Boston resident Justin Dowd has dreamed about going into space since starlight first streamed through his telescope as a little kid.
Now, he might have that chance to soar toward the stars.
Dowd, 22, a fourth-year student at Northeastern University, was chosen as the US finalist in Metro's Race to Space.
"This is just awesome," Dowd said after finding out he beat out thousands of contestants for a chance to launch into space. "I have wanted to go to space my entire life," he said.
Dowd, who is studying physics, first learned about the contest while filling in a Sudoku puzzle while riding the train. Knowing it was a long shot and his chances to win would be slim, he set to work on the application process.
"The reason I study physics is to learn new things about the world," he said. "The more you learn, the wider your views become -- and I can't think of a better way to see the world in a new way than to see it from space," he said.
For the contest, Dowd submitted a video discussing "relativity" as it pertains to space.
In the animated mini-film, he used more than 3,000 photos of hand-drawn chalk murals in time lapse to animate Albert Einstein's discoveries.
Dowd admitted the prospect of going to space was exciting, but he was equally enthused about the training that takes place prior to launch.
"I would have gone through the whole application process just to go on a fighter jet or the zero-gravity training," said Dowd. "I'm a little bit of adrenaline junkie."
Dowd and the other finalists from Metro newspapers around the world will now be interviewed, via Skype, by executives at Metro's international headquarters in Sweden. A winner will then be selected to travel into space from a base in Curacao, following an intensive series of training missions in Europe.