False: 20-year-old Alyssa Carson is the first person selected for a one-way mission to Mars.

By: Anurag Baruah
February 13 2023

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False: 20-year-old Alyssa Carson is the first person selected for a one-way mission to Mars.


The Verdict False

While Carson aims to become the first person to step foot on Mars, NASA has not selected her for a one-way mission to the planet.

Claim ID 487ff26b


A number of posts on Facebook say that NASA has selected a 20-year-old woman named Alyssa Carson as the first person for a one-way mission to Mars in 2033. We found that while the claim was circulating in English in May 2021, it is now doing the rounds in Indian regional languages such as Assamese and Bengali. We found numerous Facebook posts uploaded in February claiming that NASA had selected Carson when she was just 9 years old as the first person to go on a Mars mission. The posts also claimed that as the mission may be a one-way trip, she has agreed to NASA's request not to get into relationships and signed an agreement regarding this.

However, the claim is false, and NASA has made no such selection. 

In Fact

A reverse image search on the viral photo took us to a 2020 report by Business Insider, where Carson spoke to the outlet about her dreams to travel to Mars. We found the photo within the report, credited to Bert Carson, her father. Her Linkedin profile and Wikipedia page show her as living in Louisiana and studying astrobiology at the Florida Institute of Technology. 

Carson's website, Nasablueberry.com, says that Carson has aimed to become an astronaut and go to Mars since the age of three. The website adds she is the first person to attend all three NASA Space Camps in the world and complete the NASA Passport program, the latter of which means that she has visited all 14 NASA Visitor's Centers. The website also claims that Carson was selected as one of the ambassadors representing Mars One, a private Dutch organization aiming at establishing a human colony on Mars in 20230 but has no connection with NASA. However, she has not claimed anywhere on her own website that NASA has selected her as the first person for a one-way mission to Mars.

The United Nations website for the U.N. Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth mentions Carson as one of the members of the 2022 Cohort of Young Leaders for the SDGs. A write-up about Carson on the site states that NASA invited her in 2013 to be on the MER 10 panel in Washington DC to discuss future Mars missions live on NASA TV. It, too, does not say anything about Carson being the first person selected for a Mars mission.

Logically got in touch with Bert Carson, Alyssa's father, who confirmed that no one has been selected for a Mars Mission by NASA. He, however, claimed that many mentors at NASA have guided Alyssa since she was seven years old and said, "Her real training started at 15 with the International Institute of Astronautical Sciences who work with NASA, ESA, and CSA."

NASA clarified to Reuters that it does not have any formal relationship with Carson. "NASA has lots of ways we engage with students to promote NASA's core missions and space exploration in general, and we love to see students get interested and excited. However, we do not have any formal relationship with Ms. Carson," a spokesperson for NASA told Reuters in 2021. In addition, NASA also clarified to Reuters that it will always bring crew members home from missions. 

The Verdict

Alyssa Carson has long dreamt of becoming an astronaut and becoming the first person to step on Mars. However, as many on social media claimed, NASA has not selected her for a one-way mission. Therefore, we are marking the claim as false.

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