HomeAstronomyUltracold gas bubbles on the space station could reveal strange new quantum...

Ultracold gas bubbles on the space station could reveal strange new quantum physics

An artist’s rendering of the gas bubbles being blown in NASA’s Cold Atom Lab aboard the International Space Station. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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While it might be a comfortable 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius) inside the International Space Station (ISS), there’s a small chamber onboard where things get much, much colder — colder than space itself.

In NASA’s Cold Atom Lab aboard the ISS, scientists have successfully blown small, spherical gas bubbles cooled to just a millionth of a degree above absolute zero, the lowest temperature theoretically possible. (That’s a few degrees colder than space!) The test was designed to study how ultracold gas behaves in microgravity, and the results may lead to experiments with Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs), the fifth state of matter.

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