MELBOURNE, Fla. – The Super Bowl LIV Sunday will offer up inspiration for the Mars generation with at least two otherworldly advertisements airing during the halftime show, including one featuring a Florida Institute of Technology student training to be among the first generation to go to the red planet.
Alyssa Carson, an 18-year-old astrobiology major at Florida Tech, has known since she was a child that she wanted to go to space and she hasn’t been shy about sharing that goal. With more than 220,000 followers on Instagram and her own foundation aimed at helping other young people fulfill their space dreams, Carson is spreading the message of the Mars generation.
Carson was approached by SodaStream, the carbonated drink machine maker, to be part of its 30-second halftime spot that features well-known scientist Bill Nye and takes place during a fictional Mars mission. It wasn’t Carson’s first brush with Nye, she said they first met at the NASA Maven Mars launch when she was 11.
In the SodaStream video, fictional astronauts on Mars discover the first liquid water on the Martian surface. Carson and her other mission members are back at the habitat waiting to analyze the would-be historic discovery when one astronaut gets thirsty and uses the first-ever water discovered on Mars in his SodaStream machine. Whoops?
Carson said she traveled to Los Angeles to film the advertisement, which meant she got to chat with fellow space enthusiast, Nye, on set. The Mars environment was filmed in the Californian desert, Carson said.
The future astronaut appreciated the attention to detail for the Mars habitat seen in the ad.
“It had the backbone to what a habitat would be in terms of living on Mars,” Carson said. "I definitely think they did a decent job of not trying to add too many clichés or details that would be called out as inaccurate.”
While the advertisement is humorous, SodaStream is also trying to implore people to be more environmentally aware. By 2025, SodaStream plans to eliminate 67 billion single-use plastic bottles on this planet, “so we won’t have to go looking for a new one,” according to the message in the advertisement.
Carson said taking care of our home planet should always be a priority even if humans become a multi-planet species.
“It totally connects because I mean, everything that is going on within the space program and within space always connects back to everything here on Earth,” Carson said. “So when we are looking at traveling to another planet, or that kind of thing, we always have to consider continuing to take care of our own planet.”
The skincare brand Olay will also have a space-inspired halftime spot with some big names, including astronaut Nicole Stot, actresses Busy Philipps, Lilly Singh, Taraji P. Henson and former anchor Katie Couric.
For every mention of #MakeSpaceForWomen on social media, Olay will donate $1 to the nonprofit Girls Who Code, an organization that empowers girls to build robots and try out other STEM subjects.
The Olay advertisement features a rocket that looks strikingly similar to NASA’s Space Launch System rocket currently in development as part of the Artemis program.
Carson said there is a reason spaceflight is a trend for this year’s Super Bowl.
“It’s pretty cool to see space becoming so popular again, in terms of pop culture,” Carson said. “I think that’s just even more reason that the space program is picking up because we’re getting so much more of that public interest built back into the space program.”
This year, Carson plans to keep focusing on her courses at Florida Tech and continue to enjoy watching launches in person from the Space Coast.