Quantum chemistry experiment on ISS creates exotic 5th state of matter

Aboard the International Space Station, there’s a compact lab about the size of a small refrigerator that makes some of the coldest stuff in the universe. It’s called the Cold Atom Lab, and for some time, scientists have been using this chamber to research the strange quantum properties of atoms in microgravity. But on Wednesday (Nov. 15), they announced they’ve reached a milestone.

Operated remotely by a team with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, the Cold Atom Lab officially generated a quantum gas containing two species of atoms. This could ultimately open the door for totally new space-based experiments in quantum chemistry.


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