Recently, 7-year-old Freddie’s dad asked me to share experiences about what I have done to so far to prepare to someday apply to the astronaut corps. I receive a lot of questions like this, and I thought I’d make my letter to Freddie something I could share with others as well. Please share this if you know of any kids who are interested in space and possibly becoming an astronaut.
Before I say anything else, I want to thank you for being interested in space. It is kids like you who will really carry us to Mars in the future. It is awesome to have you with me in the Mars Generation!
When your dad asked me to write to you, it made me think about how I was when I was around your age of 7, I too was very excited about space and my potential to be out there one day. I had no idea how I would get to space, but I knew I wanted to go to space.
One of the first steps I’ve done to prepare is to tell people about my dream. It’s an exciting dream to have, and sharing it has helped other people to help me work towards my goals. My mom didn’t know what to do with me speaking up about wanting to be an astronaut at first, but overtime she listened and when I created a plan towards reaching my dreams she really believed in me.
Because I have a solid plan and have been working hard towards my goals my mom has been willing to help me to experience some special things to inspire me. I’ve been able to attend Space Camp, visit the Canadian Space Agency, NASA and Roscosmos (Russian Space Agency). I have met so many astronauts, engineers, flight controllers, scientists and many others in the space industry and that has been amazing too.
But while the things about have been inspirational and great experiences they are not the things that will prepare me to someday to apply for the NASA astronaut candidacy program.
The most important part of my plan is getting a good education in an area that I am passionate about, which has meant focusing in school and working hard everyday. I have taken the hardest math and science courses through high school. During my senior year in high school, while others were enjoying an easy path towards graduation, I was taking finals at the University of Minnesota in an advanced planetary science class, Chinese IV and several other classes. Because of my hard work, I was accepted to college at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. I am excited that Wellesley College has an astronaut alumnae, Pamela Melroy, How cool is that?
Some other things I am doing to prepare to apply to the astronaut corps is to continue to advance my PADI scuba diving certifications. I am also starting my pilots license in the next few weeks. I will continue to study Chinese and Russian through college and graduate school. Finally I will continue to stay physically fit with running, weight lifting and other activities and I will continue t0 eat a well balanced and healthy diet as I need to have strong muscles and bones to be an astronaut.
If I don’t make it to becoming an astronaut, that is ok. I will love my work as a scientist, and I will continue to reach out to kids like you. Getting to Mars is my dream for myself, but it’s also my dream for our generation, and getting someone there someday–even if it’s not me–will fill me with pride.
It’s your excitement that keeps me inspired to take steps every day towards my dream and make it happen. It’s to ensure that our generation, the Mars Generation, survives and thrives as an innovative force to be reckoned with. I only hope that I inspire kids like you, Freddie, to follow your own dreams and find your Mars. That is the biggest reward. The fun stuff will not make me an astronaut–but working hard in school and focusing on my passion and plan every day may get me a spot and will for sure lead me to a cool career!
I hope you will continue to join me on my Journey to Mars, Freddie. Your love for space is making humankind better and better every day. Feel free to contact me any time.