NASA entered into a non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement with Space Adventures for astronauts aboard the International Space Station 250 miles above Earth to conduct the winning experiments on the orbiting outpost. The experiments will be performed on the U.S. portion of the space station that has been designated as a national laboratory.
The National Laboratory Education Initiative seeks innovative ways to use the unique microgravity environment of the space station to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The contest is designed to encourage students from 14 to 18 years old to develop STEM skills through practical experience. The goal is to develop creative and analytical abilities by working on teams to solve problems using the latest information technology and tools.
“The space station really is the greatest science classroom we have,” said Leland Melvin, associate administrator for education at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This contest will capitalize on students’ excitement for space exploration while engaging them in real-life scientific research and experimentation.”
NASA representatives will join a panel of internationally renowned scientists, astronauts and teachers to judge the entries with input from the YouTube community. Public voting will begin on Jan. 3, 2012. Two global winners will be announced in January 2012. Both of those experiments will fly aboard the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s HTV-3 mission next summer. Six regional finalists will be selected in March 2012. Regional finalists will receive get a flight on a ZERO-G aircraft.
Contest entrants may submit up to three experiments in either life sciences or physics. They must submit a two-minute video application by Dec. 7 via YouTube.com. The public will be able to follow the competition and watch the experiments via video streaming on YouTube’s website.
The station is a unique partnership between the space agencies of the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and Russia. The station brings together the knowledge, technologies and resources of several nations working toward the common goal of putting humans in space permanently. For information about the space station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station
After 1 p.m. EDT Monday, Oct. 10, you can find more information about how to enter the competition or to submit a video application at: http://www.youtube.com/SpaceLab