Today, ESA joins the launch of 'YouTube Space Lab', an exciting campaign initiated by YouTube, NASA, Space Adventures and Lenovo that challenges students around the world to design a science experiment for the International Space Station.
The winning experiments will be conducted in space on the International Space Station (ISS), making it the Universe's largest science lesson, streamed live for the world to see via YouTube.
Space Lab is part of a larger YouTube effort, aimed at providing educators access to the wealth of educational content available on YouTube.
Also joining ESA in this launch are two more Station partners, JAXA of Japan and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
Stephen Hawking joins astronauts as judges
Individually or in groups of up to three, students aged 14–18 years may submit a YouTube video describing their experiment to www.youtube.com/spacelab.
A panel of prestigious scientists, astronauts and teachers, including the renowned Professor Stephen Hawking, astronauts Frank De Winne, Samantha Cristoforetti and Timothy Peake of ESA, NASA’s Leland Melvin, Akihiko Hoshide of JAXA, Chris Hadfield of CSA and Cirque du Soleil’s founder Guy Laliberté, will judge the entries with input from the YouTube community.
Six regional finalists will gather in the USA in March 2012 to experience a zero-gravity flight and receive other prizes.
Exclusive visit with ESA astronauts
European finalists will win a visit to the training facilities of the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. This will include scientific discussions and a personally guided tour led by European astronauts.
Finally, two global winners will be announced, for their experiments to be sent into orbit and performed on the Space Station in summer 2012 – live-streamed on YouTube from space.
Additionally, the global winners will get to choose a unique space prize: either a trip to Japan to watch their experiment blast off on the HTV cargo vessel, or a trip to Russia for an authentic space training experience at the facilities where Yuri Gagarin became a cosmonaut.
"As a former ISS crew member, I am particularly pleased that ESA experts are joining this worldwide student competition in support of ISS science," says Thomas Reiter, ESA's Director for Human Spaceflight and Operations.
"I believe it is vital to directly involve youth not only in the challenges of conducting science in space, but also in seeing the wide range of benefits."
"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."
ESA fosters youth focus on science
ESA is in a unique position to reach out to all European students of primary and secondary schools. It can convey the excitement and use the medium of space to stimulate and nurture children's fascination for sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The regular presence of ESA astronauts on long missions on the Station since 2009 provides opportunities for European schools to participate in 'Take Your Classroom Into Space' activities, which see children perform the same experiments on the ground as ESA astronauts do in space. These events are highlighted by multi-site international video live links to the Station.
Much of ESA's educational material revolves around experiments in Europe’s Columbus laboratory on the Station, but also uses the other European-built modules, such as Cupola, to maximise outreach with breathtaking images and videos of Earth.
Contacts for press inquiries only
Bernhard von Weyhe
Tel: +49 6151 90 4204
bvw @ esa.int
Tel: +1 212 843 8308
pfoley @ rubenstein.com
richardsona @ youtube.com
Tel: +1 919 257 6329
krisfair @ lenovo.com