Some people spend their lives deciding on a career, but for 20-year-old Alyssa Carson, the goal has been clear since she was three years old: Be among the first humans to explore Mars.
Carson has spent most of her life preparing to go to Mars by attending space camps and advanced preparation programs, building a presence on social media, and meeting with former female astronauts. “When I was nine, I met Sandy Magnus at a Sally Ride Festival, a local festival they used to have in the Louisiana area,” Carson explained.
“Sandy told me that she had decided at the age of nine to become an astronaut, but at the time it was very difficult for women to become an astronaut. She eventually succeeded and went to space three times. “For her deciding at nine and me being nine, it really showed me that you can start young, and you can decide what you want to be when you are younger and then eventually grow up to realize your dream. It can become a reality.”
In 2013, at age 13, she was recognized by NASA for visiting all 14 NASA Visitor Centers in the United States and sat on the NASA Mer 10 panel at age 12 discussing future missions to Mars in the 2030s. Today, Alyssa has her rocket license, advanced scuba certification, pilot license, skydiving class A license, and is a certified Aquanaut.