Teen Astronaut Training To Become First Human To Walk On Mars
Meet Alyssa Carson: the 19-year-old astronaut hoping to become the first person to walk on Mars.
Born in Louisiana in March 2001, Carson took a keen interest in all things space from the age of three after she’d seen a space-themed episode of The Backyardigans, and has remained focused on her career ever since.
She’s the only person to have attended every single space camp available, which includes those held in Canada and Turkey. The teen is also the youngest-ever person to graduate from the Advanced Space Academy at just 16, and in 2014 was the first person to complete the NASA Passport Program by attending each of its 14 visitor centres across nine different states. That prompted organisers to invite her onto the panel at the MER (Mars Exploration Rover) event, which took place at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. All these achievements merely solidify her passion and dedication for all things space-related.
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And now, at just 19, Carson is part of a group of young astronauts and hopeful space explorers that have the common goal of becoming the first crew to land on and walk upon the surface of the red planet.
She and her peers are currently preparing to mount an effort to get onto NASA’s radar, in the hope of being chosen to form the team that looks to resumes space exploration once the coronavirus pandemic is behind us.
The trainee has already amassed a hefty following on Twitter, with nearly 20,000 people interested in the knowledge she has to share.
She has also a significant following on Instagram, where she shares wisdom and video content imported from her TikTok to enlighten her 332,000 subscribers.
As with many other practical industries, her progress has been scuppered by various lockdown and social distancing rules, which has allowed Alyssa time to not only continue to study, but to increase her online presence and build an even bigger online profile.
All her handles are under the guise of ‘NASA Blueberry’, which she has as her branding – stemming from her use of the call sign she used during her time at various space camps.
She explained to Business Insider:
I got ‘Blueberry’ because the second time I went to space camp, when I was really little, I wanted one of the blue flight suits that I saw everyone wearing because I wanted to be an astronaut, so I wanted to look like one. I was too short and small to fit in any of the flight suits, so my dad ended up finding this knockoff, like not really the right shade of blue.
She’s also a big presence on TikTok, as well, with more than 109,000 followers and 1.2 million likes. ‘We’re kind of translating space talk and doing science experiments on TikTok,’ she revealed. ‘It’s definitely a lot of the science geeks trying to learn this new TikTok thing, but it’s about being entertaining while talking about science.’
With NASA aiming to have humans land on Mars by 2030, Carson is determined to make an impact over the upcoming years to increase her chances. Referring to the massive global hype in regards to the Moon landings, she believes the same sort of buzz needs creating here, which is undoubtedly will.
She says, ‘I definitely think that Mars kind of needs that same push. So it’s kind of either teaching or inspiring or helping people to either want to get involved in the space program in some way or just want to support it.’
Discussing the time she met her idol and former astronaut, Sandra Magnus, she said, ‘That inspired me and told me that it didn’t really matter how old I was when I decided this, that I could actually successfully do it in the future.’
‘So it’s just kind of been a little push and a little motivation to kind of keep me working towards my dream,’ she revealed.
With that determination, Carson will be fulfilling her dreams soon enough.
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