At three years old, she watched a cartoon of people going to Mars in the series, The Backyardigans. She told her father, “Daddy, I want to be an astronaut, and be one of the people that go to Mars.”
Fast-forward 14 years and she’s taken as much training as she can get, including simulations and underwater training. She can officially apply for NASA once she turns 18.
In an interview with Teen Vogue, she laid out clearly what her ambitions are.
"I did the same thing as other kids, like switching my mind about careers, wanting to be a teacher or the president one day. But the way I always thought about it was I would become an astronaut, go to Mars, come back, and then be a teacher or the president."
Because NASA doesn’t accept applicants younger than 18, she has done most of her training in a citizen science program called Project Possum.
In a write-up on the Mars One website, her accomplishments are listed. Alyssa has achieved:
- Attend Space Camp 7 times, Space Academy 3 times and Robotics Academy 1 time
- Be the first person to complete all the NASA Space Camps in the world, including Space Camp Turkey and Space Camp Canada
- Witness 3 Space Shuttle launches
- Attend Sally Ride Camp at MIT, and three Sally Ride Day camps
- Speak several foreign languages: Spanish, French, Chinese and some Turkish
- Deliver motivational speeches to other children
Here's just a sample of that last one: