A Fife schoolgirl is to take part in a groundbreaking space exploration project this summer.
While many of her peers will be involved in placements close to home, 16-year-old Cailyn Calder is jetting off to Houston, Texas, where she will help plan a manned mission to Mars.
The Levenmouth Academy pupil is one of only two Scottish teenagers selected for the two-week project at the prestigious United Space School.
Her success is, in part, due to an innovative partnership between her school and Ore Catapult, one of the UK’s leading technology and research centres for offshore renewable energy.
The organisation has been involved with the high school since 2015, when it acquired the 600ft wind turbine in Buckhaven, which is used for the research and development of new technologies for the offshore wind, wave and tidal energy industries.
It wanted the community to benefit from the turbine and helped establish a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) club for secondary pupils in Levenmouth.
It now sponsors the post of principle teacher for STEM within the school and the result is a huge increase in interest in the subject and the addition of two more classes.
Ore Catapult also benefits as young people are gaining the skills needed to work in the renewables industry.
Cailyn is not the only pupil to reap rewards from the approach.
Thirteen-year-old Rhiannon Grant recently won a national STEM award for an innovative idea that involved building a drone with a first aid kit on board to ensure help can be delivered quickly.
Both girls have hailed the opportunities they have been given and said they were excited about the future.
Cailyn said: “I’ll be planning a hypothetical mission to Mars with people from 48 countries. It’s really exciting.
“A lot of children don’t get the opportunities we have. It’s very rewarding.”
Rhiannon said she had been involved with the STEM club since starting secondary school and added: “It’s getting really exciting and interesting.
“We get to do a lot with the school that’s really unique.”
Rector Ronnie Ross said the partnership had sparked the interest of pupils while they were being prepared for the world of work.
“The young people are enthusiastic about science and engineering,” he said.
“The employers can tell us what they’re looking for from young people and we’re able to work together.”
Lee Madigan from Ore Catapult added: “Our industry has huge ambitions for growth and we need the skills now being taught in the school.”
Tayside student Aidan Macrae is also shooting for the starts after securing a visit to an Arctic space base.
The former Monifieth High School pupil is in the second year of a degree in Aero Space Systems at Glasgow University.
The Fly A Rocket Challenge at Norway’s Andoya Space Centre saw him tasked with launching a small rocket into the troposphere — the lowest level of the Earth’s atmosphere.
He was the only Scot of the 24 successful applicants to the programme.