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News: Press Release

NASA Selects Physical Science Research Proposals for the International Space Station

Press Release Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted Wednesday, January 30, 2014


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NASA's Physical Science Research Program will fund seven proposals, including one from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., to conduct physics research using the agency's new microgravity laboratory, which is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station in June 2017.

NASA's Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) will provide an opportunity to study ultra-cold quantum gases in the microgravity environment of the space station -- a frontier in scientific research that is expected to reveal interesting and novel quantum phenomena.

This environment makes it possible to conduct research in a way unachievable on Earth because atoms can be observed over a longer period, and mixtures of different atoms can be studied free of the effects of gravity, where cold atoms can be trapped more easily by magnetic fields.

The chosen proposals came from seven research teams, which include three Nobel laureates, in response to NASA's research announcement "Research Opportunities in Fundamental Physics." The proposals will receive a total of about $12.7 million over a four- to five-year period. Development of selected experiments will begin immediately.

Five of the selected proposals will involve flight experiments using CAL aboard the space station, following ground-based research activities to prepare the experiments for flight. Two of the selected proposals call for ground-based research to help NASA plan for future flight experiments.

The Cold Atom Laboratory project office is at JPL, which is developing the instrument in-house. CAL is a joint partnership of JPL, NASA's International Space Station Program Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, and the Space Life and Physical Sciences Branch at NASA Headquarters.

For a complete list of the selected proposals, principal investigators and organizations, visit:
http://go.nasa.gov/M6hcRp (also listed below)




Physical Science Research Proposals Selected for Cold Atom Laboratory - Jan. 29, 2014

NASA's Physical Science Research Program will fund seven proposals to conduct physics research using the agency's new microgravity laboratory, which is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station in June 2017.

NASA's Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) will provide an opportunity to study ultra-cold quantum gases in the microgravity environment of the space station -- a frontier in scientific research that is expected to reveal interesting and novel quantum phenomena. Five of the selected proposals will involve flight experiments using the CAL aboard the space station, and two call for ground-based research to help NASA plan for future flight experiments.

The chosen proposals came from research teams, which include three Nobel laureates, in response to NASA's research announcement NNH13ZTT002N: "Research Opportunities in Fundamental Physics." The following proposals will receive a total of about $12.7 million over a four- to five-year period:

  • Dan Stamper-Kurn, University of California, Berkeley, "Coherent magnon optics"
  • Jason Williams, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, "Fundamental Interactions for Atom Interferometry with Ultracold Quantum Gases in a Microgravity Environment"
  • Eric Cornell, University of Colorado, Boulder, "Zero-G Studies of Few-Body and Many-Body Physics"
  • Nathan Lundblad, Bates College, "Microgravity dynamics of bubble-geometry Bose-Einstein condensates"
  • Georg Raithel, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, "High-precision microwave spectroscopy of long-lived circular-state Rydberg atoms in microgravity"
  • Nicholas Bigelow, University of Rochester, "Consortium for Ultracold Atoms in Space"
  • Cass Sackett, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, "Development of Atom Interferometry Experiments for the International Space Station's Cold Atom Laboratory"

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., is developing the Cold Atom Laboratory. The facility is managed by the International Space Station Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

The Space Life and Physical Sciences Division of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington manages the Physical Science Research Program.