Experiments by students to be flown to ISS

Very soon, a few lucky teenagers would get a lifetime opportunity to showcase their experiment in a two-minute video and get it flown to International Space Station.

Updated: Oct 11, 2011, 09:12 AM IST

Houston: Very soon, a few lucky teenagers would get a lifetime opportunity to showcase their experiment in a two-minute video and get it flown to International Space Station.
YouTube and Lenovo, the computer manufacturer, announced yesterday a science contest called `SpaceLab` for students around the world aged between 14 to 18.

Students will have to make videos to pitch ideas for experiments that could be conducted in the zero-gravity of the space station.

The two winning entries will be selected and performed by astronauts aboard the International Space Station, 240 miles (386 kilometers) above Earth. These experiments will also be streamed live on the video-sharing site YouTube, contest organisers said.

The goal is to engage students in science, engineering and maths, and to help them develop their creative and analytical faculties, officials said.

"The space station really is the greatest science classroom we have," said former astronaut Leland Melvin, associate administrator for education at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC, in a statement.

"This contest will capitalise on students` excitement for space exploration while engaging them in real-life scientific research and experimentation."

Students must submit a two-minute video application explaining their experiment via YouTube by December 7.

The top 60 experiments will be announced on January 3, 2012, at which time final judging will begin.

The judges will include many big names in science and space exploration, including renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and NASA`s human exploration and operations chief, Bill Gerstenmaier.

Six finalists would meet in Washington, DC, in March 2012, and get a chance to experience zero-gravity flights on an aircraft and receive other prizes.

Two global winners one from the 14 to 16 year-old age group and one others from the 17-18 age group will then be picked from the six finalists.

The two winners will get to choose one of two big prizes: a trip to Japan to watch their experiment blast off, or (after they turn 18) a chance to undergo spaceflight training in Star City outside Moscow, the training center for Russian cosmonauts, officials said.

"These students are being given the opportunity to do real research in orbit," NASA said.

PTI