Featured Story: Alyssa Carson
On a crisp winter morning in Vasquez Rocks, California, a white SUV pulls up. The passenger, Alyssa Carson, would prefer to be landing on a planet 33.9 million miles away. Thanks to the unwavering support of her father, Bert, Alyssa has been preparing to be one of the first people to travel to Mars since the age of seven. Now a 19-year-old in her first year of university, her dream feels more tangible than ever.
Here in the high desert, where the terrain is somewhat reminiscent of the Red Planet, Alyssa steps out in a shoe that looks pretty space age. The new Air Max 2090 was designed with the future in mind. What might life be like 70 years from now?
When this shoot was conducted, the idea of exploring uncharted territory seemed appealing. Now, we're all exploring the unknown. However, while the world has changed dramatically since the beginning of this year, Alyssa's message of making dreams a reality feels timeless.
Where did your love of space first develop?
Alyssa: I was probably around seven or eight for my first space camps, and I walked into the Space Center for the first time and saw these life-size rockets. I remember the feeling of being in an environment with so many people who were interested in space. I loved all of the different activities, from the simulators to building rockets.
Bert: We found out about space camp by accident. We were driving and saw a billboard for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. She brought back space camp pamphlets and kept telling me she wanted to go.
One person who has helped you is Sandra Magnus, an American astronaut. What advice did she give you?
Alyssa: I met Sandra at the Sally Ride Science Festival. It's an event that encourages girls to get involved in science. She told me when she was around nine, she got interested in being an astronaut, and that stuck with me. I had this crazy dream that didn't seem realistic, but she helped me realise that my age didn't matter.
Bert: I tell people all the time that it's destiny. I feel like Alyssa is going to go to Mars because things have happened to her that don't normally happen, like that.
You've said before there's no one way to become an astronaut. What does it mean to be the trailblazer?
Alyssa: What's incredible about this career is that you don't have to do what I did, and we might still end up in the same place. Whether you're into medicine, science or flying, you can eventually become an astronaut. I think it's awesome that kids can see what I'm doing and, hopefully, I can inspire them to pursue similar dreams.
Alyssa, do you have any specific advice to give young people that are trying to achieve their dreams?
Alyssa: Finding what interests you is always the first step, and once you find it, you have to be vocal about it. You have to be open because you never know where opportunities can come from. And lastly, never let someone take that dream away from you. I believe if you're genuinely passionate about your dream, you can accomplish it.
In 70 years, we might be living on Mars in a colony started by Alyssa. For now, experience the far-off future with the Air Max 2090.