Above: NASA Infrared Telescope Facility
NASA employs the use of cryogenics for a variety of reasons, and researchers are constantly exploring new methods and applications in the hopes of continuously improving the technology. Here are just a few examples of how NASA utilizes cryogenics:

Infrared Sensors: infrared rays, also called “heat rays” are given off by all warm objects. Infrared telescopes must be cold so that their own radiation doesn’t swamp the weak infrared signals from faraway astronomical objects. There will be infrared telescopes on the airborne infrared observatory SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy.


Electronics: all sensors require electronics. Cooling electronics reduces the noise in the circuits and thus allows them to study weaker signals.


X-rays: the sensors for XRS, the X-Ray Spectrometer measure temperature changes induced by incoming x-rays. When the sensors are colder, the induced temperature changes are larger and easier to measure.

Above: NASA Infrared Telescope Facility


NASA employs the use of cryogenics for a variety of reasons, and researchers are constantly exploring new methods and applications in the hopes of continuously improving the technology. Here are just a few examples of how NASA utilizes cryogenics:

  • Infrared Sensors: infrared rays, also called “heat rays” are given off by all warm objects. Infrared telescopes must be cold so that their own radiation doesn’t swamp the weak infrared signals from faraway astronomical objects. There will be infrared telescopes on the airborne infrared observatory SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy.

  • Electronics: all sensors require electronics. Cooling electronics reduces the noise in the circuits and thus allows them to study weaker signals.

  • X-rays: the sensors for XRS, the X-Ray Spectrometer measure temperature changes induced by incoming x-rays. When the sensors are colder, the induced temperature changes are larger and easier to measure.

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