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Meet the first astronaut to land on Mars

Most childhood dreams are fleeting—a year planning to be a teacher, a week seriously considering being a firefighter, a decade of saying “I’m gonna be a police officer!” Abigail Harrison’s dedication to becoming an astronaut, however, is unparalleled. 

Astronaut Abby, daughter of Pollenite Nicole Harrison, has been working toward her dream of becoming an astronaut since before she knew her ABCs. The last three years have been dedicated to establishing herself in the space community, attending space camp and STS 134 Endeavour launch and more. Abby’s now in the middle of a massive crowdsource funding campaign so that she can attend a legendary Russian Soyuz Launch and go on an eight-month outreach initiative inspiring kids and adults across the world about space.

Read the young star-gazer’s insights on hopes and failures as she pursues a dream.

As a child, I always knew I wanted to be a scientist. I was especially interested in astronomy and astrophysics. As I got older, I was inspired by science fiction novels of space travel and began to dream. It seemed like a logical jump to take my passion for the cosmos and follow it to the source.

A chance meeting with Astronaut Luca Parmitano in an Orlando airport as my mom and I were leaving the STS 134 Endeavour launch in Florida lead to him becoming my mentor. My mom jokingly said “look Abby now you have your very own astronaut.” And Luca said very seriously “yes, yes Abby you do have your own astronaut. I will mentor you now and someday I will train you for your mission to Mars.”

Time has been the most difficult aspect of pursuing my dream. As a high school student, it seems like there’s never enough time for everything I want to do. As I become more entrenched in pursuing my goals, I seem to have less and less time on my hands. Finding a delicate balance between school, sports, and dreaming has been a challenge.

I always knew I wanted to be a scientist. I was especially interested in astronomy and astrophysics. As I got older, I was inspired by science fiction novels of space travel and began to dream. It seemed like a logical jump- to take my passion for the cosmos and follow it to the source. 

I have learned to grieve failure or letdown and then take a positive outlook to the future. I honestly believe this quote by Alexander Graham Bell:

“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

It’s really hard to think this way in the moment of failure. But you can’t get to the open door until you get past the closed door. Take some time to grieve (but not too long) and move forward.

No matter how old or young, go after your dreams and do what you are passionate about. If you work your hardest at something you really love, something good will come of it. It may not be what you were expecting, but by following your passions you will end up in a place that’s good for you. Dreaming is not just for kids, dreaming is for everyone.

 

 


I imagine myself, 20 years in the future, strapped into a spacecraft on a rocket, remembering back to being eight years old and looking up at the stars and whispering “starlight, starbright, first star I see tonight…I wish to be an astronaut.”

 

 

 

  

Help Abby’s dream come true and check out her RocketHub — she needs to raise $35,000 to be able to make her #SoyuzAdventure STEM Outreach Campaign a reality. 

Read more about Abby’s adventure on her blog: http://astronautabby.com

This article was originally published at BePollen.com.

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