Two lucky winners will have their space experiments performed in space, on the International Space Station by the astronauts stationed there.

Two lucky winners will have their space experiments performed in space, on the International Space Station by the astronauts stationed there.

The most popular video sharing website in the world, YouTube, has teamed up with NASA and several other key figures from the scientific community to launch YouTube Space Lab, a global effort challenging students between the ages of 14 and 18 to design an experiment that can be conducted in space. I know there are a lot of teenaged readers here, so this competition might be your best chance to devise an experiment trully out of this world. Read on!

Curiously enough, Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt recently criticised science and technology education in the UK, after he delivered the annual McTaggart lecture in Edinburgh, when he said the country needed to reignite children’s passion for subjects such as engineering and maths. Then came this press announcement from YouTube, which is owned by Google, publicizing this highly bold competition.

Only two winning entries will be selected from all the entries, both of which will be performed by the International Space Station astronauts. The goal is to engage students in science, engineering and math, 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, D.C., in a statement. “This contest will capitalize on students’ excitement for space exploration while engaging them in real-life scientific research and experimentation.”

To enter the competition, students must submit a two-minute video application explaining their experiment, of course, on YouTube by Dec. 7. You can choose They can work alone or in groups of up to three people. Students can submit up to three experiments in one of two disciplines — biology or physics.

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The winners, besides having the honour of having their experiment run in space, will get to experience weightlessness on a zero-g airplane flight, and have the option to either undergo astronaut training in Russia, or to watch the rocket launch in Japan which takes their idea into space.

The top 60 experiments will be announced on Jan. 3, 2012, at which time final judging will begin. The judge panel is quite stellar, as one might expect – renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and NASA’s human exploration and operations chief, Bill Gerstenmaier, Frank De Winne, Akihiko Hoshide and noted “space tourist” Guy Laliberté.

For more information on the contest and how to enter, visit: http://www.youtube.com/SpaceLab.

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