Most kids who dream of becoming astronauts tend to move on to other ventures. But Alyssa Carson was not like most kids.
Alyssa was three years old when she told her dad she wanted to be an astronaut, ‘and be one of the people who go to Mars’.
Little did her parents know that their child’s love for The Backyardigans—a TV show in which five animal friends go on imaginary adventures, including a mission to Mars—would turn into a lifelong obsession… one that would ultimately plot the course of her life.
Now a 17-year-old teenager, the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native’s interest in “the final frontier” still burns as strongly as ever.
As early as now, NASA is already an astronaut-in-training. That’s because in the year 2033, when she will be 32, Alyssa plans to become the first ever person to set foot on the planet Mars.
She will be sent by NASA to live on the planet over a two- to three-year period. Once there, she will grow food, perform science experiments, and attempt to discover signs of life.
Being the first person to complete the NASA Passport Program by going to all 14 NASA Visitor Centers, Alyssa is also the youngest person to be accepted and graduate the Advanced Possum Academy.
Aside from her astronaut training, the teenager is also juggling her school subjects in four languages (English, Chinese, French, and Spanish).
According to Alyssa, “The biggest [challenge] is time and getting everything done at such a young age while also still attending high school. Continuing to train at a young age will also be further difficulties for me but I have done great with it so far.”
Despite her young age, Alyssa has been spreading her message to hundreds of thousands of followers across her social media accounts.
She’s also a public speaker, and speaks to young girls and boys all over America with the aim of drawing interest to space exploration.
Another city, another Microsoft event! Hands up for DigiGirlz pic.twitter.com/jYGVHGPYcE— Alyssa Carson (@NASABlueberry1) March 31, 2018
She wants to encourage people to not give up on their ambitions.
“Always follow your dream and don’t let anyone take it from you,” she says.
“I did the same thing as other kids, like switching my mind about careers, wanting to be a teacher or the president one day.”
“But the way I always thought about it was I would become an astronaut, go to Mars, come back, and then be a teacher or the president,” she added.
Officially, NASA doesn’t accept applications for persons under 18, but the space agency is reportedly helping Alyssa realise her dreams.
The teen has taken part in several simulated missions, and has even built her own rockets and robotics and directed her fellow space cadets under her callsign ‘Blueberry’.
Her latest training was in April, which was an underwater course, the purpose of which is to prepare her for the disorienting effects of space.
One of the fun things I got to do today at Survival System. Just the start of 10 days of training with @PoSSUMAstronaut— Alyssa Carson (@NASABlueberry1) April 8, 2018
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Alyssa is inspired by “all astronauts, especially women astronauts as they have made the road for me to follow”.