Wondering what that space inspired YouTube logo is all about? As part of the YouTube EDU program, Google today announced YouTube Space Lab, a new initiative and competition encouraging students to create concepts for science experiments that can be performed in space.

In partnership with Lenovo, NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Space Lab was created essentially as a one stop shop for students and teachers interested in learning about space.

Perhaps the most important section of the YouTube Space Lab is “The Competition”. Open to users 14-18 years old, the basics of the comp is to encourage kids to create a science experiment that can be carried out in space. To enter, you create a YouTube video explaining the experiment (you don’t actually have to perform the experiment in your submission) and upload it to the Space Lab. Examples of submissions can be seen here and here.

A selection of winning submissions will have their experiment conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and also broadcast live on YouTube. Then, whoever is crowned the “global winner” will receive a trip to watch their experiment blast off in the rocket in Japan, or take cosmonaut training in Russia when you’re 18 years of age. The winner will also receive a trip to Washington, DC and a ZERO-G flight experience, and a Lenovo IdeaPad U300s Ultrabook. Winners will be selected by a panel of scientists and experts, including Professor Stephen Hawking.

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Other than the competition, the Space Lab consists of a few sections-  “Discover Space” allowing you to check out space related educational YouTube videos, “Direct From Space” provides the NASA image of the day, tweets from space related agencies, and the ability to locate the ISS, and “Technology In Orbit” which is pretty much just an ad for Lenovo with videos showing their products being used in space.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can check out the official rules here, the FAQ here, or head over to the Space Lab now to learn more. If you need a little inspiration, you can check out the “What Will You Do?” ad below.

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