Nov 29, 2011

A Unique Opportunity for High School Students to Reach for the Stars

You don’t have to be a science nerd to enter the YouTube Space Lab challenge. You just have to have a little imagination and curiosity about something that could be tested 250 miles above the earth.

“YouTube launched Space Lab to allow ordinary students the extraordinary opportunity of having their experiment carried out in space,” said Zahaan Bharmal, Google’s head of marketing operations and the man behind the idea. “Our goal is to encourage students to explore the world of science, earthbound and beyond, by first accessing YouTube, and ultimately space.”

YouTube and Lenovo, in cooperation with Space Adventures and various space agencies including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), developed the Space Lab as a worldwide initiative to challenge 14 to 18 year-old students to design science experiments that can be performed in space. Two winning experiments will be conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and live streamed on YouTube.

Students in two age categories, 14-16 and 17-18 years-old are invited to compete either alone or in groups of up to three by submitting a YouTube video describing their experiment on All eligible entries will be scored by a panel of independent judges who will select 60 entries for public voting. Six regional finalists will be invited to Washington, DC, in March, and from this group two global winners will be announced.

The lucky global winners will not only have their experiments carried out in space, but they will also get the choice of a trip to Tanegashima Island, Japan to watch their experiment blast off in a rocket bound for the ISS or the opportunity to receive one-of-a-kind astronaut training in Star City, Russia.

To enter the competition, students need to submit a two-minute video describing their experiment. The video can be as simple as an explanation on a chalkboard or the demonstration of a mock-up in the classroom. Every video must cover the question to be tested, a hypothesis, the method used to conduct the experiment in microgravity, and the expected results of the experiment.

Note that you don’t have to actually DO the experiment. You just have to be able to explain it. And you can use animation, sock puppets, or any other equally-creative method to get your ideas across.

Students may submit up to three experiments in one of two scientific disciplines—either biological or physical sciences. Sample experiments and more detailed instructions are provided on the YouTube Space Lab website.

All entries are due by no later than December 14, 2011 by 23:59 PT. The deadline has already been extended once, and it won’t be extended again.

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