NASA wants to create the coldest place in the Universe
The Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) instrument was developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The box-like device contains lasers, a pr chamberó¿nations and something like an electromagnetic knife. Scientists intend to take away the energy of the gas molecules inside CAL, in effect making them almost immobile. This will cool atoms to temperatures of billionths of a degree above absolute zero.
Scientists reported that they intend to achieve temperatures of one hundred millionóIn times colder than the coldest abysses of space. Creating such conditionsów will allow them to study a state of matter called the Bose-Einstein condensate and the phenomenon of superfluidity – total disappearance of viscosity. Atoms in such a state move without friction, as if they were one substance.
– Investigating super cold atomsów may change our understanding of matter and the fundamental nature of gravity. Experiments, które we carry out with the help of the Cold Atom Laboratory, they will give us insights into the processes of gravity and dark energy. These are some of the most ubiquitous forces in the Universe – Said Robert Thompson of JPL working on the CAL project.
At such low temperatures, processes known from quantum physics begin to dominate over those known from classical physics. The behavior of matter is beginning to resemble more the behavior of waves, not particles.
It has never before been attempted prób to create a Bose-Einstein condensate in space. Researchers hope that due to the conditions on the International Space Station, it will be possible to maintain such a state a little longer than on Earth, which will allow it to be observed longer and more accurately. The planet is hindered by gravity. Under microgravity conditions, it may be possible to maintain such a state for up to 10 seconds.
– If we had excess water and stirred it in a glass, it would circulate all the time. There would be a lack of friction to slow it down and dissipate the kinetic energy. If we can better understand the physics of the superfluid phenomenon, we may learn more efficient ways to transfer energy, explained Anita Sengupta of JPL, CAL project manager.
Researchers are currently completing the assembly of CAL. The instrument is scheduled to fly into space in August aboard a SpaceX rocket. The target is the International Space Station.