In less than a week two young scientists will find out whether they will be going to the US for the next round of judging in the global YouTube Space Lab Competition
The challenge involves 14 to 18-year-olds designing an experiment that could be carried out in space and then uploading a video to YouTube explaining it.
Derek Chan and Patrick Zeng, who are both in year 12 at Auckland Grammar School, have been announced as finalists and will find out on Wednesday if they are regional winners.
If they succeed they will travel to Washington DC next month where they will experience a zero gravity flight and receive a free laptop.
Three global winners will be announced later in March and will have their experiment performed at the International Space Station.
A video of the experiment will be streamed live on YouTube.
Derek and Patrick's experiment is in the field of physics and thermodynamics and looks at the rate that heat travels within fluids and gases in the zero gravity environment astronauts work in.
They say it would be useful for understanding how to refrigerate or heat things in space.
Derek says they decided on the experiment simply because they were interested in the topic.
"It's just good to know, it's more like an interesting fact. It intrigues us," he says.
The 15-year-olds started designing their idea last year and did most of the work outside of school.
Professor Stephen Hawking is one of the members of the expert judging panel, that also includes a raft of NASA specialists, who is viewing the finalists' videos to decide on the regional winners.
"Even if we don't get it, it's pretty cool knowing Stephen Hawking saw your video," Patrick says.
YouTube Space Lab received thousands of video submissions from more than 80 countries for the competition.
- © Fairfax NZ News