This is undoubtedly the “ain’t that cool” story floating around the newsroom today.
Justin Dowd, a 22-year-old physics and math major at Northeastern University, will become one of the world’s first civilian astronauts after winning an international competition.
“I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” Dowd told the Metro, “and for about 20 minutes, I’ll be the luckiest guy in outer space!”
To win the Race for Space competition, a venture from Metro World News and a European space-flight company, Dowd beat out thousands of other entrants with his “chalkimation” explaining Albert Einstein’s discovery of relativity. Here’s the video:
“He taught me things in his video that I didn’t understand as well as I do now,” Harry Van Hulten, test pilot with the space company, SXC, and a member of the jury that selected Dowd, told the Metro.
“I’ve been explaining that same 20-minute lecture, that light-bulb moment from the video, since I was in 8th grade,” Dowd told Northeastern.
Dowd’s trip is scheduled for 2014. The Boston Globe reports that “the spacecraft, the XCOR Lynx, will take Dowd to space and back in a couple of hours.”
“I’ll be able to see the atmosphere and curvature of the earth,” Dowd told the Globe.
The undergrad says he’s always been interested in physics and space.
“I’ve been falling asleep to the same glow-in-the-dark globe since I was 3 years old,” Dowd told Northeastern.
So Dowd is thrilled about his upcoming trip. But what about his mother?
“Well, she is both happy and nervous about my trip!” he told the Metro.