What happens when your experiment gets over 30 000 views online? Tomorrow’s space explorers were awarded an out-of-this-world scientific exchange with astronauts on the International Space Station last Wednesday.
Youngsters from Europe, the Middle East and Africa were invited to the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, for a live chat with ESA astronaut André Kuipers and NASA astronaut Don Pettit.
The prize was well-deserved: only 21 videos out of the 2000 submitted made it to the regional final of the YouTube Space Lab competition.
The students had to squeeze scientific demonstrations into just two minutes of video and suggest what would happen in space with an identical experiment. The videos have been viewed over 50 million times.
This educational initiative supported by ESA “Gives ordinary kids an extraordinary opportunity to make reality greater than fiction,” says Zahaan Bharmal of Google and founder of the Space Lab campaign. He shared the thrill of his first call to the Space Station with the students.
André and Don answered questions from the finalists, and demonstrated the privilege of working in the world’s largest weightless laboratory on a wide range of scientific fields.
After André relieved doubts about risks related to human physiology in space, Don assured the students that, “Exploration is going to depend on you, on what you want to do with your own future.”
Global finalist Amr Mohamed, an 18-year-old student from Alexandria, Egypt, will see how spiders catch their prey in microgravity.