YouTube and Lenovo, together with Space Adventures and space agencies including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), have launched YouTube Space Lab, aworldwide initiative that challenges 14 to 18-year-old students to design a science experiment that can be performed in space.

The two winning experiments will be conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and streamed live on YouTube.

A prestigious panel of scientists, astronauts, and educators, including Professor Stephen Hawking, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration & operations William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator of education & former astronaut Leland Melvin, ESA astronaut Frank De Winne, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and Cirque du Soleil’s founder Guy Laliberté, will judge the entries with input from the YouTube community.

Students in two age categories, 14 to 16 years old and 17 to 18 years old, either alone or in groups of up to three, may submit a YouTube video to YouTube.com/SpaceLab, describing their experiment.

Six regional finalists will gather in Washington DC, in March 2012 to experience a ZERO-G flight and receive other prizes.  From them, two global winners, one from each age group, will be announced. Later on, their experiments performed 250 miles above Earth and live streamed on YouTube.

In addition, the global winners will be able to choose a unique space experience as a prize: either a trip to Tanegashima Island, Japan, to watch their experiment blast off in a rocket bound for the ISS or, once they are 18 years old, a one-of-a-kind astronaut training experience in Star City, Russia, the training centre for Russian cosmonauts.

Students need to submit their two-minute video by 7 December 2011.