NASA Working Remotely: How Astronauts Upgraded a Complex Experiment in Space
NASA-Jet Propulsion LaboratoryCalifornia Instituteof TechnologyWorking Remotely:How Astronauts Upgraded a Complex Experiment in SpaceThe Cold Atom Labhas lived aboardthe International Space Stationsince 2018. It chills atoms toalmost absolute zero,the coldest temperaturematter can reach,making it easier forscientists to study them. It also enables scientiststo studystates and properties of matterthat can only be createdin the lab. It’s one of the mostcomplex experimentsto operate insidethe stationand in January 2020 it wastime for an upgrade. But how is that done in space when the team is back on Earth?With the help ofthe astronauts on board. Using a live video connectionwith the Cold Atom Lab teamat NASA-JPLAstronaut Christina Kochled the upgrade activity,with help fromcrewmate Jessica Meir. The challenging process was spread out over 8 days. They removed the “heart”of the Cold Atom Laband replaced it withthe upgraded hardware. The upgrade adds a new toolcalled an atom interferometerthat is used to study gravityat a fundamental level. It will help scientistsstudy how the world worksat the smallest scalesand contribute tothe developmentof cutting-edge technologies. Koch: It took me over 300 days to finally get towork on Cold Atom Lab,but it was worth it. Looking forward to next week. Ground: Thank you so much! We’re so happy you’re helping us.