13-Year-Old Alyssa Carson Is Training to Be the First Human on Mars

Alyssa Carson, a 13-year-old from Baton Rouge, has other-worldly ambitions, and shooting for the moon is not enough. She wants to be on the first human mission to Mars, predicted to be in 2030. Her far reaching goal took hold when she was about 5 years old: 

"I walked in on her in her bedroom and she's sitting with a Mars map that I had given her," her father told CBS News. "And I walk in and say, 'Baby, what are you doing?' and she said, 'Well Daddy, when we get to Mars, I need to know where we are.'"

Furthering this pursuit, Alyssa has become the first person to attend all three NASA world space camps, plus a total of 20-plus space camp sessions. Besides studying space history and modern scientific developments, Alyssa speaks four languages (perfect for the International Space Station) and plays soccer and piano. “I have thought about possibly being other things,” she admitted in an interview with the BBC. “But being an astronaut was always first on my list.” Mars interests her in particular because “it’s a place no one has been.” Like the pioneering astronauts before her, Alyssa is committed to a far-reaching, groundbreaking goal.

Alyssa has garnered attention for her big dreams, landing interviews with the BBC and CBS as well as getting face time with NASA administrator Charlie Bolden and astronauts at a Kennedy Center lunch. In June, she gave a Tedx talk in Greece. She hopes the publicity will inspire other kids to get involved in science and space: "I want more kids to dream and inspire to follow math and science because it takes 10s of 1000s of people to send an astronaut to space. I want my generation to be The Mars Generation!"



NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden

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Learn more about the history of women in space tonight at 9/8c on PBS or tune in to a virtual screening with Mae Jemison tomorrow at 8 PM ET on MAKERS.com.