NASA Wants To Create The Coolest Spot In The Universe At The International Space Station

Posted: Mar 7 2017, 6:44am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

NASA Wants to Create the Coolest Spot in the Universe at the International Space Station
Artist's concept of an atom chip for use by NASA's Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) aboard the International Space Station. CAL will use lasers to cool atoms to ultracold temperatures. Credits: NASA
 

NASA plans to create the coolest place in the Universe

NASA will send an ice chest sized box to ISS to make a cool place in the universe. The box will have lasers, electromagnetic knife and vacuum chamber to eliminate the energy of gas particles, making them motionless. The instrument is named CAL, Cold Atom Laboratory, and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California created this instrument. 

The last part of CAL’s assembly is under process at JPL that will fly on SpaceX CRS-12 to space in August. The components of CAL are designed so they will freeze the gas atoms above absolute zero, making it million times colder than the deep space.

The cold atoms will help scientists understand gravity and matter, and also the dark energy, said CAL Project Scientist Robert Thompson of JPL. In such a cool state, the atoms make Bose-Einstein condensate, a state where old physics rules are replaced by quantum physics. Matter will more act like waves than articles, and atoms will move like riding over fabric. Scientists have never detected such waves before in the cold spots.

In space, NASA never observed Bose-Einstein condensates, however on earth they can be observed for second’s fractional part. But, ultra cold atoms will stay stable on ISS that will help scientists understand basic physics. Through CAL, scientists will be able to observe Einstein condensates for up to five to 10 seconds. But, CAL could last for 10 seconds in future due to advanced technology.

Experiments will be conducted by 5 science teams through CAL. The teams include Eric Cornell of the University of Colorado, Boulder and the National Institute for Standards and Technology. Cornell is also the Nobel Prize winner who first created Bose-Einstein condensates in 1995.

The experiments’ results will help develop new technologies,like, quantum computers,sensors, and atomic clocks. The most exciting application of CAL will be to study dark matter, said Kamal Oudrhiri of JPL, the CAL deputy project manager. 

The CAL is under testing before it goes to Cape Canaveral, Florida, however the tests yet don’t ensure its safe operation in space, said Dave Aveline, the test-bed lead at JPL.

CAL is under development by JPL, and funded by the International Space Station Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The fundamental physics program is managed by The Space Life and Physical Sciences Division of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

This story may contain affiliate links.

Comments

The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.

 

 

Advertisement

comments powered by Disqus