A SCHOOLBOY is “over the moon” after winning a competition that will see his science experiment blasted into space.

Oliver Travis, 16, from Cardinal Newman school in Brighton, impressed a panel of physicists at Kings College, London with a pioneering idea to send salt-loving micro-organisms beyond the stratosphere.

Oliver’s experiment will be sent up to the International Space Station on board SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket in May 2020.

His team beat 36 others at a four-day science camp in the capital. The teams were vying to design the experiment most worthy of being conducted in space.

Among the judges were former NASA astronauts Tony Antonelli and Dr Michael Foale, the first Briton to space walk.

Oliver’s team stunned the panel with a proposal to thrust single-celled haloarchaea organisms out from the ISS’s permanent obit in a specially-designed pod called the “dragon capsule”.

These micro organisms thrive in high-salt environments. They have been found in volcanic hot springs, such as those at Yellowstone National Park in America.

Oliver said: “There’s a reason we’re sending the experiment into space. Haloarchaea seem to do very well in extreme conditions, and we want to investigate how they fare in space’s micro-gravity.

He added: “Based on the findings of a 2018 paper, we expect you’d see a higher mass of these micro organisms in space and that could be important.”

At the event, Oliver delivered a speech about the experiment’s possible applications, such as overcoming antibiotic resistance, reconstructing bones, and finding a new biodegradable plastic.

Oliver explained the experiment could also help with bio-remediation, restoring the fertility of soil. What’s more, his scheme came in under budget.

He said: “I’m over the moon. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I couldn’t believe it, and it still hasn’t sunk in. We’re being kept up to date with the mission discovery team. I can’t wait for the launch.”

Oliver’s interest in space stems from a present his family gave him. He said: “It all started when I was given a Brian Cox DVD called ‘Wonders of the Solar System’.

“I was hooked. There was an episode about extremophiles, organisms that live in hostile environments, and that’s when I first became interested in all this.”

Oliver’s science teacher Mr Palmer said: “Oli’s enthusiasm for science, and physics in particular, knows no bounds.

“This is a huge success for Oli and it will be a great boost for him and his journey into further study.

“I am delighted for him and this is a well-deserved endorsement of his ability and skill.

“I look forward to him joining Newman College and continuing his science study with us in September.”