When she was 3, Alyssa watched a cartoon about going to Mars. She told her dad that’s what she wanted to do when she grew up. It seemed a crazy idea at the time. It seemed impossible that humans would soon walk on another planet.
Now, with new rockets and technology that helped Perseverance get there safely, the American space agency NASA has a real plan to put people on Mars in a little over 10 years from now.
Alyssa, who’s from Louisiana in the United States, is training hard to be aboard that first mission to a world 500 million kilometres from Earth.
So, let’s meet her…
ALSO KNOWN AS?
@nasablueberry [astronaut radio "call sign"]
19 [turns 20 in March 2021]
Astronaut training, skydiving, flying planes
Student, astrobiology [science of life in space]
First human to walk on Mars!
WoW! - Hi Alyssa. When did you start to dream about going into space?
Alyssa - I had a curiosity about Mars after watching a kids’ cartoon at around 3 years old. I made it my dream to go to Mars and have worked hard every day to make my dream a reality.
WoW! – You’ve said that the secret to achieving your dream is working hard, being ready to give things up to focus on your dream – and never giving up. What’s been the hardest thing so far that you’ve had to do to follow your dream? And how did you overcome the problem?
Alyssa - I was selected very young into PoSSUM Academy. [Alyssa was 16 when she took training on how to be an astronaut.] The classes were graduate level [for people who’ve already been to university]. I had to learn, teach myself, very quickly on subjects I had not taken in school yet. I overcame the problem by asking for help from my … classmates who were nice enough to take me under their wing and help through the challenges.
WoW! – It takes months in space to get to Mars. And we saw how dangerous it was for Perseverance to get safely onto Mars. Don’t you find it frightening to think of spending a long time there? And What will you do when you get to Mars?
Alyssa - I have been to so many NASA facilities and met so many people working on the [American Mars mission space] project that I know that safety is their number one goal. That gives me the confidence to go there and not worry. My major [subject at university] is astrobiology so I will be looking for signs of life, studying rock samples, basically doing all the science on the planet to learn more about Mars
WoW! - What would you miss most about Earth when you are in space? Is there a favourite food you’ll have to give up?
Alyssa - I think I will miss the breeze on my face, the smell of Nature and just being able to go outside feel what makes Earth great. We will have to be in suits and live in habitats on Mars, so it will be nothing like the normal day on Earth. I am from Louisiana and love our seafood. I probably won’t get to take that to Mars. :)
WoW! - Thank you, Alyssa.