FORMER International Space Station commander Chris Hadfield has been formally invited to meet Alex Salmond when his book tour reaches Edinburgh on 18 December, The Scotsman has learned.
The First Minister extended the invitation to the astronaut famous for his rendition of David Bowie’s Space Oddity after admiring the photographs of Scotland he had tweeted from space.
The Canadian will speak about his new book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, at the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh, but ticket details have yet to be announced.
He has said his Scottish roots - his grandmother’s family was from the Borders - inspired him to tweet the images of Scotland, including Fife, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Ayrshire and Skye.
They prompted Mr Salmond to tweet: “Stunning photos of Scotland from space @Cmdr_Hadfield. Hope you’ll come take a closer look when back on earth.”
The astronaut replied: “I’d love to again visit Scotland once back on earth. I’ve been from Oban to Aberdeen, but there’s so much more to see and do.”
Commander Hadfield made a brief, Elvis Presley-style, stopover at Prestwick airport in May on his way home after landing in Kazakhstan in a Russian Soyuz space capsule. following five months in space.
A spokeswoman for Mr Salmond said: “The First Minister tweeted an invitation to him at the space station, and this week when his Edinburgh visit was announced a more formal invitation to meet him was sent.”