July 10, 2013 at 5:19 PM ET
Dream big and you just might get your voice heard.
When a 7-year-old boy wishing for a trip to outer space recently decided to share his ambition with the agency that could make it happen, he was surprised to receive a response.
“Dear NASA,” his handwritten letter reads. “My name is Dexter I heard that you are sending 2 people to Mars and I would like to come but I’m 7. So I can’t. I would like to come in the future.”
The boy then asks for advice on how to become an astronaut. The charming letter, complete with a self-portrait of Dexter apparently in a space capsule, was posted online by his mom this week, along with NASA’s response, which she called unexpected.
“Dear Dexter,” the letter from NASA’s Office of Communications begins as it thanks him for his missive. “Just think – in a few years, you could be one of the pioneers that may help lead the world’s activities for better understanding of our earth and for exploring space.”
Dexter also received some colorful photos of Mars and the Curiosity rover roaming the Red Planet, along with a sticker and a bookmark.
NASA responds to hundreds of thousands of public inquiries each year on a variety of topics, said spokeswoman Lauren Worley. The agency received about 500 letters asking for more information about becoming an astronaut just last week, she added.
“But we especially enjoy responding to the letters we receive from young aspiring astronauts,” Worley told TODAY Moms in an email.
“NASA is working to send humans farther into space than ever before, first to an asteroid and on to Mars, and perhaps one of these young writers will be among the first astronauts to set foot on another planet.”
Dexter, who lives in England, visited the Kennedy Space Center with his family last year and loved it, his mom wrote on Reddit. NASA’s response made him as excited as opening presents on Christmas Day, she added.
“He was so pleased to receive the letter, I hope NASA know the difference they've made to him,” she wrote. “Good show NASA!”
Encouraged by his success, Dexter is now drafting a letter to the European Space Agency, his mom wrote.