Cryostat for COBE satellite, 1989.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
The cryostat uses helium to maintain the extremely low temperatures that allow the satellite to function. The Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), is a NASA satellite devoted to the study of the radiation left over from the Big Bang which formed the Universe. COBE was launched on 18th November 1989. In 1992 the spacecraft returned data showing minute temperature fluctuations of the early universe - the primeval seeding for the subsequent collapse of matter into nebulae and stars.