From UVA Today:
It is said that what goes up must come down. Thank gravity for that. But sometimes gravitational effects affect matter on Earth in ways that physicists would rather do without. So early next year NASA is launching to the International Space Station a novel “Cold Atom Laboratory” that will allow physicists to conduct sustained experiments into the states of matter, under nearly weightless conditions, at ultra-cold temperatures, that would be nearly impossible to conduct on Earth.
University of Virginia physicist Cass Sackett is part of the mission.
“We will make use of the near-weightless conditions of orbit to help us suspend atoms, slow them down, and thereby cool down, the motions of atoms,” he said. “These cold physics experiments should provide a much greater understanding of quantum mechanics and gravity, and provide some practical uses as well.”
For full story, see www.news.virginia.edu/content/uva-physics-go-space-and-get-ultra-cold