Alyssa Carson, a 17-year-old astronaut-in-training who hails from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, says its best: “I’m ready.”
NASA’s youngest astronaut is determined to be the first human to step foot on Mars in the mission slated for 2033, by which she would already be 32 years old. While not yet officially an astronaut until she’s 18, Carson is already training for the big mission ahead.
In an interview with ABC 7 News’ WJLA, Carson said she fell in love with the whole idea of space when she was only 3, with the TV show The Backyardigans featuring an episode called “Mission to Mars.” At age 7, she then started her journey at a NASA space camp in Huntsville, Alabama.
“My dad had to go through everything with me. It was the best weekend of my life,” Carson said.
She saw a life-size rocket, returned 18 times. At age 12, she became the first person in history to attend all three NASA space camps held in Huntsville, Quebec in Canada, and Izmir in Turkey. Carson even had an official call sign or a nickname used by mission control to talk to talents, and it was Blueberry, she told Teen Vogue.
The Mars mission anticipated in 2033 will use the Space Launch System or the SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft.
The current technology estimates a six-month journey to the red planet, where they will stay for more than a year to await the planets’ alignment, and then another nine-month trip back. Carson is bracing for a two- to three-year mission ahead.
Human Mission To Mars
The young girl is keen to look at Mars’s water samples, its potential to show any signs of life, and a glimpse of the planet’s history.
In the meantime, Carson is bent to keep training and building her credentials. She is currently working on getting a pilot license, doing underwater survival training, and getting scuba diving certification.
For other budding astronauts and the potential first batch of humans to land on Mars, she has one advice.
“Follow your dream,” she said.
The manned Mars mission is a major undertaking for NASA and the other space agencies today. Recently, astronaut Chris Hadfield revealed that it was technically possible to send astronauts to Mars back then, but it was too dangerous that NASA didn’t choose to.
The retired astronaut was the first Canadian to walk in space, and from 1995 to 2013, he flew inside two of the space shuttles of NASA as well as a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, lived onboard the ISS, and spent 166 days in orbit.