Meet Alyssa Carson – The World’s Youngest Astronaut-In-Training
March is Women’s History Month, and we want to highlight one of the most impressive teenagers in the world. Alyssa Carson, a 19-year-old from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is inspiring young girls around the world to join the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and achieve their goals – on Earth and even on Mars!
Carson’s goal is to become the first person on Mars, and her journey towards this achievement began when she was only three years old, inspired by an episode of the cartoon The Backyardigans. As a child, Carson dreamed of stepping foot on Mars, leading her to attend her first space camp at only 7 years old. Since then, she has become the only person to attend every NASA space camp, which allow attendees to participate in space simulators, learn about space exploration, and gain information from actual astronauts. There are 19 of these camps all over the world, including in Turkey and Canada. On top of this, Carson was able to travel across nine states to visit all 14 NASA sites, becoming the only person that has completed the NASA Passport program.
At 12 years old, NASA invited Carson to speak on the Mars Exploration Rovers 10 panel, held in Washington D.C., about her passion to one day visit Mars. One year later, she traveled to Greece to give her first TEDx Talk, and at 15, she was accepted into the Advanced PoSSUM Space Academy. This academy gave her the certification to travel into space. And at age 16, she became the youngest person to graduate from the Advanced Space Academy.
So what is Carson up to now? The aspiring astronaut is currently studying astrobiology at the Florida Institute of Technology, and with three TEDx talks under her belt, she’s continuing to inspire future generations of women in STEM to pursue their passions and start accomplishing their dreams, no matter how young they are. One of the biggest tools that Carson and other aspiring astronauts are using to inspire and encourage audiences is social media. Carson believes that a push from the next generations of young people can spark a movement to make Mars the next frontier for human space travel. As business insider.com quotes, “‘The whole reason why we went to the moon was because there was so much public interest around it,’ Carson said. ‘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.’”
After graduating college, Carson aims to apply to NASA as soon as a call is put out for new astronauts. If she’s accepted, she’s determined to be in space by her 30s, and hopefully end up on one of the Mars missions that NASA plans to launch by the 2030s.
We hope that Alyssa Carson can make one giant step for humankind on the Red Planet one day, and to all the aspiring women in STEM in the world, take Carson’s words of advice: “"Never let anyone take your dream away from you."
For more information on jobs at NASA, take a look at their recruitment brochure:
Also visit their ‘My Everyday Extraordinary’ page to get a glimpse at daily life for workers at NASA: