Some kids like to imagine what it would be like to travel into outer space to explore the galaxy, encounter alien life, and maybe engage in a few space battles. But eventually, reality sets in and we set aside that our fantasies for a career goal that is a little closer to Earth, like being a doctor or a lawyer. However, there are a few occasions when some kids get to turn their fantasy into a reality. Just ask Alyssa Carson, who had dreamt of a career in outer space since she was a little girl. Now, thanks to NASA, it seems like she’s going to finally get her wish.She told her dad: “Daddy, I want to be an astronaut, and be one of the people that go to Mars.” Of course, her favorite show, “The Backyardigans,” about 5 animals who go on adventures using their imagination, including a trip to Mars, might have influenced her a little bit.
Space was no longer a dream. It was a lifelong quest. Alyssa even talks about it quite a bit on her social media pages and on her blog. She has also attended seminars and public speaking events to encourage young people, especially women, to get into science and technology-oriented fields.
Fortunately, she was able to enroll in Project Possum, which allowed her to begin her training a bit early so that she could see what it’s like to slip into a NASA uniform. And while Carson admits that she had considered switching careers to being a teacher or even the president, she always came back to this.
As a trainee for Project Possum, which is a part of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and has campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Prescott Arizona, Carson gets to experience things most teenagers only dream of.
Here she is being strapped insight her Possum flight suit, which is just the tip of the iceberg on her arduous training. Carson has to learn to adapt to the different conditions that she will potentially face in space.
Back in 2008, Carson’s dad enrolled her in the United States Space Camp, which she has attended several times over the years. By the time she was 12, she became the first individual to visit all three NASA Space Camps, which include the one in Laval, Quebec, and Izmir, Turkey.
**One of the many fun things that Carson gets to do inside one of Project Possum’s facilities is to undergo extensive training, like the one seen here to prepare her for when she gets to rocket deep into space.**
One of the fun things I got to do today at Survival System. Just the start of 10 days of training with @PoSSUMAstronaut Play -0:30 Additional Visual Settings Enter Watch And ScrollClick to enlarge Mute pic.twitter.com/pYsMzpw8lq — Alyssa Carson (@NASABlueberry1) April 8, 2018
She has also learned about microgravity and the effects it has on a human body. But her young mind has been filled with plenty of other training like learning how to build her own rockets and robotics. She has even directed a team of fellow space cadets using the callsign “Blueberry,” which is the nickname she uses on several online accounts.
NASA intends to plan its first manned mission to Mars in 2033, which includes landing on the Martian surface. But before that happens, humanity will first make a return trip to the moon during a year-long mission.
Her goal would be to help conduct science experiments, look for signs of life, and help to grow food on Mars. After she’s completed her mission, she has even more ambitious plans when she comes back to Earth. In an interview with Vogue, she said, “I did the same thing as other kids, like switching my mind about careers, wanting to be a teacher or the president one day. But the way I always thought about it was I would become an astronaut, go to Mars, come back, and then be a teacher or the President.”