Kid astronaut shoots for stars and Mission to Mars

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BATON ROUGE, La. (NBC/WVLA) — Kids are always encouraged to dream, but one kid is reaching for the stars – literally.

Alyssa Carson, 13, is certainly ahead of her time.

“Maybe they went to Mars, and I thought, ‘Oooh, that looks cool,” sad Alyssa.

That’s when a dream was born for Alyssa. She’s now 13 years old and a seventh-grader at Baton Rouge International School.

“I kept on trying, and I kept on progressing in everything I was doing,” said Alyssa. “And I haven’t let go of the dream since.”

It’s her dream is to be an astronaut, but unlike those who just imagine it, Alyssa lives it. Aside from her life as a student, she’s also attended space camp dozens of times in her young life.

“Some people would say it’s about the same thing each time, but to me, it’s different because you have a different person teaching you,” said Alyssa. “And you get a different perspective.”

That perspective has taken her to 14 NASA Visitor Centers around the country. NASA also invited her to sit in on a panel to discuss a mission to Mars — not slated to happen for more than 15 years. Still, it’s a mission she wants to be on.

“Like the curiosity of what was on the planet and when was I going to go, how was I going get there,” said Alyssa. “All the questions just kept spinning in my head.”

Aside from her time training to take that trip, she also speaks to young kids around the country — hoping to inspire them to reach for the sky.

“Never forget that dream, even if times get tough,”she said. “You should always follow your dream, and don’t let anyone take it from you.”

But this 13-year-old doesn’t just live for space. She’s also an average teenager.

“I play soccer, ballet, piano, Girl Scouts, Beta, so I’m pretty busy,” said Alyssa.

She’s an average teenager with a big dream.

If you would like to follow Alyssa and learn more about her, she has her own website. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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