Hackers age 14-18 can compete to put their project into space

If you’re between the ages of 14 and 18, or have a child who is, here’s a chance to put a project into space. NASA is partnering with YouTube, Lenovo, and a few other entities for a contest that challenges participants to dream up low-gravity experiments. You can enter as an individual or in teams of up to three people, and may put forth up to three experiment ideas for judging. Getting in on the first round is as easy as recording and uploading a video. You’ll need to state a scientific question or principle you want to test, a hypothesis of what can be learned, and a method for testing it.

As with most of the projects we encounter, the seminal idea is always the toughest part. And since the folks here at Hackaday are too old to enter, we thought we’d propose throwing around some ideas in the comments to get the ball rolling (the contest FAQ says it’s okay to get help from others so we’re not ruining it for everyone). We’ll go first.

It looks like experiments can be Biology or Physics related, and can’t use hazardous chemicals, weapons, or anything sharp. We’d love to see some tests that measure how well electronic sensors work in the microgravity. For instance, can you use a gyroscope sensor reliably in micro-gravity? What about an electronic compass; does it always point toward earth? What about robotic propulsion? We’d love to see a minature ROV swimming through the air like a water-bourne vessel would on earth.

Your turn. Leave a comment to let us know what you’d do if you could enter. Oh, and we’ve also embedded the contest promo video after the break.


  1. jamdis says:

    “It looks like experiments can be Biology or Physics related, and can’t use hazardous chemicals, weapons, or anything sharp.”

    Ha! Somewhere there’s a sad teenager who just wanted to test the effects of microgravity on handguns.

    “From my cold dead Canadarm”

  2. Paul says:

    I’m 15 so this looks interesting.
    I need some ideas although the giroscope in space is a good one, I’m pretty sure they’ve done it already.

  3. Ren says:

    The electronic (fluxgate) compass in my watch can’t reliably find north…
    Would it do better in space?

  4. zuul says:

    wish they had an 18+ version…although i guess that’s called working at nasa

  5. John says:

    Gyroscopes are the things they use to stabilize objects not less like the international space station. So Paul is right.

    But what’s about stirling engines?

  6. mlseim says:

    Mining and production will be the next big things on the moon (and Mars). They both do have some gravity, but if any processing is done during the trip back, they will need some equipment on board. Such things as bulk/density measurements, and weight-loss, and dispensing of dry powders, liquids, and chemicals for process additives, etc. I would like to see how types of manufacturing that involve any use of weight or dispensing would work in zero gravity … or how to make them work.

  7. c3p says:

    The C4 (Chaos Computer Club Cologne) has an annual project for u20

  8. This guy says:

    I’m sure some terminally ill teenager asked Make A Wish to get him to be the guinea pig for human tests on explosive decompression and effects of a vacuum on human body.

    I know I would

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