AN Edinburgh University graduate is shooting for the stars after being accepted onto a world-renowned scholarship programme at the European Space Agency.
Calum Hervieu achieved a first class master’s degree in astrophysics in May and is due to blast off to Turin to start the 12-month course in mid-November.
The 23-year-old, who currently works part-time in the city’s Nightcap bar, said he had wanted to be an astronaut from a young age.
“I’ve been obsessed with space for as long as I can remember and I’ve dreamt about being an astronaut since I was three years old,” he said.
“I blame my grandad for that – he was a photographer in the air force after the war so I spent a lot of my childhood in air museums.
“I was obsessed with flying at first and it just spiralled from there.”
Calum will spend eight months at the Politecnico di Torino, before doing two eight-week stints at the Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et l’Espace in Toulouse, France, and the University of Leicester in England.
Calum said the second-level master’s course would aim to provide 15 students from all over the world with “the skills to develop space systems and missions with the ultimate goal of creating a new class of specialised space engineers”.
“It’s extremely competitive, so they don’t treat you like students,” he said.
“We’re expected to create something that is of practical use for the ESA and then we have to present that in front of their top people at the headquarters in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.”
Calum, originally from Duns in the Borders, says his dream is to work as part of the team to put the first humans on Mars, a mission he believes is achievable in his lifetime.
“It’s something straight out of the pages of science fiction or from a film, it’s absolutely massive,” he said.
“Nasa have said they’re working towards an attempt at a mission in the 2030s and Elon Musk is talking about doing something sooner than that with his SpaceX programme, so I’d go as far to say it’s likely by at least 2050.”
Mum Natalie Scheff said Calum never told her he was applying.
“We’re just so proud of him, it’s an amazing opportunity and we want him to grasp it with both hands,” she said. “I think it just goes to show you don’t have to be from money or go to a hugely posh school to achieve something like this.”