Cold Atom Lab on ISS Enables Research on Quantum Effects of Gases Chilled to Nearly Absolute Zero
(Spaceref.com) The Cold Atom Lab (CAL) with its ultra-cold science and nanosatellites kept the Expedition 61 crew busy on Tuesday while the International Space Station is getting ready for the departure of a cargo craft and crew ship.
The Cold Atom Lab (CAL) enables research into the quantum effects of gases chilled to nearly absolute zero, which is colder than the average temperature of the universe. NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Christina Koch opened up the CAL today to swap and clean hardware inside the quantum research device.
The CAL produces clouds of atoms that are chilled to about one ten billionth of a degree above absolute zero — much colder than the average temperature of deep space. At these low temperatures, atoms have almost no motion, allowing scientists to study fundamental behaviors and quantum characteristics that are difficult or impossible to probe at higher temperatures. In microgravity, researchers may be able to achieve even colder temperatures than what is possible on the ground, and observe these cold atom clouds for longer periods of time.