NASA revealed plans to launch a satellite base in space, but it is not going to be just any ordinary space capsule. Intended to be part of the International Space Station, this capsule will have temperatures that almost reach absolute zero, theoretically making it the coldest spot in the entire known universe. Talk about a bone chilling atmosphere, literally!
Ever since science started evolving, man has been curious to see what new discoveries could be made each day. Even though there have been countless innovations over the years, there always seems to be something new that just leaves the world dumbfounded. NASA apparently has something even more astonishing in mind. They plan to develop a cold atom lab where the temperatures would be as low as 270 degrees below zero Celsius or approximately 454 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. This is almost close to absolute zero, which, as the name suggests, is the point where every phase of matter freezes completely. It is considered the coldest point of all and has a value of about -459 degrees Fahrenheit, denoted as 0 K (Kelvin). To understand how cold absolute zero really is, remember that matter, even all the way down to the molecular leve,l freezes completely. That means even the individual molecules that an object is composed of will completely freeze. NASA’s icy base in space is surely to give the previously known coldest point a run for its money.
Under normal conditions of temperature, matter behaves quite ordinarily. Providing heat or raising the temperature breaks the intermolecular forces that either changes the state of an element or breaks a compound into separate components. Lowering the temperature does the opposite. However, when temperatures reach as cold as absolute zero, the particles form a state that would be otherwise not observed naturally. Concepts of liquid, gas and solid no longer matter as the structure begins to exist in a world of its own. NASA is not just aimlessly intending to waste money on a frigid capsule, but needs it to create the conditions needed to carry their experiments.
The universe has been classified into two separate categories; the macroscopic world that can be seen by the naked eye; and the microscopic world that requires special instruments to be observed. There is still a lot that can be discovered from the microscopic world and for that reason, the freezing cold conditions are required. The cold temperature would slow down the particles so much that observing and understanding them would become easier. One of the reasons why the lab would be constructed in space would be to limit the effect gravity would have on the particles in order to obtain perfect results. If successful, the atom lab might even help scientists observe the quantum or microscopic world without needing any equipment, as it would be possible to connect the molecules together to make packets as big as the human hair.
Though still not clear what the results would help prove or explain, NASA is set to launch its atom lab into orbit as soon as 2016. What will develop next remains a mystery, but NASA’s freezing base in space would definitely be a step towards better understanding the minute world that everyone knows exists but never gets to see.
Commentary By Hammad Ali