which case only those names will be initially certified). Candidates within the Best Qualified category who are eligible for veterans' preference will receive selection priority over non-veteran preference eligibles. The panel will further evaluate candidates against the Senior Level (SL) evaluation criteria under the "Qualifications" section of this vacancy announcement.

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance


    Drug test required


    Position sensitivity and risk

    Noncritical-Sensitive (NCS)/Moderate Risk

    Trust determination process

    National security

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    Required Documents

    You must provide a complete application package. If you do not provide all required information and requested supporting documents, you will not be considered for this position.

    1. Resume showing relevant work experience (start/end dates stated in month/year, description of duties), applicable education at a minimum, and your contact information. For current or previous Federal employees, it should also include the Pay Plan, Series and Grade for each work experience entry. Please limit your resume to 10 pages. If more than 10 pages are submitted, only the first 10 pages will be reviewed to determine your eligibility/qualifications.

    2. SL Evaluation Criteria narrative responses. Please limit your responses to 10 pages. If more than 10 pages are submitted, only the first 10 pages will be reviewed to determine your eligibility/qualifications.

    You may be asked to provide additional documentation to support your eligibility and the information provided in your application package. For example, we may request transcripts, SF-50s, etc. Therefore, we encourage you to have these documents prepared and ready when requested by the agency. If you fail to provide the required documents within the stated time period, we may withdraw a job offer and/or remove you from further consideration.

    If you are a veteran and you are claiming veterans' preference, we may request a DD214, Certificate of Release from Active Duty, which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions. For more information on veterans' preference and possible other supporting documents that you may have to submit, please visit https: NASA's SL Application Process and Evaluation Criteria or FedsHireVets.

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    A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding.


    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

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    How to Apply

    To apply for this position, you must complete the online application and submit the documentation specified in the "Required Documents" section.

    A complete application package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (ET) on the closing date of the announcement to receive consideration.

    • To begin, click Apply to access the online application. You will need to be logged into your USAJOBS account to apply. If you do not have a USAJOBS account, you will need to create one before beginning the application.
    • Follow the prompts to select your résumé and/or other supporting documents to be included with your application package. You will have the opportunity to upload additional documents to include in your application before it is submitted. Your uploaded documents may take several hours to clear the virus scan process.
    • After acknowledging you have reviewed your application package, complete the Include Personal Information section as you deem appropriate and click to continue with the application process.
    • You will be taken to the online application which you must complete in order to apply for the position. Complete the online application, verify the required documentation is included with your application package, and submit the application.
    To verify the status of your application, log into your USAJOBS account (https://my.usajobs.gov/Account/Login), all of your applications will appear on the Welcome screen. The Application Status will appear along with the date your application was last updated. For information on what each Application Status means, visit: https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/how-to/application/status/.

    If you are unable to apply online or need to fax a document you do not have in electronic form, view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application.

    Agency contact information

    NASA Executive Staffing


    NASA Headquarters
    300 E St SW
    Washington, DC 20546
    Learn more about this agency

    At NASA, we are united by a common purpose: to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind. Our diverse set of engineering, scientific, aeronautics and space exploration missions are leaving an enduring impact on humanity. As our missions grow more complex, we will rely on leaders with vision, creativity, and programmatic and technical expertise to lead us into the new era of exploration. In addition to programmatic knowledge, NASA's strong leadership cadre also plays a vital role in empowering our diverse workforce to achieve our shared goals. At NASA, the key to our success is our people. Join us and contribute to work that matters, while helping us create and sustain an environment that fosters excellence, teamwork, inclusiveness, safety and integrity. Align your talents with your passion, and find out why NASA is consistently named a best place to work in the federal government. Join us as we explore the extraordinary, every day.

    Visit our careers page

    Learn more about what it's like to work at Headquarters, NASA, what the agency does, and about the types of careers this agency offers.


    Next steps

    Although you may or may not be contacted during the selection process, we will always advise you about the outcome of the announcement. If you have questions, please feel free to contact NASA Executive Staffing at Agency-Executive-Staffing@mail.nasa.gov.

Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy And gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Legal and regulatory guidance

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/594075800. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.