Usually, when a kid announces, “I want to be an astronaut!” he or she gets a pat on the back and a few patronizing smiles in return. We adults like to say “You can be anything you want” but when it comes to space travel, the unspoken caveat is, “It’s really, really unlikely.” For most kids, the dream is eventually supplanted by something else, something a little more realistic. But not for 15-year-old Alyssa Carson.
Like so many dreamers, Carson decided she wanted to fly to space at a young age. But rather than leave these longings in the realm of fantasy, she chased them. Tirelessly. A decade later, the teenager from Baton Rouge has refined her dream. She doesn’t just want to be an astronaut, she wants to land on Mars. The Red Planet. And she’s been busy making a case for herself, with a big assist from her dad, Bert Carson.