This is not a story about somebody’s kid who just made a volcano or a mouse go through a maze. Google announced on Thursday via the official Google blog, the winners of the YouTube Space Lab contest. The contest was open to students between the ages of 14-18 worldwide.
The object of the Space Lab contest was to find the best science experiments that could be done in space, and then do them, in space.
Unfortunately (well for the parents probably fortunately) the students don’t actually go up in space themselves. Astronaut Sunita Williams will fly to the International Space Station later this year and perform the winners experiments.
More after the break
The winners in the 14-16 year old group were Doroth & Sara from Troy Michigan. The girls experiment is called “Could alien superbugs cure diseases on earth”. Both girls said they wanted to do something in biology rather than physics. They also wanted to do an experiment that would impact the human race. Both girls also expressed an interest in doing science full time as careers after high school.
The girls had learned that after unaltered salmonella was taken into space it proved more deadly to lab mice when it arrived back on earth. From this they decided to test bacteria that attacks fungi in space. They are going to have three tightly locked test tubes of this fungi attacking bacteria sent to space. One sample will be unaltered, one will be altered with fertilizer and the other with phosphates. They will also have a control sample here on earth. When the samples return from space they will immediately release the bacteria onto fungi. Their hypothesis is that the unaltered bacteria that went into space will be more deadly on the fungus.
Amr from Alexandria Egypt is the winner of the 17-18 year old category. He too used biology for his experiment called “Can you teach an old spider new tricks”. In his experiment he will have Williams see if the jumping spider, the Zibra spider “Salticus Scenicus” can still jump to get it’s prey in microgravity. Amr goes on to explain that the salticus scneicus doesn’t trap prey with a web rather it pounces on it’s prey. Amr believes that in microgravity conditions the spider will not be able to catch it’s prey and will just return to it’s spot.
In addition to their experiments being performed on YouTube all three winners will get to choose from two different really cool space prizes. They can pick from a trip to Japan to see their experiments and Astronaut Williams blast off in a rocket to the International Space Station. The other prize they can choose from is once they turn 18 they can attend a week long astronaut course in Star City, Russia the training center for Russian cosmonauts.
The contest was sponsored in part by Lenovo. You may remember a few months back we brought you this story about Lenovo developing a curriculum being tested in high schools across the country to develop Android applications.
You can watch both winning videos and videos of the winning contestants here on the official Google Blog