Teenagers: Enter YouTube Space Lab competition by December 14

Scientific American and YouTube are offering teenagers a chance to participate in real science. It works like this: Think up a question that can only be tested via an experiment performed in space. Make a video about your idea and submit it to the contest by December 14.

The two best ideas will actually be tested in space. That's right. If you win this, an experiment you designed will be performed by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. And you'll get some cool stuff—like a zero-G flight on board the "Vomit Comet" now, and, when you turn 18, actual cosmonaut training in Russia. Yeah. For real.

Oh, and Stephen-freaking-Hawking will be one of the judges.

This whole thing is a little insane.

If you're between the ages of 14 and 18, and you live on Earth, you can enter. Do it. Seriously. There are grown-ups who want to live vicariously through you.

For inspiration, here are some sample entries.


  1. If anyone is a teenager through whom I could live vicariously by feeding them with brilliant ideas, please step forward. Qualifications for rocking the shit out of science fairs available upon request.

  2. “We need children who aren’t afraid to live outside the law of gravity! Families who like to live in tubes and push buttons!”

  3. I’m glad to know that the space station is finally redeeming its multi-billion dollar cost now that  real intellectual power is being brought to bear on the best uses for its laboratory environment.  Outsourcing scientific inquiry to kids should also save money and reduce the costs of funding research.  This is just brilliant.

    1. Concern troll, please. 

      There is clearly a difference between “Aw, fuck it. Let’s just let kids do the science. It’s not like this equipment is really valuable” and “Hey, maybe we should inspire the next generation of researchers who will continue to make this investment valuable in the future.” 

      If you have to reach this much to whine about how your taxes are being wasted on science, it’s time to find a new pet issue. 

  4. Unfortunately, the young lady whom I’m sure would be interested is under the age range… so I hope they continue this in future years.

    In fact, I’ll hope that even if she isn’t interested. One of the huge effects of the race to the moon was that it produced a generation which was enthusiastic about science, engineering, and math. We desperately need that attitude again.

    (And, yeah, I envy the kids. I’ve got my own pet project which I’d like to see attempted, if it hasn’t already been done; it *might* be a solution to the problem of growing ultrapure, ultraperfect crystals, which has long been the canonical example of a manufacturing process which might benefit from being performed in microgravity.)

  5. ‘If you’re between the ages of 14 and 18, and you live on Earth, you can enter. Do it. Seriously. There are grown-ups who want to live vicariously through you.’

    dat sentence.

    even if i was within ht eage group i wouldent have any ideas for experiment othe then some sort of quantitive test on how much fun i could have in zero-g if they took me to the space station.

Comments are closed.