NASA scientists have announced they have begun plans for creating the coldest point in the known universe onboard the International Space Station in 2016, theorizing it uncovers a new world of quantum mechanics in spaces with temperatures reaching near absolute zero. The one of a kind mission will require NASA engineers to work tirelessly on a Cold Atom Laboratory scheduled to be installed on the International Space Station to facilitate the scientific processes. There has been an emphasis lately on NASA missions to be focused on the novel conditions of space, in order to get more knowledge on the way atoms and objects may react in non-terrestrial environments.
Space is predominately very low temperatures, impossible to replicate with terrestrial laboratories. The extremely low temperature conditions are perfect for researchers anticipating to better understand the real wave nature of atoms, as well as any new possible phenomena. The apparent absence of gravity allows additional experiments to last a lot longer. Experiments are now expected to last up to an anticipated 20 seconds.
NASA scientists are aiming to push the atom’s temperatures down to amazingly only a microscopic billionth of a degree above absolute zero, or roughly -273.15 degrees Celsius. The scientist’s rationale here, is that when all thermal activity of atoms theoretically halts, so does all of our understandings, NASA hopes these experiments uncovers some hidden world of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is formally known as the branch of physics that describes intricate laws and theories of matter reacting with light on an atomic scale. What is being sought out, or what NASA is looking for is where atoms behave both as waves and particles, essentially where matter can be in two places at the same time.
NASA has aimed its researchers at studying the extreme-cold quantum gases in the microgravity of the International Space Station along with other experiments. The Cold Atom Lab is designed for multiple investigations which will probably yield some serendipity purposes, as NASA projects seemingly have good luck with this. When one of the Mars rover’s wheels broke, it dug into the soil revealing previously unfound traces of rich silica. The lab is also able to receive maintenance in orbit as well as engineering upgrades while in orbit.
The technology encompassing the Cold Atom Laboratory enable simultaneous magnetic trapping by an atom chip with on-window wires, all encompassed by optical manipulation. The additional compound silicon and glass substrate technology, leads to both optical and magnetic control of extremely cold temperature atoms. This is where the measuring of the wave lengths is taking place.
The goal of all this for NASA is to beginning to study Albert Einstein’s Condensates, as NASA uncovers a new world of quantum mechanics. The condensates were predicted by Einstein and his colleague Satyendra Bose in the beginning of the 1900’s, finally being discovered in 1995. NASA is taking the necessary steps to honor those findings by Bose and Einstein, with promising modern technology and a revitalized space program, capable of manipulate atoms in an environment just billionths of degrees away from absolute zero.
Editorial By Zane Foley