Space and science meet online for youngsters Simon Kopf demonstrating diamagnetism. Simon and Sara Kopf reached the regional finals of the SpaceLab competition with their YouTube video "Diamagnetic Tweezers". Space Lab, supported by ESA, was initiated by YouTube, NASA, Japan's JAXA space agency, Space Adventures and Lenovo. It challenges students around the world to design a science experiment to be performed on the International Space Station. Image:
The prize was well-deserved: only 21 videos out of the 2000 submitted made it to the regional final of the YouTube Space Lab competition.
The students had to squeeze scientific demonstrations into just two minutes of video and suggest what would happen in space with an identical experiment. The videos have been viewed over 50 million times.
This educational initiative supported by ESA "Gives ordinary kids an extraordinary opportunity to make reality greater than fiction," says Zahaan Bharmal of Google and founder of the Space Lab campaign. He shared the thrill of his first call to the Space Station with the students.
After André relieved doubts about risks related to human physiology in space, Don assured the students that, "Exploration is going to depend on you, on what you want to do with your own future."
Global finalist Amr Mohamed, an 18-year-old student from Alexandria, Egypt, will see how spiders catch their prey in microgravity.
Other finalists came up with innovative ideas to send to the Station as well, involving yeast-powered space travel, alcohol production and magnets.
In some cases, it took the young scientists three weeks to research and set up their experiments. For others, like Harry and Jack, five minutes before a physics class were enough to film their idea.
After a hands-on tour of Europe's astronaut training facilities, there was no doubt that space fuels students' fascination for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. "This space experience will stick in their minds forever," concludes Martin.