Europe seeks chief space explorer
Candidate will be responsible for guiding Europe's space ambitions.
The Paris-based European Space Agency is seeking a new director-general to work on everything from potential missions to the moon to efforts to avoid an asteroid apocalypse.
The term of the incumbent, German Jan Wörner, comes to an end in the middle of next year and the race to find his replacement will likely become political. Germany recently overtook France to become the largest single contributor to ESA’s budget.
The ESA isn’t an EU agency and gets its own cash injection of close to €6 billion on average each year from its 22 member countries. However, the agency works closely with the European Commission on managing the bloc’s own Galileo and Copernicus satellite systems.
The ESA director general job will include steering ambitious projects to deflect asteroids (working with NASA) and a joint initiative with Russia to send probes to Mars, in addition to the development of the Gateway space station set to be placed in orbit around the moon.
Crucially, the position also involves calibrating Europe’s long-term space ambitions, according to the job description posted Thursday.
Candidates will need to show they have experience of serving in top-level posts, according to the advert, and before stargazers and UFO hunters consider a tilt at the position, there is one requirement to bear in mind: “Experience in space-related matters would be highly desirable.”
The deadline for applications is August 31.