Lenovo and YouTube Help Kids Dream of Space

High school science fairs are one way to inspire youngsters to take an interest in science. But computer manufacturer Lenovo has teamed up with YouTube, NASA, ESA and JAXA to take that motivation further with the YouTube Space Lab.

Instead of following the beaten track and launching one of its laptops into the atmosphere, Lenovo’s taking a much cooler approach. It’s inviting students aged 14 to 18 to come up with a science experiment that could actually be done in space.

A panel of experts that includes educators, scientists and astronauts will choose sixty teams from regions around the world. The top six teams will be invited to Washington, DC to celebrate their success and face down the finals. The two winning experiments will be announced, and all the finalists will get a chance to participate in a zero-gravity flight.

But the winners get something incredibly special. They’ll receive astronaut training at a base in Russia, and their experiments will be completed on the International Space Station, where they’ll be livestreamed for the world to see.

There’s something particularly sweet about this contest. With the U.S. shuttle program ending recently, dreaming of being an astronaut is undoubtedly harder for today’s youngster. If nothing else, contests like this will encourage them to keep reaching for the stars.

Here’s the video promoting the contest, which is viral in its own right:

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