Sorry, But the Job of Planetary Protection Officer is Already Taken

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Did you know that NASA has a Planetary Protection Officer? Well, they do, and her name is Catharine Conley.

Unfortunately, she does not have superpowers, and the planet she’s in charge of protecting is Mars, not Earth. Also unfortunately, NASA seems to have ignored her during the preparation for the launch of the Curiosity lander, in the process violating its Prime Directive and possibly introducing terrestrial microbes to Mars. We just don’t do a very good job of protecting planets, do we?

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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