Alia al Mansoori is only a 14-year-old, but she's definitely going places. The Emirati science buff just won the national Genes in Space competition, and she's one step closer to achieving her lifelong dream: Going to Mars! 

The competition involved five teams of pupils from Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, Brighton College Al Ain, Brighton College Abu Dhabi, Gems Modern Academy and Al Mawakeb School Al Barsha. They were selected as finalists back in November.

But, it was Alia's experiment that was finally picked as the winner by a panel of judges. 

"I’ve always felt that this is what I’m born to do, this is for me."

Alia's submission is all about looking into the effects of space on living organisms at a cellular level. 

She will get to see her experiment launched into space from the Kennedy Space Center between March and July. It will then be tested by astronauts in the International Space Station. 

Source: The National

Alia's ultimate dream is to become an astronaut. Winning the Genes in Space competition takes her one step closer to her goal.

"Oh my God, here’s the spaceship I’m going to Mars on," she said upon seeing the spaceship that would send her experiment into space, The National reported. 

Alia wants to go and plant an Emirati flag on the red planet, representing her love for both her home country and space.

A team from Boeing and the Space Agency will be working with Alia for the next 60 days to prepare her experiment in time for the launch. 

Genes in Space is a competition for students from grades 7 to 12 that encourages them to propose DNA experiments that address the complications that arise in space exploration.