Shooting for the Stars
Have you ever dreamt of going up to space? How about setting your foot on another planet? The idea has crossed my mind a few times but when you actually get down to the nitty gritty details, like strapping yourself into a rocket being launched into the never-ending universe, full of intense radiation ready to fry you alive I’m paralysed with fear. But Alyssa Carson, the world’s youngest astronaut in training, isn’t faced. She will become one of the first people to walk the surface of Mars, nick named the Red Planet.
Image by: NASABlueberry
Alyssa Carson graduated the NASA Advanced Space Academy at only 16 years old, making her the youngest astronaut in training ever. So far, she is the only person to have completed all 7 of the NASA space camps, training young adults in various aspects of space explorations. These programs only deepened her desire to get up there. See an interview with Alyssa here: https://youtu.be/Qf630BOZk6g
GOING TO MARS ON A ONE- WAY TICKET
In 2013 Carson was chosen as one of 7 ambassadors for the Mars One project, a Dutch mission to send people to Mars on a one- way journey to establish a human colony. (Read more at: http://www.mars-one.com) The mission aims to launch in 2030, and Alyssa will then be the mere age of 29! It would mean that she would never see her loved ones again, but she has been dreaming about going to Mars since she was 3 years old. Her dream is too strong to let anything stop her.
CERTIFIED FOR SPACE TRAVEL
Since 2016, she is certified to leave our Earth’s atmosphere and travel into space, after being the youngest ever to graduate from the Advanced PoSSUM Academy. Project PoSSUM (https://projectpossum.org) is a research project that studies effects of climate change on the clouds in the top layer of our atmosphere. She continues to collaborate with them to develop new technologies and equipment for space.
Image by: ESA – European Space Agency & Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research for OSIRIS Team ESA/MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA [CC BY-SA 3.0-igo (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0-igo)]
But this brings us to an important question:
WHY DO WE WANT TO GO TO MARS?!
- NEW HOME FOR HUMANS
- One day it is quite likely that Earth is no longer a liveable place, because of climate change or nuclear weapons destroying the planet. That is why space agencies and astronauts are looking to find other planets that we could maybe call home one day. Mars is the only planet within our own solar system that could be a potential option.
- LIFE ON MARS?
- For decades robots have analysed Mars and found ice below the surface. This could have been home to living bacteria, which would prove that there is or at least has been life on other planets. When astronauts land on Mars they will be able to do more in depth research to see if life on Mars has existed.
- KNOWLEDGE ABOUT EARTH’S HISTORY
- The ice that has been found on the Red Planet shows that Mars has gone through climate cycles just like the Earth has, and that it once was suitable for life. Being able to study Mars more closely might therefore teach us about the Earth’s history and future.
So if you, like Alyssa Carson, are keen to step foot on the Red Planet, now you know who’s footsteps to follow. Personally I couldn’t thing of anything more terrifying!