NASA is currently scanning YouTube for submissions from kids between the ages of 14-18.
What is great about this program is the way they are reaching out to kids. The next generation of space explorers spends most of his/her time in school. It's hard to get excited about space science in gym class. By teaming up with YouTube, NASA is tapping the Digital Generation for inspiration.
Let's face it, space science simply does not get kids as excited as it once did. That might be because we have so few missions to space that involve people. In fact at the moment NASA doesn't even have a spaceship to get to the ISS, much less the "Moon, Mars and Beyond."
Anyone with kids knows how difficult it is to get them excited about what's for desert, much less the idea that they might get to travel to space when they're 30. If it isn't happening right now, they'll move on to something else fast enough; come and get them when it's finally ready.
Hopefully this new program will prove successful enough for them to hold it every year. If so, I anticipate the entries will grow more numerous, more intense and more likely to spur some real breakthroughs.
The YouTube SpaceLab project, which launched this week, is a new one-of-a-kind competition for high school students aimed at getting teenagers more interested in science. Students ages 14 to 18 can submit their experiments on biology and physics to the contest to an all-star panel of judges including world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking. Other judges include NASA administrators William Gerstenmaier and Leland Melvin, European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihito Hoshide and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte. Zahaan Bharmal, Google’s head of marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said all of the judges were excited to participate in the contest and motivate the next generation of scientists.
Students may submit experiments individually or in groups of up to three young scientists. Six regional winners will win a trip to Washington, D.C. and will get to experience a zero-gravity flight.
Click here to read more about the YouTube project.