From the title, you may have guessed the content of this week’s post. This week, I’m going to write down a bunch of really awesome jobs you probably weren’t aware existed. You may have noticed that this isn’t the sort of thing that I usually write about. If you noticed that, you are entirely right. Me and pythonguy are cooking up something really awesome for next week. So this is just to tide you over until that happens. If you ask for spoilers, I will give you spoilers. But that would spoil it. Anyway, over the course of my research into the various things that have appeared on this blog, I’ve found out about a load of really awesome jobs that I had no idea even existed. So I thought you might want to see them. Here we go.
These guys are the most hardcore people I have ever heard of. They are firefighters, who specialise in forest fires (particularly on the West Coast of America). What they do is get in a plane, fly over the fire and parachute onto the fire. They jump out of planes and land in fires. Wearing full firefighter gear. With a parachute. Although, they don’t plan to actually land in the fire. I quote:
We plan to land nearby, not in, the fire. At least, that’s the plan.
And on top of that, they sometimes go down carrying chainsaws. To chop down burning trees. So next time you feel that your life is getting too exciting, just picture a chainsaw-wielding man parachuting out of a plane into the middle of a forest fire.
- Impact scientist at NASA
This doesn’t sound nearly as interesting, right? These guys just study craters and impacts and stuff. And occasionally make their own impact to study it in real time. They do this by taking a three-story high cannon and firing at things to see what happens. They can fire objects the size of grapes at speeds in excess of 16000 miles per hour (7.5 km/second) at whatever catches their fancy. Don’t mess with these guys. They can do this to solid steel.
I work at the Hypervelocity Impact Testing lab. I get to blow shit up for a living.
- Medical marijuana tester
Says it all, doesn’t it?
- Chief Smell Tester at NASA
This job is currently filled by George Aldrich, who has the most sensitive nose of any person in the world. His job is literally to smell all the things that get put into space. When you’re in orbit for five months and something starts to whiff, you can’t just roll down the window and throw it out. So George checks if anything being sent up has any smell at all. If he can smell anything at all, that object will not go to space. If he can’t smell it, it doesn’t have a smell. There’s also a bit about how smells are often a precursor to toxicity and bacterial infection. But no one cares about that. He is the Chief Smell Tester.
Those of you fluent in Ancient Greek and/or Latin will be able to work out what there people do. They study the biology of aliens. Which you think would be a fairly scare field of study. But it turns out that there are thousands of people working out what aliens might be like, what conditions they could live in and whether those conditions could occur. They’re the people who get a shout out whenever it turns out that Mars or Enceladus or Europa or Titan or a comet could support life. And then get shouted down when they say that life as we know it couldn’t exist there. Although some sea plankton were recently found on the outside of the ISS, living perfectly happily 400km above the sea. So who knows, really?