Welcome to the Genes in Space™ challenge
- Design a DNA research proposal in space biology
- Compete for a chance to launch your experiment into space
- Join the first generation of space DNA scientists
Explore our Learn page to get started on your submission
- Engage students in authentic research
- Conduct pioneering science with real-world outcomes
- Participate in unique professional development opportunities
Download a classroom guide to help develop Genes in Space proposals
USA Finalists will
USA Winners will
- Send their DNA experiment to the International Space Station
- Travel to see the space launch of their experiment
- Attend Space Biology Camp at New England Biolabs
- Be listed as Principal Investigator in NASA documents
- Become a space DNA pioneer!
- Applicants must live in the USA and be in grades 7-12
- Applications can be submitted by individuals or teams of up to 4 students
- Applications must be sponsored by an adult educator (e.g. a teacher, parent/guardian, or science enthusiast)
- Applicants must be available to present at the ISS R+D Conference in Washington D.C., July 17-20, 2017 (funding for travel provided)
- Applicants must propose a DNA analysis experiment to be conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and describe what role the ISS and PCR technology play in your experiment.
International Space Station
The ISS on-orbit laboratory enables scientific research supporting innovation on Earth and serves as a testbed for deep space exploration. Fifteen countries collaborated to assemble the world's only permanently crewed, orbital facility. This research platform houses a crew of six and 150 ongoing experiments across an array of scientific disciplines. Its interior living space is comparable to a five-bedroom home, complete with two bathrooms and exercise accommodations. Learn more.
Work on your proposal individually or as a team of up to 4 students, mentored by an adult educator (e.g. teacher, parent/guardian, or science enthusiast)
Submit your proposal
USA: Before April 25, 2017
25 Awardees Announced
USA: May 16, 2017
5 Finalists work w/PhD mentors
USA: July 17-19, 2017
USA: July 20, 2017
Space Biology Camp
USA: August 2017
YOUR DNA EXPERIMENT IN SPACE
Your submission will be judged by a panel of scientists and thought leaders on the creative and scientific merit of your experimental idea
Have you identified an interesting question? 25 points
Have you stated a clear hypothesis? 25 points
Does your hypothesis require the unique environment of the ISS? 30 points
Have you thought creatively about the experimental design? 20 points
What is the deadline again?
You must submit your experimental idea online on or before April 25th 11:59pm PDT (2017 USA contestants only)
Do I need any biotechnology equipment or access to a lab to enter the competition?
No. Your submission will be judged on creative and scientific merit of your idea. If selected as the winner, you will attend Space Biology Camp to prepare your experiment for space travel.
Does my experiment need to use Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)?
Yes, PCR needs to play a role in your experiment. However, access to a PCR machine or prior knowledge of how to use a PCR machine is not required. Finalists will receive miniPCR DNA Discovery SystemTM for their schools.
Can I access other molecular biology tools aboard the ISS?
The field of space DNA research is so nascent that we cannot yet provide access to additional DNA analysis equipment on-orbit. Genes in Space winners will work alongside astronauts and space researchers taking the first steps towards complete DNA analysis in space!
What biotech equipment will finalist schools be awarded?
Finalists will be awarded the miniPCR DNA Discovery SystemTM including a miniPCRTM machine and a blueGelTM electrophoresis system. More details
If I win, will my experiment be done in space?
Yes! The winning experimental design will be conducted aboard the International Space Station, pending approval from Center for the Advancement for Science In Space (CASIS). The exact launch date will be determined after winners are announced.
Will I be able to get the sample back after the experiment?
Yes, the experimental plan includes returning your DNA samples back to Earth for further analysis, validation, controls, or just to store a piece of Space DNA!
- Will the finalist entries be published?
What happens at the ISS R&D conference (USA only)?
USA Finalists will have the unique opportunity to attend a USA Finalist reception, STEM tours, and to present their designs and obtain feedback from a panel of science, technology, and education experts at the ISS R&D Conference, from July 17-20th 2017
What does the ISS R&D travel award cover (USA only)?
Up to $4000 per USA finalist team can be used to reimburse transportation and lodging expenses
Do I need to be available to attend the ISS R&D Conference, July 17-20th 2017 (USA only)?
For USA teams, at least one team member and one adult chaperone must be available for travel
My question has not been answered. What do I do if I have another question?
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org