STARBASE visitors have Martian mindset

307th Bomb Wing
Story by Master Sgt. Theodore Daigle

Date: 04.28.2019
Posted: 04.28.2019 21:22
News ID: 319821
STARBASE guests have Martian mindset

Alyssa Carson and Danielle Roosa are two people with their feet on the ground and their minds on outer space. They came to speak with STARBASE students about their passion for space travel during a visit here April 25, 2019.
Though both ladies have the same desire to promote space travel and the Science, Technlogy, Engineering and Math skills that go with it, they approach the topics in different ways. Carson wants to be a space pioneer and be one of the first people on Mars. Roosa wants to infuse the idea of space and STEM into pop culture by writing and directing television shows and movies about the subject.
For Carson, the infatuation started at age three, when she watched a children’s show that featured an episode about traveling to Mars. Instantly hooked, she made up her mind to be an astronaut that very moment. Now 18, she has not deviated from that path since.
“When I was three and was talking to everyone about wanting to be an astronaut and going to Mars, I’m sure it just seemed like the craziest, wildest thing ever,” she said. “But that is what I picked and if you are passionate about something you should pursue it.”
To prepare for what she believes is her inevitable journey into space, the high school senior has attended NASA space camps around the world and trained in underwater and no-gravity simulators. She has also gained her pilot’s license in hopes the training and STEM skills will bolster her readiness.
While Carson found inspiration at a very early age, Roosa’s motivation for promoting space travel was practically ingrained from birth. The granddaughter of Apollo 14 commander Stuart Roosa, she remembers a childhood steeped in the NASA community.
“I was lucky enough to grow up with all these stories about space and our family barbecues usually involved multiple astronauts,” she said. “I thought that was normal, until I grew older and realized the interest in space and STEM was not as common outside my family.”
This realization bothered Roosa. So, after completing a college internship with NASA, she moved to Los Angeles to found Back To Space, an entertainment production company.
“Everyone knows about the Kardashians or all the Hollywood gossip, but many can’t name three Apollo astronauts or Shuttle astronauts,” she said. “My mission is to use the entertainment industry as a conduit to get students hooked on STEM.”
Throughout their discussion with the students, Roosa and Carson stressed the variety of jobs available in the space industry.
“My strength lies in writing, and I was able to work for NASA because of that,” said Roosa. “Whatever career path you choose there is room for you in the space industry.”
The unique career paths of Roosa and Carson have been rocky, at times. After NASA cancelled its Space Shuttle program, Carson said she encountered many negative comments about her future plans. Roosa’s particular niche in the entertainment industry required two years of intense effort before landing a producer for a television show her company is planning.
But the adversity seems to have only strengthened their resolve to bring their message of STEM and space exploration to the masses.
“Every change and setback brought a new opportunity,” said Roosa. “If you just keep heading on the path you have set and keep your head up, it will lead to success.”