LEWISTON — The work of Bates College physicist Nathan Lundblad is taking off. In fact, if all goes as planned, instruments from Lundblad’s laboratory will blast off from a NASA facility in Virginia early Monday destined for the International Space Station.

Noah Petro, NASA project scientist for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, told Bates News that the rocket could be visible in the southern skies three minutes after the 4:39 a.m. launch.

“If you are in the right area, it will appear as a small dot of red light traveling much faster than an airplane with no blinking lights,” he said. “You’ll want to be in an area with a clear horizon and away from bright lights.”

Lundblad is one of the few scientists chosen – and the only one from an undergraduate college – to have his research conducted by the Cold Atom Lab in its initial experiments aboard the space station, Bates said.

Nature magazine calls the lab a “playground in space” for quantum physicists such as Lundblad. Lundblad’s experiment will be one of several housed in the lab, which will be the coldest known environment in the universe.

Lundblad, an associate professor of physics, has said that he will involve his students when data from the Cold Atom Lab becomes available a few days after the launch.

Comments are no longer available on this story