Student shares space dreams with school _lowres

Photo provided by Christy Haldane-- Alyssa Carson, an eighth-grade student at the Baton Rouge International School, standing center, recently talks to students at Our Lady of Mercy School about her experiences in space camp and desire to go to Mars.

Alyssa Carson, an eighth-grade student at the Baton Rouge International School, recently shared her experiences at space camp and her dreams of becoming an astronaut with students at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School

The Our Lady of Mercy Student Council sponsored the guest speaker.

She said her dream of becoming an astronaut began with an episode of the Backyardigans, a children’s cartoon shown on Nick Jr. The life-changing episode was titled, “Mission to Mars.” Little did she know at the time, that she too would someday be training for her own mission to Mars, she said.

Although her passion began at an early age, Carson’s father didn’t put much thought into it, she said. But he did tell her that she could do whatever she wanted in her life. But that wasn’t enough for young Alyssa; she sat in her bedroom one day and studied a map of Mars, explaining to her dad that when she gets to Mars, “I need to know where we are,” she told the students. Seeing her passion for space grow, he agreed to sign his daughter up for space camp.

She’s attended more than 20 sessions of NASA space camps, including completion of space camps in Canada and Turkey, three space shuttle launche, and comfortably rubs shoulders with NASA administrators.

During her presentation, she used a tennis ball, string and basketball to show the distance from Earth to Mars; explained the meaning of the patches on her flight suit and encouraged students to dream big and set goals.

Follow Alyssa’s journey as she trains for the 2030 Mission to Mars on her website,