This Quantum Lab Makes Exotic States of Matter in Space


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This Quantum Lab Makes Exotic States of Matter in Space

This Quantum Lab Makes Exotic States of Matter in Space

NASA’s new quantum lab is studying a bizarre and rare form of matter called Bose-Einstein condensates… and it’s doing it in space! We went inside the NASA control room that’s running these experiments to talk to the scientists behind this quest to probe the universe’s biggest mysteries. The Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) is a multi-user facility that is operating aboard the ISS producing Bose-Einstein condensates, which are clouds of ultra-cooled atoms, to perform quantum physics experiments in microgravity. The space lab (designed and built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) operates when the astronauts aboard the ISS are asleep and is engineered to trap gas atoms, cooling them to temperatures just barely above absolute zero. It is here, in this level of cold, that the Bose-Einstein condensates come into existence. Find out more about the Cold Atom Lab; why microgravity is so important when it comes to creating the coldest things; and how this ultracool state of matter comes to fruition in space on this episode of Focal Point.


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