CSA Invites Young Canadians To Design Space Experiment For Chris Hadfield To Perform on the ISS

©CSA

Astronaut Jeremy Hansen with grade 7 students Olivia Crewe and Ian Kerr.

Young Canadians have been invited to design an experiment for Chris Hadfield to perform in space on the International Space Station (ISS). Called the Canadian Science Challenge, it is an effort by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to inspire young people to pursue careers in science and technology.

The announcement was made by CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. "The Canadian Science Challenge makes science accessible and fun, and encourages younger generations to become more interested in science and technology," said Hansen as he worked on the hockey experiment with the students from Steve MacLean High School.

The challenge is open to all Canadians 19 years of age or younger. The experiment can be designed in a classroom with teacher supervision or at home with adult supervision.

The CSA is looking for an experiment which can be performed here on Earth and then, performed on the ISS, with interesting effects in zero-gravity.

There is a catch - the experiment won't be built on Earth and sent up to the ISS. It must be built in space using a list of materials already on board the International Space Station, like socks, dental floss, scissors, tape, clips, cords, bottles of shampoo, water or even mustard.

The winning entry will be built on orbit by Chris Hadfield and then performed and streamed live on the Internet to the whole world, during a unique Earth to space connection at the winners' school. The winning team will have an opportunity to talk with Hadfield on orbit after the experiment has been completed.

"The International Space Station is an orbiting laboratory where dozens of experiments are performed every day. It makes a great science classroom," said astronaut Chris Hadfield from Houston where he is training for his upcoming mission. "I look forward to connecting with a classroom from space and conducting the experiment the students have designed."

On December 5, 2012, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield will lift off to the International Space Station. He'll make the orbital laboratory his home for nearly six months, working alongside five American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts as they conduct science experiments, test new technologies and berth commercial re-supply spacecraft using Canadarm2. During the second half of his mission, Hadfield will become the first Canadian to command the ISS.

Daniel Rey, a CSA Engineer who's worked on DEXTRE one of Canada's space robots, was also at the launch. Rey won a similar science experiment when he was in grade 12. "My experiment opened my eyes and mind to the wonders of space. It truly inspired me to pursue an engineering career. "

The experiment must be easy to construct, perform and tear down - all in 20 minutes.
Teams must submit a video of the experiment with their proposal. The contest runs from September 14 to December 31, 2012. A panel of scientists and astronauts will pick the 10 best submissions from across Canada. During the last two weeks of January, videos of top 10 finalists will be posted on CSA's YouTube page where Canadians will be encouraged to vote for their favourite experiment. CSA will announce the winner in February.

Entries must be received by December 31, 2012 and the contest is only open to Canadians under the age of 19. Canadian classrooms or teams of students in a school can participate through the "At School" category. The contest is also open to Canadians wishing to participate individually as part of the "At Home" category. The winner of the At Home category will receive a telephone call from Hadfield from space.

This is the third contest sponsored by the CSA to commemorate Hadfield's Mission. Canadians were asked to suggest snacks that could be taken aboard the ISS. The winners were announced last month. The Chris Hadfield World Tour Photo Challenge will continue through the end of Hadfield's mission in May 2013.