YouTube, Lenovo, and Space Adventures today announced the two global winners of YouTube Space Lab (youtube.com/spacelab), the worldwide science competition that challenged 14-18 year-olds to design a science experiment that can be performed in space. Amr Mohamed from Egypt (17-18 year old age group) and Dorothy Chen and Sara Ma from the U.S. (14-16 year old age group) were awarded the honor at a ceremony in Washington, DC, attended by members of Space Lab partners including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The students will have their experiments conducted by astronauts 250 miles above Earth aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and live streamed to the world on a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop via YouTube later this year.
“Humanity’s future relies on moving beyond Earth,” said renowned scientist, Professor Stephen Hawking. “Realising this goal will require an entrepreneurial spirit and a new generation of scientists and astronauts. YouTube Space Lab is a wonderful initiative that helps inspire young minds around the world to take a greater interest in science and the future of space exploration.”
Amr Mohamed, 18, from Alexandria, Egypt, came up with an experiment to explore the question: “Can you teach an old spider new tricks?” Amr proposed investigating the effects of microgravity on the way the zebra spider catches its prey and whether it could adapt its behavior in this environment. “The idea of sending an experiment into space is the most exciting thing I have ever heard in my life,” said Amr. “Winning YouTube Space Lab means everything to me, to my family, and to the people of the Middle East.”
Dorothy Chen and Sara Ma, both 16, who attend Troy High School in Troy, Michigan, created an experiment that asks: “Could alien superbugs cure disease on Earth?” Dorothy and Sara want to send bacteria to the space station to see if introducing different nutrients and compounds can block their growth in the hopes of providing new tools to fight germs on Earth. “The idea that something that is your experiment being sent up into space and actually becoming a reality is incredible,” said Sara. “I definitely want to pursue science as a career,” added Dorothy.
Amr, Dorothy and Sara joined the four other regional winning teams in Washington, DC, this week to honor their achievements, with prizes including a ZERO-G flight, a Lenovo IdeaPad laptop and a special tour and dinner at the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum at Dulles. YouTube and Lenovo held the awards ceremony at the Newseum in downtown Washington.
In addition to having their experiments performed in space, Amr, Dorothy and Sara will get to choose one of two unique space experiences: either a trip to Japan to watch their experiment blast off in a rocket bound for the ISS, or once they turn 18-years old, a one-of-a-kind astronaut training experience in Star City, Russia, the training center for Russian cosmonauts.