“Those Atoms Are Cool - Condensates Of The ISS”

The Cold Atom Lab aboard the International Space Station allows far more durable superfluids than possible down deeper in Earth’s gravitational field and allows for better study of the low energy BECs that are so intriguing. The hardware delivered in December 2019 included an instrument called an atom interferometer that will allow scientists to make subtle measurements of gravity.

Understanding cryogenics better and being able to generate and hold lower and lower temperatures has been crucial to the development superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDS), lasercooled atomic clocks and atom interferometer-based sensors such as a gravity gradiometer for global gravity mapping. Cryogenics can help us generate and store lower-carbon energy, superconductors have the potential to reduce energy losses arising from transporting power over long distances, SQUIDS can be used in dark matter detection experiments (which may help answer just what makes up most of the mass in the universe) and more precise gravity mapping can make prospecting for minerals much more efficient and less environmentally damaging.

The idea of a few pico kelvin being relatively balmy versus asymptotically approaching absolute zero provided the designs inspiration. Of course the nano and pico kelvin temperatures possible in the Cold Atom Lab are much colder than the comparatively tropical conditions of space outside the ISS.


Introduction to Statistical Mechanics textbook as per quote from Daniel & Jorge Explain The Universe -

“Ludwig Boltzman who spent his life studying statistical mechanics died in 1906 by his own hand. Paul Erhenfest carrying on his work died similarly in 1933. Now it is our turn to study statistical mechanics”


Some links to related podcasts and videos

Daniel & Jorge Explain The Universe – What Is The Coldest Place In The Universe

Cosmic Vertigo – Colder Than Cold

Short Video - Whats So Cool About The Cold Atom Lab

Short Video – The Coolest Experiment in The Universe

Comprehensice Video On The Cold Atom Lab

Information on The Cold Atom Laboratory is also here