According to Business Report, the youngest astronaut-in-training was born and raised right here in Louisiana. 18 year-old Baton Rouge native Alyssa Carson is currently studying astrobiology at Florida Tech.  She is already the youngest person ever to be accepted in to the prestigious Advanced PoSSUM Space Academy, and has already taken part in a sub-orbital research flight.

Alyssa is well on her way to breaking the surly bonds of Earth's gravity, but that's not enough for her.  Her goal is to set foot on the red planet - Mars.  With a line of of space-luggage she designed with Horizn Studios and 3 TED Talks already under her belt, I'll bet she gets there.  Very few people are selected for space-flight, and the selection process is extremely competitive.  With an impressive resume like Alyssa's, I think she'll have no problem.

This story means so much to me, because as a young lad - I was enamored by all things NASA.  The over-engineered rockets, the super-ambitious missions, and the ultra-cool astronauts - I was in love with it all.  So much so, I wrote the National Aeronautics and Space Administration weekly for a year and a half asking to be the first kid in space.

Obviously, they didn't cave and strap me to a rocket at 10 years old - but they didn't just ignore me either.  They sent me a treasure-trove of high-res photos and schematics, and it was one of the best days of my life.