In a 2006 study of jury decision making, social psychologist Samuel Sommers of Tufts University found that racially diverse groups exchanged a wider range of information during deliberation about a sexual assault case than all-white groups did. In collaboration with judges and jury administrators in a Michigan courtroom, Sommers conducted mock jury trials with a group of real selected jurors. Although the participants knew the mock jury was a court-sponsored experiment, they did not know that the true purpose of the research was to study the impact of racial diversity on jury decision making.
Clearly, NASA is not hiring anyone to defend the planet from the sorts of alien invaders depicted in stories like these , and this person will not be calling the shots ( Independence Day -style) against extraterrestrial belligerents. What this job posting is actually about is very simple and not at all newsworthy: NASA is hiring a planetary protection officer to make sure that spacecraft from Earth don’t contaminate other worlds, and that we don’t bring back potentially dangerous alien microbes from anywhere else. Currently, NASA’s “office” of planetary protection includes just one member, Dr. Cassie Conley .