Indiana University astrobiologist hired by NASA to protect earth from aliens

Last year we told you that NASA was hiring someone to be its real-life guardian of the planet. Well, they’ve filled the position, and we now have an Indiana University astrobiologist to rely on to protect us from aliens.

Posted: Jan 29, 2018 3:54 PM

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Last year we told you that NASA was hiring someone to be its real-life guardian of the planet. Well, they’ve filled the position, and we now have an Indiana University astrobiologist to rely on to protect us from aliens, our partner station, CBS 4 in Indianapolis first reported. 

Lisa Pratt, Provost Professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, has been named the planetary protection officer at NASA.

The position is responsible for the protection of Earth from potential contamination by extraterrestrial life forms, including potential microorganisms that could live in the ice or groundwater of Mars, as well as preventing accidental transportation of Earth’s microbes to other planets through exploratory probes — or the boots of astronauts.

In other words, Pratt’s responsibilities include ensuring humans don’t contaminate space, and other organisms don’t contaminate Earth. So basically, she will need to stave off an alien invasion if necessary.

“I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the mission of planetary protection at a defining moment in human evolution and the advancement of science,” said Pratt. “We are on the verge of becoming a spacefaring species, and I feel privileged to be invited into an extraordinary conversation, pushing the frontiers of science, exploration and discovery at NASA. This position plays a direct role in seeking evidence to address a profound question: Are we alone?”

Pratt has been a member of the IU faculty since 1987, where her research focuses on understanding how microorganisms adapt to extreme environments.

“If life does exist on Mars, which is a big ‘if,’ then we have a brief window of time remaining in which extraterrestrial life can be studied in near-isolation from terrestrial life,” she added.

Her position with NASA, at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., begins February 5. She will become a professor emerita at IU.

To see the original story, click here. 

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 34574

Reported Deaths: 2134
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9853578
Lake3616190
Allen161869
Cass15877
Elkhart132228
St. Joseph127434
Hendricks116971
Hamilton115993
Johnson1105108
Madison58659
Porter53928
Bartholomew51135
Clark50441
LaPorte43323
Howard40828
Tippecanoe4023
Jackson3891
Delaware38537
Shelby37322
Hancock33827
Floyd31839
Boone31535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2742
Montgomery24117
White2358
Noble23221
Clinton2321
Decatur22431
Grant21122
Dubois1993
Harrison19422
Henry18211
Greene16924
Vigo1698
Dearborn16821
Monroe16612
Warrick16628
Lawrence16324
Miami1401
Putnam1377
Kosciusko1351
Jennings1304
Orange12822
Scott1203
Franklin1108
Ripley1096
Marshall1082
Carroll932
Daviess8816
Steuben832
Wayne825
LaGrange812
Wabash782
Newton7810
Fayette777
Jasper671
Washington521
Jay520
Clay511
Fulton491
Rush472
Randolph473
Pulaski460
Jefferson451
Whitley423
Starke393
DeKalb371
Sullivan361
Owen351
Brown331
Perry330
Wells320
Benton300
Huntington282
Knox280
Tipton251
Blackford252
Crawford240
Fountain212
Switzerland200
Spencer201
Parke180
Gibson172
Posey160
Adams151
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0167

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 120260

Reported Deaths: 5390
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook779253642
Lake8331291
DuPage7707373
Kane6338178
Will5566276
Winnebago225155
McHenry156672
St. Clair113782
Kankakee91045
Kendall79819
Rock Island65824
Champaign6407
Madison58060
Boone45217
DeKalb4164
Sangamon35129
Jackson28610
Randolph2704
Peoria2339
McLean22013
Ogle2063
Stephenson2062
Macon19319
Clinton18617
Union15411
LaSalle15313
Whiteside14013
Iroquois1324
Coles12715
Out of IL1181
Warren1170
Jefferson10116
Knox1000
Grundy982
Monroe9512
McDonough8811
Unassigned850
Lee811
Cass730
Tazewell735
Henry690
Williamson672
Pulaski560
Marion500
Jasper457
Macoupin452
Adams441
Perry410
Vermilion401
Montgomery391
Morgan361
Christian354
Livingston342
Jo Daviess320
Douglas280
Jersey241
Fayette213
Ford201
Menard200
Woodford192
Mason180
Washington180
Hancock170
Mercer170
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll152
Schuyler130
Bond121
Franklin120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Moultrie110
Piatt110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson80
Effingham71
Massac70
Saline70
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Edgar10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Terre Haute
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 75°
Robinson
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 78°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 73°
Rockville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 70°
Casey
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 75°
Brazil
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 75°
Marshall
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 75°
A warm up on the way.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events