New equipment is able to freeze the substance to almost absolute zero.
The International Space Station was sent to the Laboratory of Cold Atoms . It will allow to conduct a unique experiment on freezing particles of matter to a temperature very close to absolute zero (-273.15 degrees Celsius).
With the help of the laboratory, NASA scientists want to observe the particles of matter under special conditions for studying quantum behavior. Due to the weightlessness in orbit, the effect of particle cooling will last about 10 seconds, while on Earth this lasts a fraction of a second due to gravity.
“Laboratory of cold atoms” is a box that scientists can manage remotely without the participation of astronauts. NASA claims that their equipment will create the coldest point in the universe.
The temperature inside the laboratory will be about 10 billion times colder than the usual vacuum in space. After cooling, scientists use a combination of lasers and electromagnets, which slow the atoms to a practically immobile state.
At this point, quantum mechanics prevails over physics and makes atoms more like waves than particles. In conditions of low gravity on the ISS, this state of atoms will last from 5 to 10 seconds.
Thanks to research, scientists will be able to better understand quantum physics and quantum computing. It can also help to detect dark energy – the most common substance in the universe.
The lowest temperature found in space was -270.45 degrees Celsius. According to the laws of thermodynamics, one can only approach to absolute zero, it can not be achieved: for this, an unlimited reservoir would be required, where the heat would leave the cooled object.