Tag Archives: Lenovo

YouTube space lab contest winners

The YouTube Space Lab contest (mentioned here in an Oct. 12, 2011 posting) recently announced its two global winners (winners will get to have their research carried out on the space station). From the March 22, 2012 Space Adventures press release,

YouTube, Lenovo, and Space Adventures today announced the two global winners of YouTube Space Lab (youtube.com/spacelab), the worldwide science competition that challenged 14-18 year-olds to design a science experiment that can be performed in space.

Amr Mohamed from Egypt (17-18 year old age group) and Dorothy Chen and Sara Ma from the U.S. (14-16 year old age group) were awarded the honor at a ceremony in Washington, DC, attended by members of Space Lab partners including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).  The students will have their experiments conducted by astronauts 250 miles above Earth aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and live streamed to the world on a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop via YouTube later this year.

Amr Mohamed, 18, from Alexandria, Egypt, came up with an experiment to explore the question: “Can you teach an old spider new tricks?”  Amr proposed investigating the effects of microgravity on the way the zebra spider catches its prey and whether it could adapt its behavior in this environment.  “The idea of sending an experiment into space is the most exciting thing I have ever heard in my life,” said Amr. “Winning YouTube Space Lab means everything to me, to my family, and to the people of the Middle East.”

Dorothy Chen and Sara Ma, both 16, who attend Troy High School in Troy, Michigan, created an experiment that asks: “Could alien superbugs cure disease on Earth?”  Dorothy and Sara want to send bacteria to the space station to see if introducing different nutrients and compounds can block their growth in the hopes of providing new tools to fight germs on Earth.  “The idea that something that is your experiment being sent up into space and actually becoming a reality is incredible,” said Sara. “I definitely want to pursue science as a career,” added Dorothy.

The global winners were in Washington, DC, with the regional winners, from the article by Nidhi Subbaraman on the Fast Company website,

Six teens between the ages of 14 and 18 from the U.S., Spain, Egypt, India, and New Zealand were just rewarded for their stellar science projects with a Zero-G flight above Washington, D.C., courtesy of Space Adventures.

… [Four regional winners:]

  • Patrick Zeng and Derek Chan from New Zealand hoped to see if heat transfers between hot and cold fluids would occur differently in a gravity-free environment. The results of their experiment could lead to more efficient heating and cooling systems here on Earth.
  • Spanish middle schoolers Laura Calvo and María Vilas wanted to test how weightless liquids behave–their surface behavior in low gravity have valuable insights into the construction of microelectronics.
  • Emerald Bresnahan, from the U.S., was curious to see how snowflakes would form in space.
  • Indian mechanical engineer in training Sachin Kukke is studying magnetic liquids called ferro fluids, towards understanding if they can absorb heat from the engines of spaceships, pushing them further into space.

You can find the contest videos (190 of them) here at YouTube Space Lab.  To whet your appetite, here’s the video from Amr Mohamed,

Congratulations to everyone who entered the contest.

Space contest for teenagers

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.

Good luck!

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.