Dexter's original letter to NASA.

NASA's response letter.

The letter included information about the Red Planet.

The letter also included reading material about the Curiosity Rover.

A sticker and bookmark, courtesy of NASA.

A smiling, happy Dexter holds up his goods.

7-Year-Old Kid Writes To NASA, And NASA Writes Back

Dexter Walters may be just a kid, but he knows he wants to go to Mars someday. So he wrote to NASA about his interests, and to his surprise, he got a response.

Two weeks ago, 7-year-old Dexter Walters wrote a letter to NASA saying he'd like to be considered a candidate for a one-way trip to Mars. "I heard that you are sending two people to Mars and I would like to come, but I'm 7, so I can't," the letter read. "I would like to come in the future. What do I need to do to become an astronaut?"

The boy, who lives in the United Kingdom with his mother, Katrina Anderson, hadn't expected a response. But this morning, Dexter met the mailman at the postbox, and amid letters addressed to his mom, he found a thick one with his name on it. It was from NASA.

"I ran into the room and said 'Its for me! Its for me,'" Dexter told Fast Company. "I was thinking this is incredible because I've waited all my life to do this." The letter thanked the would-be astronaut for writing, saying, "Just think--in a few years, you could be one of the pioneers that may help lead the world's activities for better understanding our earth and for exploring space." The letter also included pictures of the Red Planet and the Curiosity Rover, along with resources Dexter could use to learn more about space.

Anderson was so thrilled by the letter, she posted it to Reddit, where it currently sits in the homepage's number two slot, with more than 1,600 comments. One commenter even said they work at NASA HQ:

"I work at NASA HQ in DC and whenever I visit the Public Outreach people, they have scans of these letters pinned to their cubicles. NASA eats this stuff up because it reinforces the idea they they are doing good work. I hope Dexter follows the dream and he gets to go where so few have … If I see Dexter's letter on anyone's desk, I'll pass along the message."

Anderson said she and Dexter originally found out about NASA's mission to Mars through Reddit. "He read it with me. We sat and discussed whether a one-way trip to Mars would be a good idea, and he said he would definitely want to go."

Anderson, naturally, isn't so sure. "As much as you don't want to be selfish, you still have the reservations obviously about your child doing something like that," she said. Dexter has a love for all things science, and Anderson said she suspects he'll study space exploration. "So I think in the future I will lose him to an American university. But that's not the end of the Earth," she said. "It's not Mars, is it?"

[Poster Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech | MSSS]

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18 Comments

  • Guest

    I too wrote to NASA/JPL in my youth, and the large packets of full color glossy prints of astronomical objects, and included data/information are still some of my favorite treasures 15+ years later.

  • bgrnathan

    THERE'S A GOOD EXPLANATION FOR WHY LIFE MAY EXIST ON MARS.
    In
    the Earth's past there was powerful volcanic activity which could have
    easily spewed dirt and rocks containing microbes into outer space which
    not only could have eventually reached Mars but also ended up traveling
    in orbit through space that we now know as meteors. A Newsweek article
    of September 21, 1998, p.12 mentions exactly this possibility. "We think
    there's about 7 million tons of earth soil sitting on Mars", says
    scientist and evolutionist Kenneth Nealson. "You have to consider the
    possibility that if we find life on Mars, it could have come from the
    Earth" [Weingarten, T., Newsweek, September 21, 1998, p.12].

    Read my popular Internet article, ANY LIFE ON MARS CAME FROM EARTH!

    Visit my newest sites, THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION and WAR AMONG EVOLUTIONISTS (2ND Edition)

    Babu G. Ranganathan*

    B.A. Bible/Biology

    Author of the popular Internet article, TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF HELL EVOLVED FROM GREEK ROOTS

    *I have given successful lectures (with question and answer
    period afterwards) defending special creation before evolutionist
    science faculty and students at various colleges and universities. I've
    been privileged to be recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis "Who's
    Who In The East" for my writings. 

  • Arup Bhanja

    NASA have been at the forefront of encouraging people to think and do more out-of-the-ordinary things ...I still have the citation they gave me in 1999 signed by the Director then for taking part in a survey for their first Mars rover .. they sent a CD aboard that rover which had my name along with '000s of others.

  • dolphin558

    I worked at NASA HQ for a year over a decade ago.  This could have been written by an intern or administrative assistant.

  • Phil R

    I highly recommend kids write to NASA and other organizations about things that interest them.  I did as a kid, and I still have the responses 30 or more years later - photos and drawing of the Space Shuttle, Skylab, sounding rockets of all kinds.  Great experience to request and receive info.  NASA for one is happy to help aspiring scientists and engineers, or the public at large - it's part of their mission.

  • Christopher Carr

    You ought to have noted that Mars One (extremely naive, if not an outright scam) is not a NASA mission.

  • Johndoe

     I thought the same thing at first but the important part of the letter is about being an astronaut in the future and NASA is surely one of the better sources of information on becoming an astronaut...

  • Guest

    No, but a 7 year old may not realize that the Mars Curiosity expedition and Mars One expedition are not related.  So he wrote to who he thought was controlling the mission, NASA, and they kindly wrote him back.

  • StoryTeller

    That is awesome of NASA to do...encourage the dreams of the young. Now, if onlyadults remember to do the same. You never know when your letter may show up!

  • peach69

    u go DEXTER I BELIEVE. IN U..... KEEP UR DREAM ALIVE KEEP REACHING. FOR DA STARSSSSS.. WE ALL BEHIND U 100% BESY WISHES. TO HIS MOM..U DID. N STILL DOIN A GREAT JOB OF A MOTHER..

  • Joel Alain

    The best PR happens when people care enough and it comes from the heart.