Thirteen-year-old says she'll be the first human on Mars

Declaring that "failure is not an option," Alyssa Carson wants to go further than any human has gone before. She's already been to NASA's Space Academy three times.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
Alyssa Carson is shooting for the moon. And it doesn't look like anyone can stop her. Not even NASA. BBC screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When I was 13, I just wanted to be 14.

Alyssa Carson, however, seems to be made of stuff that is sterner and more imaginative than most humans. She positively insists that she will be the first person on Mars.

You might think this the quaint dreaming of an impressionable teen. But Carson told the BBC that she's been training "for nine years so far."

Yes, when she was 4, Alyssa Carson wanted to be the first person on Mars.

"As I get older and I continue to do more things, the resume will just eventually get longer," she said. What 13-year-old talks like this?

"I absolutely think Alyssa will be on Mars. There's not a doubt in my mind," said her dad Bert.

NASA's Paul Foreman told the BBC that it takes Alyssa seriously. Who wouldn't, given her determination? This is scary. This is scarier than Sandra Bullock in "Gravity."

Alyssa claims to have "a pretty balanced life." Well, as a balanced as any kid who's already been to NASA's Space Academy three times.

Still, her dad says her life is planned out and she expects to be on a mission to Mars in 2033. He admits that, after that, he may never see her again. He says they've chatted about it and Alyssa is cool about her chances.

Naturally, she already has her own Web site, where she reveals: "I speak Spanish, French, Chinese and English and some Turkish from Space Camp Turkey."

Yes, but will she learn Klingon? Can she speak Martian?

She's already given a Tedx talk in Greece and has met with the Mars One team in the Netherlands. Next week, she'll be appearing on "Jeopardy."

But why Mars, Alyssa?

On her site, she explains: "This could possibly be our next Earth. Just think about all the things that are in space. For example: planets we have never explored, galaxies that we have never heard of, stars that are just babies, black holes that are as wide as the sun to Pluto multiple times and has the mass of a billion suns, parts of the universe that we have never seen. Just think of all that stuff just floating around. It's more than you can imagine. I AM THE MARS GENERATION."

It is, indeed, more than many people can imagine. Alyssa is, quite naturally, on Twitter. While some kids' favorite place is KFC, she tweeted that one of hers is KSC. Yes, the Kennedy Space Center.

Kids, these days. I don't know.

Alyssa Carson has higher designs, it seems, than KFC. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET