By Luke Kenton
For most of us, the dreams we have as children fade away in lieu of reality – but this 17-year-old is dedicating her life to all-things space in a bid to be the first human to step-foot on Mars.
When she was 3 years old, Alyssa Carson was watching an episode of the children’s cartoon, “The Backyardigans,” in which the beloved characters travelled to Mars, which gave birth to a lifelong obsession.
Reportedly turning to her father, Bert, and proclaiming, “Daddy, I want to be an astronaut,” from there Alyssa, from Louisiana, USA, has dedicated the last 14 years attempting to turn her childhood dream into a reality.
Attending nearly twenty space camps across the world, from LA to Turkey, the teenager is now well versed in a variety of specialist skills, including underwater survival, microgravity training and even decompression training.
Insisting she’s just like any other child at her high school, Alyssa admits she’s considered a number of other career options, ranging from becoming a teacher all the way up to the president, but it’s always becoming an astronaut that’s remained top of her list.
Determined to achieve her goal of dwelling among the top ranks at NASA, the 17-year-old his happy to put her personal life on the back-burner until 2036, admitting having a family back home would be a distraction.
Attending her 19th space camp on July 11th, Alyssa, who admits it’s hard to balance her space schedule and social life, said:
“After watching this [Backyardigans episode], I started asking my dad all of these questions about space, asking for books, pictures and videos – since then, I was completely obsessed.
“For me, becoming an astronaut was the only I wanted to do seriously.
“I had interest in other things but nothing ever compared to the idea of being an astronaut.
“After going to space camp the dream intensified, because I saw all of the cool things I could get into.
“At aged 15 I was invited to PoSSUM Academy and I’m very grateful for them taking a chance on me at that age – you’re meant to be in college or be a graduate to attend.
“You have to be 18 to apply for NASA, but I won’t do that until after my PhD.
“Being the first person on Mars in 2033 is the goal- it would be amazing for me to fulfill this dream.
“Starting a family will have to wait until after the mission to Mars.
“If you have a kid on Earth and something happens to them, that’s all you’re going to think about – it’s a distraction.
“With missions to Mars being something that no-one has done before and is extremely dangerous, it’s important to stay focused and keep you and your crew mates safe.
“I hope in doing so I’m able to show people the abilities of humans and what we can all really accomplish.
“The most challenging thing is trying to balance everything I want to do for space and school.
“Space does take up a lot of my time, but I love everything I’m doing.”