10:38 AM

Memorandum of Understanding with NASA, Kasetsart University and the Government of Thailand

Columbia MD —March 23, 2022.  A memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NASA, Kasetsart University and the Government of Thailand established an official international collaboration.   

Photo of officials representing NASA, Kasastart University, and the Government of Thailand.

The partnership grew from the highly successful space flight experiment, Observation and Analysis of Smectic Islands in Space (OASIS) conducted onboard the International Space Station (ISS), with US Principal Investigator, Professor Noel Clark (University of Colorado, Boulder), and USRA’s Dr. Padetha Tin serving as Project Scientist. Based on the OASIS success, the group agreed to continue collaborating, and in 2021 the science team proposed a second space flight experiment related to the liquid crystal studies in space.  The proposed study onboard the ISS is to elucidate the defects of liquid crystals of different materials, as well as to observe the molecular dynamics in response to external forces such as temperature and pressure without gravitational forces.   

 The MOU was celebrated at an event attended by high-ranking officials including opening remarks from Professor Sirirurg Songsivilai, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation of Thailand.  This was followed by a welcoming address made by Dr. Chongrak Wachrinrat, President of the Kasetsart University.  Presentations included those from Mr. James Wayman (Deputy Chief of Mission, The United States Embassy of Thailand); Dr. Craig Kundrot (Director of Biological and Physical Sciences Division, NASA); Dr. Kirt Costello (Chief Scientist of the ISS, NASA); and Dr. Francis Chiaramonte (Program Scientist for Physical Sciences, NASA). The MOU celebration was broadcasted live on several national television channels and observed by several government institutions and universities across Thailand.