NASA Announces YouTube Space Lab Contest Winners
March 23, 2012

NASA Announces YouTube Space Lab Contest Winners

NASA astronaut Suni Williams announced the winners of the YouTube Space Lab contest on Thursday.

Dorothy Chen and Sara Ma from Troy, Michigan and Amr Mohamed from Egypt won the chance to see their science experiments performed on the International Space Station.

Participants of the contest were asked to submit experiments that could be conducted in zero gravity by astronauts.

Williams will be performing the two winning YouTube Space Lab contest experiments while on the Expedition 32 and 33 missions of the space station later this year.

NASA said thousands of individuals and teams ages 14 to 18 years old from over 80 countries entered the competition to have their experiment flown in space.

In Mohamed's experiment, he wants to see how zero gravity affects the habits of zebra spiders, which jump on their prey.

He wants to find out if the spider´s habits could adapt in space, or if the spider will be unable to catch its prey.

The judging panel included William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration Mission Directorate, and Leland Melvin, associate administrator for NASA's Office of Education and a former astronaut, as well as renowned physicist Stephen Hawking.

“Realizing this goal will require an entrepreneurial spirit and a new generation of scientists and astronauts,” Hawking told the Washington Post. “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.”

The finalist and four other teams of regional finalist got to experience what it was like to float around in zero gravity on Thursday on an aircraft run by Zero G.

NASA said the judging panel selected 60 finalists, and online voting chose the final six.