Tuesday, May 22, 2018

NASA Is About to Create The Coldest Temperature in The Universe, Using Lasers in Space

This just doesn't look safe.
In the quest for ever-colder temperatures, NASA is sending an apparatus to the International Space Station that will create a spot 10 billion times colder than the vacuum of space.

It's called the Cold Atom Laboratory, a payload about the size of an ice chest aboard Orbital ATK's Cygnus rocket, and it will help scientists observe the weird quantum properties of ultra-cold atoms.
A combination of lasers and magnets will be used to chill and slow a cloud of atoms to just a fraction above absolute zero, also known as zero Kelvin (-273.15 Celsius or -459.67 Fahrenheit).

Absolute zero is the coldest temperature in the Universe - and impossible to achieve, because at that point, atoms stop moving.

But the Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) can cool clouds of atoms to just one-tenth of a billion of a degree above absolute zero, which causes them to move extremely slowly, exhibiting microscopic quantum phenomena.

These clouds are called Bose-Einstein condensates. They can be created on Earth, but there's a catch - gravity. It drags them downwards very quickly, so they can only be observed for a fraction of a second.


No comments: