via Discovery News.
The final piece of a device has been launched to the International Space Station aboard the space shuttle Discovery, presently on mission STS-128, an ISS construction and supply mission.
The Dynamically Responding Ultrasonic Matrix System, or DRUMS is an acoustic barrel capable of holding a golf ball to basket ball sized lump of material inside it. Sound waves are used to prevent materials from touching the walls of the container and it is hoped the combination of microgravity and lack of contamination from the container walls will help create very pure and even substances. Previous such experiments have involved specks of around one milimetre diameter.
It was designed by Jacques Guigne, who NASA originally hired to work on acoustic levitation of materials during creation. The sound waves are also capable of heating materials, allowing for the creation of porous ceramics and the like.
STS-128 can be followed by occasional bulletins here, its mission pages, through live events on NASA TV (later posted to NASA’s Youtube Channel) or through twitter via @Astro_Jose, @Astro_Tim, @CFuglesang, @Astro_Nicole and @NASA. Check here to see if the ISS or other satellites are going to pass over your area.