Orbital ATK has launched a rocket on Monday that includes the Cold Atom Lab from NASA. This is a box in which the quantum properties of atoms are studied in temperatures of only a fraction above the absolute zero.
According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Cold Atom Lab enables researchers to conduct 6.5 hours of experiments every day. with the particles without the help of astronauts. These are gas clouds in which the particles are in a low-energy aggregation state because of the extremely low temperature and in which they move without friction, also called a Bose-Einstein condensate .
The idea is that studying the atoms in this state provides more information and knowledge about, among other things, gravity, dark energy and the quantum behavior of atoms in these extreme conditions. According to a scientist from the project, the Bose-Einstein condensates can be observed for ten seconds. That is significantly longer than on Earth, where gravity pulls the particles to the ground, making Bose-Einstein condensates visible for only a fraction of a second.
The Cygnus spacecraft from Orbital ATK arrives at the ISS on Thursday. where astronauts will bring the vessel with the robot arm of the ISS.