Nasa's Cold Atom Lab is heading to the ISS to create the coldest place in the universe

Nasa’s Cold Atom Lab is heading to the ISS to create the coldest place in the universe

Nasa introduced final yr that it was trying to create the coldest place in the universe to discover out extra about how atoms behave in area.

Now the US area company has constructed the system and despatched it to the International Space Station (ISS) to create a spot 10 billion instances colder than the vacuum of area.

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The set-up will chill a small space to a fraction of a level above absolute zero, which is minus 273C.

The ice-box sized mini lab, which travelled on Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft, will enable scientists to experiment remotely with out interference from Earth’s gravity.

The Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) comprises lasers in a vacuum chamber and an electromagnetic system that may decelerate gasoline particles till they don’t have the power to transfer.

Atoms at extraordinarily low temperature are of curiosity to scientists as a result of they behave utterly in a different way in the absence of Earth’s gravitational pull.

The regular guidelines of physics received’t apply in microgravity, with particles appearing extra like waves due to sluggish motion.

Once chilled, they may attain a state referred to as a Bose-Einstein condensate.

This makes them act like superfluids – the place particles appear fluid however aren’t slowed down by friction.

Cold Atom Laboratory.
Nasa’s Cold Atom Laboratory (Nasa/JPL-Caltech)

The microgravity setting aboard the ISS will enable scientists to observe the atoms for up to 10 seconds.

They hope the outcomes might assist pave the method for creating extra superior applied sciences together with sensors, quantum computer systems and atomic clocks used in spacecraft navigation.

Robert Thompson, CAL challenge scientist at Nasa-JPL, stated in a press release final yr: “Studying these hyper-cold atoms might reshape our understanding of matter and the elementary nature of gravity.

“The experiments we’ll do with the Cold Atom Lab will give us insight into gravity and dark energy – some of the most pervasive forces in the universe.”

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