This 17-Year-Old Could Be the First Human to go to Mars

Alyssa Carson is only 17 years old, but she is technically trained and ready to go to space.

Carson, who hails from Louisiana, USA, is the youngest person ever to complete the NASA-backed Advanced PoSSUM Academy Programme, during which she underwent spacesuit training, the experience of high-G (that’s G-force) and microgravity, and mission simulation. She is presently learning Chinese, French and Spanish, all languages that would come in handy when travelling together with earthlings of different nationalities the 33.9 million miles to Mars.

She is already active on the public-speaking scene, making appearances to encourage other teenagers, especially girls, to be involved in STEM (that’s science, technology, engineering and maths).

Carson still has to wait till she turns 18 to apply to NASA’s astronaut training programme, but when the space agency sends the first manned mission to Mars in 2033 (as is planned), then Carson would be 32 years old—the right age for a space mission.

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Her obsession with space started with the cartoon The Backyardigans, which follows five animal characters who go on imaginary adventures in the backyard, including an episode that was called “Mission to Mars”; she then told her dad that she wanted to go to Mars, and has since set about achieving her dream. So, parents, let your children watch cartoons, and they might become as ambitious, determined and inspirational as Carson.

While the Instagram account of most teenagers revolves around their daily school grind, fashion or emo-filled rants, Carson’s features posts about her training and speaking engagements:

Early 6am takeoff in my first open cockpit powered parachute

A post shared by Alyssa Carson (@nasablueberry) on

What were YOU doing when you were 17?

While we might be just a car blog and space travel might appear to be way out of our depth (or is that height?), there are actually numerous space technologies that have trickled down to the auto industry: carbon fibre, GPS and robotic arms, to name a few.

And, of course, auto-lubricant—space travel is how our sponsor, X-1R, got started too. X-1R still supplies the lubricant for the massive crawlers that NASA uses to transport rockets to the launchpad. It was the first lubricant to be a Certified Space Technology and is an inductee in the Space Technology Hall of Fame.

Read more about X-1R’s role in NASA here.

Now, let’s all go and ponder on what we have done with our life….

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