For the past year, I've been working on a novel that stars a young girl training to be the first astronaut to go to Mars. Little did I know, this girl already existed.
I was thrilled to stumble across this website: http://astronautabby.com/, where 15 year-old Abigail Harrison is making her dream a reality. She's teamed up with Italian astronaut Luco Parmitano to educate the world about space exploration. She's going to be his Earth-bound correspondent while he's aboard the ISS this month. She's an advocate for STEM education and runs a website reminding us all how to dream big. She is, in a word, awesome.
And everyone should go support her mission right now: Astronaut Abby's Soyez Adventure. There's only 9 days left before the campaign runs out, so donate if you can!
Abby gives me hope that there are kids out there ready to tackle the big scientific challenges of our lifetime. I've spent a year writing this 13 year-old character who has similar aspirations, and to see her brought to life this way is just incredible. To top it off, I've learned that Abby decided to be an astronaut after reading science fiction books as a kid. If that's not inspiration for me to keep writing, I don't know what is.
Abby is a fantastic role model for people of all ages, anywhere and everywhere. I can't wait to see her achieve great things. You've got my vote for first astronaut on Mars, Abby. Make it happen!