I caught this Oct. 10, 2011 news item (Google and Hawking seek space mad teenagers) on the BBC News website,
YouTube has enlisted the help of Prof Stephen Hawking in the hunt for budding young scientists.
The site – which is owned by Google – is launching a competition for teenagers to create an experiment that could be carried out in space.
Two winning ideas will be tested by the crew of the International Space Station.
Ravi Mandalla’s Oct. 11, 2011 article for ITProPortal provides more detail,
The competition, titled YouTube Space Lab, will allow students aged between 14 to 18 years to submit a 2 minute proposal on YouTube. The entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges comprising of astronauts, NASA scientists and Stephen Hawking. The winners will see their experiment streamed live from space as the astronauts perform it on the space station.
The BBC News item offers a more complete list of the judging panel,
Alongside Prof Hawking, the judging panel consists of former Astronauts Leland Melvin, Frank De Winne, Akihiko Hoshide and noted “space tourist” Guy Laliberté. [emphasis mine]
Guy Laliberté, space tourist, is also the Chief Executive Officer for the Cirque du Soleil (founded in Québec, Canada). Professor Hawking also has a Canadian connection, he holds the position of Distinguished Research Chair at the Perimeter Institute (news release announcing Hawking’s appointment), located in Ontario, Canada.
Getting back to the contest, here’s how Google describes the contest (from the YouTube Space Lab contest webpage,
Your experiment, 250 miles above Earth, for the world to see.
What will you do?
We’re asking you to come up with a science experiment for space and upload a video explaining it to YouTube. If your idea wins, it will be performed on the International Space Station and live streamed on YouTube to the world. And we’ll throw in some out-of-this-world prizes, too.
Can plants survive beyond the Earth? Could proteins in space reveal the mysteries of life? Science in micro gravity can help unlock the answers. The countdown’s begun.
ETA Oct. 13, 2011: There’s an Oct. 11, 2011 article about this contest, which includes more information and a video, by Nidhi Subbaraman for Fast Company,
The lucky teenagers who win will have their experiments flown into space, carried on board an ISS-bound rocket, and could find themselves catapulted into YouTube stardom. Their winning entries will earn a joyride to the International Space Station, where astronauts will perform their experiment while being live-streamed on YouTube. It doesn’t end there. They’ll get to pick between one of two grand prizes: a trip to Japan in summer 2012 to see their experiment take off, or, when they turn 18, a chance to participate in the astronaut training program at Russia’s Star City. The four other regional finalists will be given a Zero-G ride, courtesy of Space Adventures, and laptops from Lenovo.