As I think about potentially (finally!) achieving my dream of heading to space, I’ve also been doing some reflecting on what brought me to this point in life. If you have your own dreams in space or STEM, the start of my journey may not look so different from yours. The reality is that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the opportunities I received as a young person.
More than anything, I want to be able to provide those same kinds of opportunities and resources to young people in return. I believe that my work as co-founder and president of The Mars Generation (TMG) is doing just this, and to for me to go to space now as a representative of TMG on the Inspiration4 mission as the youngest person EVER would only further my mission to inspire the next generation of dreamers, doers and innovators to DREAM BIG and reach for their own stars!
Keep reading to learn a bit more of my journey, learn how The Mars Generation got it’s start (hint hint it’s tied to a scholarship that I was given as a kid), why and how I donate all my earnings as an influencer to TMG and why TMG is so prosperous–measuring prosperity in what we can do to inspire others to reach for their big dreams!
And make sure to check out and like my Twitter thread about it here.
The Mars Generation: Where It All Started
I had the opportunity to go to Space Camp USA in 2010 at age 12 (pictured here). This was a life-changing experience for me, and was where the spark for The Mars Generation was first born.
This was my very first experience at a NASA center, my first time meeting an astronaut and my first time being surrounded by people who had dreams similar to mine.. I found my people here. But I almost didn’t get to go…
I was raised by a single mom who worked as a high school teacher, which meant money was always a bit tight. I wouldn’t have been able to go to Space Camp had it not been for a scholarship I received from a local nonprofit in Minneapolis that works with the Minneapolis Public Schools, called Reach for the Stars. The sole purpose of this nonprofit is to send a group of kids from Minneapolis each year to Space Camp, and in 2010, I was one of those kids. My own inspirational, life altering experience 11 years ago happened because of these amazing people. As soon as I returned from this phenomenal experience, I knew that I needed to find a way to give back the gift I was given.
My experience at Space Camp (on scholarship) was transformative in my life and solidified my goal to become a scientist and astronaut. It’s wild how close I came to not having this experience all because of circumstances that were out of my control as a kid.
When we founded The Mars Generation, my board of advisors and I had a very clear vision that one of the organization’s main goals would be to make STEM accessible to all. And we do that in many ways, both macro (online outreach to the masses) and micro (awards, scholarships and leadership programs).
Sending kids with financial need to Space Camp USA on full paid (transportation included) scholarships is one big way we are working to reach our goal. To date, we have sent 45 students to space camp! This is one of my most proud accomplishments- it’s a full circle from where I started to where I am today.
The Mars Generation Today: Prosperity & Success
My work as a science communicator and nonprofit president are passion projects, meaning I donate my time. Funding The Mars Generation through donating 100% of my paid influencer work has never felt like a choice. Since ‘Astronaut Abby’ is all about inspiring big dreams, and my own dreams are powered by the amazing support I have received from each of you, giving back in this way has always felt right.
I am committed to continuing to donate all proceeds I earn as Astronaut Abby to support the work of The Mars Generation – including anything earned if The Mars Generation and I win the Prosperity seat on the Inspiration4 mission.
While many may measure the prosperity and success of a company based on its growth in revenue and profit, at The Mars Generation we measure prosperity and success by how many people we have inspired to reach for their stars by making STEM and space accessible to all people.
By this measure, The Mars Generation is beyond prosperous and we are changing the world with our work.
Why The Mars Generation Should Be Chosen To Go To Space Today
The success we’ve had is exactly why we are working to get The Mars Generation into space! We have an amazing platform and have reached millions in the past 5 years. We create amazing and fun STEM and space content, run leadership and mentorship programs and also work tirelessly to ensure young people are inspired and all people see the importance of human space exploration. We have an amazing leadership team and incredible volunteers who give so much to ensure we reach our mission. This team is dedicated to ensuring that we are doing all we can to make a change in the world.
Most recently, I released my first book through Penguin Random House (all my personal proceeds from this book are directly paid to TMG). The book is titled Dream Big!: How to Reach for Your Stars. It’s a step by step guide to reaching your dreams, filled with inspirational stories and fun activities that will get young people (and all people) working towards those big dreams. This book is the culmination of 10 years of my work as Astronaut Abby and all the amazing mentorship and guidance I have had in reaching my own dreams (starting with that Space Camp scholarship I received way back when). It is my way to continuously give back all that has been given to me as I work tirelessly towards my own space dreams.
To take our entire community on a mission to space would literally launch our work to the next level. If the The Mars Generation sits in the Prosperity seat for the Inspiration4 mission, we will inspire the next generation to push to new frontiers and pursue dreams that may seem impossible today. This will show all kids–and adults, too–that not only does hard work and perseverance pay off, but that as a society we are willing to break barriers and go to new heights to innovate, inspire and change the future.
Imagine the prosperity The Mars Generation can build for kids and young adults everywhere through the Inspiration4 mission. Every person who is part of my generation, the Mars generation, will feel they have touched the stars. And we will all be inspired for what’s to come.
Sending The Mars Generation to space would be an inspiration for people around the world, but we can’t get there without your help! So please make sure to spread the word and retweet the contest tweet here. We encourage you to like quote retweet (with hashtags around STEM, Education, Space), comment on, and share Abby’s message with all your friends and followers. Also, even if you are not on Twitter you can view the video by clicking the link and you can share this link with your friends.
Together, we really can reach for the stars.
SIGNAL BOOST needed 📡
I need your help (RT 💙) to make HISTORY as the YOUNGEST PERSON EVER to go to space!
— Abigail Harrison (@AstronautAbby) February 19, 2021