16 Year Old Alyssa Carson Is On A Mission To Mars

The youngest person in space was a male Soviet cosmonaut named Gherman Titov. Valentina Tereshkova (also Russian) was the first woman in space, piloting mission Vostok 6 in 1963, nearly two decades ahead of Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.

Sixteen-year-old Alyssa Carson is already smashing records as NASA’s youngest ever astronaut trainee. If all goes to plan, by 2033, Carson will participate in the world’s first manned mission to Mars. Given her rigorous training (she takes classes in four different languages) and intense determination (she declared her desire to become an astronaut at the tender age of three), there seems to be in little in the way of her reaching her goals. This is not necessarily the case for all young people, and girls in particular, who are interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, a program funded in part by the National Science Foundation that promotes collaboration and gender equity in STEM education and beyond, there is very little differences in boys’ and girls’ math and science abilities at the K-12 level. Culturally, however, girls tend to be less encouraged in these areas, leading to a lack of confidence that carries over as a wide gender disparity in STEM at the higher education and workforce levels. Alyssa is doing her part to change that, speaking at science fairs and cultural events all over the country as an official Mars One ambassador, doing her part to ensure that the sky is far from the limit for the next generation of space explorers…