Alyssa Carson, an ambitious 13-year-old girl from Louisiana, could be just what NASA is looking for. She is the first person to have attended all three of the space agency’s world space camps, she has been training to be an astronaut for nine years already, and she is determined to be the first person to land on Mars.
In this BBC short film on Carson, she explains that she wants to go to Mars because “it’s a place no one has been”.
“I have thought about possibly being other things but being an astronaut was always first on my list.
Carson speaks Spanish, French and Chinese, and tweets about her trips to NASA events and space camps, and the talks that she gives to inspire other children to achieve their goals.
Could this 13-year-old girl from Louisiana be the first human on Mars? The Independent
US government shutdown puts Mars rover to sleep The Independent
Just days after the Curiosity rover amazed the scientific community when it found water on Mars, it has been forced in hibernation by the shutdown of the US government.
Curiosity will now enter ‘protective mode’ for its own security, according to NASA, and ‘no new data gathering will take place’.
165,000 Apply for Mission to Colonise Mars The Independent
A one-way ticket to another planet where there is no air, no water or food – and certainly no return home – may not sound like a lot of fun, but to 165,000 people the opportunity to live permanently on Mars has been too tempting to ignore.
Catastrophe looms as toxic 13-tonne Mars probe falls to Earth The Independent
The heaviest interplanetary spacecraft ever launched is about to become one of the most dangerous man-made objects to fall from space when it crashes to the ground early in the new year.
The Russian Phobos-Ground probe was destined to land on a moon of Mars but problems soon after launch in November meant that it was stuck in an unstable, low-Earth orbit.
Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, said yesterday that the lorry-sized probe weighing 13.2 tonnes and laden with 11 tonnes of toxic rocket fuel and 10kg of radioactive cobalt-57 will fall to Earth between 6 and 19 January.
Rock dust grows extra-big vegetables (and might save us from global warming) The Independent
For years scientists have been warning of an apocalyptic future facing the world. With the prospect of an earth made infertile from over-production and mass reliance on chemicals, coupled with an atmosphere polluted by greenhouse gases there seems little to celebrate. But belief is growing that an answer to some of the earth’s problems are not only at hand, but under our feet. Specialists have just met in Perth to discuss the secrets of rock dust, a quarrying by-product that is at the heart of government-sponsored scientific trials and which, it is claimed, could revitalise barren soil and reverse climate change.
Sex, the final frontier: NASA acts to ensure that astronauts don’t follow their urges The Independent
In the First World War, frontline troops who were away from their loved ones for long periods famously had bromide put into their tea to reduce the distraction of their sexual drive. But yesterday it was suggested that such measures might be taken a lot further – to Mars, in fact.
Dr Rachel Armstrong, speaking yesterday at a British Interplanetary Society symposium on the Human Future and Space, said the US space agency NASA was considering how to deal with the natural urges of astronauts travelling on long journeys such as a three-year trip to Mars, where the six-strong crew would be likely to include two women.
Methane find on Mars may be sign of life The Independent
A strong signal of life on Mars has been detected by scientists at the US National Aeronautics and Space Admin- istration (Nasa) and the European Space Agency. Each group has independently discovered tantalising evidence of methane in the Martian atmosphere. Methane, a waste product of living organisms on Earth, could also be a by-product of alien microbes living under the surface of the Red Planet.
Final ‘last resort’ to find Beagle 2 before work begins on successor The Independent
British scientists have begun planning a Beagle 3 mission to Mars for launch in 2007, even as they try their final “last resort” attempt to contact the missing Beagle 2 lander. A full review of what may have gone wrong with the craft will be led by Professor Colin Pillinger, the chief scientist on the Beagle 2 mission, at the beginning of February.
Astronomers fear Beagle is trapped in deep crater The Independent
The British Government would back another mission to Mars if the present Beagle-2 attempt fails, the Science minister, Lord Sainsbury of Turville, said yesterday. British scientists now think that the missing lander, which entered the planet’s atmosphere on Christmas Day but has since sent back no signals, could have fallen into a crater known to be in the middle of the landing zone and may be damaged, or unable to get any sunlight to recharge its batteries.
Inside Mission Control (UK), preparing for Christmas Day landing on Mars The Independent
An industrial estate in Leicester is an unlikely home for Britain’s first ever mission into space, let alone the base for a team of scientists who could be the first people to find life on Mars. But in a small complex of buildings next to the council vehicle depot, the British National Space Centre, as it is grandly named, is the command centre for the European Space Agency’s first attempt to explore the surface of another planet. It is where a team will direct Beagle 2, a tiny, shell-shaped, British-built lander, which could find the first proof that alien life exists.