Not many children write letters to government entities, we would think. But a boy's letter to NASA is making waves and softening hearts on the Internet today.
"Dear NASA," the letter begins. "My name is Dexter I heard that you are sending 2 people to Mars and I would like to come but I'm 7." The handwritten note, in which Dexter asks for advice about becoming an astronaut, got a full response from NASA, along with some stickers and posters.
That led Dexter's mother, whom HuffPost Parents names as Katrina Anderson of Britain, to put images of the letters and swag on the Web, and to submit a post to Reddit titled, "My 7 year old son wrote to NASA about wanting to be an astronaut and visit Mars, we received his reply this morning."
In its letter back to Dexter, NASA told the boy that he could someday be a pioneer, helping to increase what the world understands about Earth and space. The agency closed by saying, "Your interest in NASA is appreciated. NASA wishes you every success in earning good school grades and encourages you to keep reaching for the stars!"
Responses poured forth on Reddit, where many comments sought to help young Dexter find a way to pursue his dream and possibly attend space camp.
"He visited the Kennedy Space Centre and loved it," Dexter's mom wrote. "He also has a fascination with America. We are English and live here in England, I feel I will lose him to America one day ;)"
She also said the boy has "been a bit overwhelmed by the response today," adding that she would save all the links people sent into a special folder. Dexter, she explained, is allotted only a certain amount of time on the Web.
The enthusiastic public response to Dexter's letter led NASA to note on its Twitter feed Monday, "We try to answer as many Q's as possible on social media. For those who prefer postal mail, we respond there, too."
As BuzzFeed points out, one person who commented on the Reddit thread says he's a NASA employee who occasionally visits NASA's Public Outreach office, where "they have scans of these letters pinned to their cubicles."
Dexter's mother responded:
"Thank you so much for replying to these letters honestly I didn't expect as much as he received, neither did he. I was actually trying to keep him from being disappointed if he didn't get a response, I thought you guys would just be too busy. This sort of thing means the world to children and keeps their imagination and faith in the industry alive. He wrote to the DC office. Thank you from both of us, he was so excited when he got the letter."