Google's next science fair includes computer science award, Virgin Galactic

Beyond age, Google stipulates that the only other basic requirements are a "curious mind and an Internet connection."

Like all things Google, the annual science fair is getting bigger, better, and even a little out of this world.

The Internet giant's fourth annual science fair is kicking off, open to students worldwide between the ages of 13 and 18. Beyond age, Google stipulates that the only other basic requirements are a "curious mind and an Internet connection."

Smarts, ambition, and a general interest in improving the world help too.

Previous final round entries have included a way to improve ovarian cancer treatment for patients with a resistance to select chemotherapy drugs, an artificial neural network in the Google App Engine cloud that can be tailored and deployed immediately for diagnosing masts faster, and a platform in which people can send EKG images to diagnosing heart disease using nothing more than Bluetooth on a featurephone.

Google is also spicing things up with a few new awards too, starting one just for computer science as well as local awards to be handed out to students in select locations around the globe with projects that address issues relevant to their own communities.

Joining previous sponsors Scientific American, LEGO Education and National Geographic, Virgin Galactic has also been tapped as a partner.

The commercial spaceflight company is responsible for the grand prize, pledging to invite the top winner to the suborbital airline's Spaceport America in New Mexico to welcome back some of the first passengers back to Earth.

The other prizes aren't too shabby either, which range from a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic to going behind the scenes at the LEGO factory in Billund, Denmark.

The submission box opens today, accepting online applications and proposals through May 12. Regional finalists will be announced in June, and then the pool will be narrowed to 15 finalists in August.

That last group will be flown into California for the final showcase and judging on September 22 at the Android maker's Mountain View headquarters.

For a closer look at the 2014 Google Science Fair, check out the promo video below: