NASA just announced a new project to develop coldest temperatures in the universe with the help of lasers on May 21. Called the Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL), it will develop extreme temperatures at the International Space Station to study the effects of atoms in the cold environment. While the project sounds all ambitious and challenging, the main brain behind it is Anita Sengupta, an Indian-American scientist.
The NASA scientist has an Indian connection as her father is from West Bengal. She worked in the International Space Station from 2012 to 2017 and led the development of the Cold Atom Laboratory. This lab will make laser-cooling quantum physics. An aerospace engineer and graduate in aerospace and mechanical engineering of the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California is a star employee in NASA.
Check out Anita's tweet about the latest project:
— Dr. Anita Sengupta (@Doctor_Astro) May 21, 2018
Anita is a rocket scientist who has developed technologies for over 20 years to enable the explorations of Mars, Asteroids, and Deep Space. From the start of her career, she worked on launching vehicles and communication satellites at the Boeing Space and Communications. She then graduated to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. During this work, she developed engines that powered spacecraft. She worked on Dawn spacecraft to reach Vesta and Ceres in the asteroid belt in 2006. She has also played an instrumental role in developing the supersonic parachute system for the landing of Curiosity Rover on Mars in 2012.
The Cold Atom Laboratory aims to create a temperature almost 10 billion times colder than the vacuum of space. The project will give a major boost to a number of technologies like sensors, quantum computers and atomic clocks (used in spacecraft navigation). The project will help scientists observe the weird quantum properties of ultra-cold atoms. It is definitely a thing of pride to have an Indian based scientist to lead the project.