Google today announced the winners of its YouTube Space Lab competition. The competition challenged high school students to design experiments that could be performed in space. The entries were voted on by the public and a panel of expert educators and scientists, including Physicist Stephen Hawking.
Dorthy and Sara from Troy, Michigan were the winners from the 14-16-year-old age group. They designed an experiment to test whether a helpful common bacteria would show increased virulence after a trip in space:
Their experiment is based on a former experiment performed in space that demonstrated salmonella’s increased virulence after a trip off-Earth.
The winner of the 17-18-year-old group is Amr from Alexandria, Egypt. His experiment involves spiders:
NASA has already provided footage of golden orb spiders in space but, as Amr says in the video, spiders that don’t capture prey with webs display very different behavior.
These winning experiments will actually be performed in space later this year by astronaut Sunita Williams and streamed live on YouTube. In addition, Dorthy, Sara, and Amr get to choose between traveling to Japan to watch the rocket with their experiments inside blast off or attending an astronaut course in Star City, Russia for a week, once they turn 18.
As for me, I’ll continue to try and suppress the thought that jumping spiders exist. Also, I might just start writing the screenplay for my new “Snakes on a Plane” sequel: “Spiders on a Space Station.”