Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Students! Your idea on space!

Homepage Image of © YouTube Space Lab

The European Space Agency has a responsibility to educate the youth of Europe in matters concerning space exploration and it is constantly looking for new ways to engage educators and their students. 

As the power of social media grows, ESA and YouTube Lab Space have decided to make the most of it: promoting scientific experimentation in space. 

It is not the first time that YouTube is engaging young students in different school curriculum. 

Remember YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011Last year, millions of video views, and 101 musicians from 33 countries who uploaded videos to YouTube of themselves auditioning for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 and  saw their dreams come true.

Now, YouTube Space Lab. YouTube believes that space is more exciting and accessible than ever. And it is!

YouTube Space Lab is an innovative venture that will see Google working with the ESA, Lenovo, NASA, JAXA and Space Adventures to promote scientific experimentation on space. 

On this channel, you can discover space by watching the amazing videos we find from across YouTube. 


Students interested in science - Biology and Physics - between 14-18 years were challenged to come up with a science experiment which will be streamed live on YouTube from the International Space Station, along with other great prizes. 

Young people suggested an experiment that could be done on space, The application needed to be made in the form of an explanatory video posted to YouTube before 7th December 2011. 

The shortlist of 60 candidates (between 5.500 candidates) was published the first week of January 2012. 

Overall, the US led with 10 finalists, followed by India with nine. Rounding out the top five countries in terms of total submissions are Poland, Canada and Spain. 

European countries contributed with 21 finalists.

Candidates was selected by a panel of international judges including astronauts from JAXA, NASA, CSA and the ESA, Bertrand Piccard and Stephen Hawking. 

The YouTube community was called until yesterday, January 24th, to help judges make their choices.

This will then be whittled down through a combination of public votes and the decisions of the panel. Two overall winners will be selected in March.


The winning experiment will be conducted on the International Space Station and streamed via YouTube across the world. Wow! Such an adventure! And emotion, of course!

As if this were not impressive enough, the project is offering additional incentives including computers, trips to Japan or Russia and the opportunity to experience a zero-gravity flight.

This is a wonderful chance to inspire interest in Science and space exploration of young students as competitors and the audience around the world.

"The YouTube Space Lab campaign is an excellent, creative way of reaching out to future generations of scientists, on the ground and in orbit. Today, numerous fundamental and applied research experiments in life and physical sciences, Earth and space monitoring as well as technology and education are performed on our Columbus laboratory on the ISS, closely coupled to terrestrial research programmes and issues."

Thomas Reiter of the ESA

Between the 60 candidates, two Portuguese teams were selected. Now, on the semi-final, there is one Portuguese team:

"O ex-aluno da ESTP Guilherme Aresta, atualmente a frequentar o 1º ano do Mestrado Integrado em Bioengenharia na FEUP - Universidade do Porto, juntamente com mais dois colegas de curso, foi aprovado recentemente para a fase final do YouTube Space Lab."

Segundo Guilherme Aresta, o objetivo da experiência proposta é "aumentar o rendimento da produção de biocombustíveis", isto é, utilizar a mesma levedura da cerveja para produzir esse tipo de energia.

Poderá ver a equipa portuguesa neste link

YouTube users and the judging panel will determine six regional winners:

Two teams from each of the Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Asia-Pacific).

Finalists will travel to Washington, DC, for special events, including the opportunity to take a zero-G flight.

European finalists will also win a visit to the training facilities of ESA's European Astronaut Centre, Cologne, Germany.

Education: some conclusions

  • As we could see - 5500 young candidates, is an impressive number! - students are very creative and do wonderful things, in this case, Science and IT, when they are challenged to show their creativity and critical thinking;
  • Educators could also get on board with the competition. YouTube  suggested lesson plans and other dedicated resources for teachers who want to incorporate YouTube Space Lab into their classroom; 
  • The jury will be looking at how creatively students explain and communicate their idea.
  • The two global winners will see their experiments sent into orbit and performed on the Space Station in summer 2012 – live-streamed on YouTube from space.
  • Classrooms around the world will be able to watch a live stream on YouTube as the experiments are performed in space.

“If our competition can just play a small part in getting kids interested in science, then we’ll be very, very happy,” (...) “My vision is the final live stream will be the world’s largest science classroom.”

Zahaan Bharmal* 



Copyright © 2012G-Souto'sBlog,

Licença Creative Commons
Students! Your idea on space by G-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
* Note: Zahaan Bharmal went on to study physics at Oxford University before joining Google and has been a vocal proponent of teaching young people about space. Now he is Google’s head of marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


Youtbe Space Lab

European finalists selected in Space Lab students competion

Youtube Space Lab - Guilherme Aresta no espaço | ESTP

Para o espaço e mais além

Youtube Space Lab | Equipa portuguesa finalista

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