To reach out to future generations of scientists and space explorers: This is the aim of the YouTube Space Lab, an initiative launched late 2011 with Lenovo and Space Adventures in cooperation with NASA, ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
The YouTube Space Lab invited young scientists in two age categories, 14- to 16-years old and 17- to 18-years old, either alone or in groups of up to three, to develop an experiment that could be carried out in space and to submit a YouTube video describing it.
YouTube claimed that thousands of young scientists entered, and more than 150,000 YouTube users worldwide helped select six regional winners among the 60 finalists by voting for their favorite science experiment.
YouTube Space Lab said it will announce the two global winners –one selected from each of the two age groups- at an awards ceremony in Washington, DC, on March 22. Their experiments will be performed later this year 400km above Earth by NASA aboard the International Space Station and live streamed on YouTube for the world to see.
Until then, check out finalists’ videos (courtesy of YouTube, of course
). It gives a blast of freshness!The regional finalists in the 14- to 16-year-old category are:
• Patrick Zeng & Derek Chan
, New Zealand (Asia Pacific region)
On Earth, gravity affects the rate that heat transfers in gases and fluids. Patrick and Derek theorized about whether heat transfer in air specifically would become faster or slower in microgravity. Experiments like theirs could help us create more efficient heating and cooling systems on Earth.
• Laura Calvo & María Vilas
, Spain (Europe, Middle East and Africa region)
Laura and María want to know if microgravity affects how different types of liquids interact when mixed with compounds that lower their surface tension. Fluid physics research is crucial to our understanding of the effects of miniaturization of electronic materials which could lead to smaller more efficient electronic devices.
• Dorothy Chen & Sara Ma
, U.S. (The Americas region)
Dorothy and Sara were inspired by studies that showed how bacteria grown in space returned more infectious than their counterparts on Earth. They want to send bacteria to the space station to see if introducing different nutrients and compounds can block their growth. If their hypothesis is correct, they suggest further studies could give us new tools to fight germs on Earth.And, in the 17- to 18-year-old category:
• Sachin Kukke
, India (Asia Pacific region)
Sachin is interested in how heat transfers in special magnetic liquids called ferrofluids. Understanding these liquids better might help us solve a difficult problem -- how to keep engines cool when there’s no air to take away the heat -- perhaps enabling us to go deeper into space. These unusual liquids could also help us create advanced cooling systems on Earth.
• Amr Mohamed
, Egypt (Europe, Middle East and Africa region)
Zebra spiders jump on their prey instead of catching them in a web. But what would happen in microgravity? Amr doesn't think the spider will catch its prey, but could it adapt its behaviour and hunt in a different way? Only space will tell...
• Emerald Bresnahan
, U.S. (The Americas region)
Emerald suggests that galaxies might form in a similar way to snowflakes. She wants to test how snowflakes form in the absence of gravity to better understand the link between them and other complex shapes like galaxies. Will these tiny structures give us the answers to some of our biggest questions about the Universe?