Published: April 15, 2015

Space X Mission PatchUniversity of Colorado Observation and Analysis of Smectic Islands in Space (OASIS) experiment was launched by NASA to the International Space Station (ISS) on a SpaceX resupply rocket Tuesday afternoon, April 14. The experiment was conceived and built by CU-Physics faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate research students in the CU Soft Materials Research Center. The experiment will be run by NASA astronauts on the ISS.

CU-Physics faculty members Noel Clark, Cheol Park, Matt Glaser, and Joe Maclennan led the project. Four graduate student and seven undergraduates researchers have conducted honors research projects as part of the OASIS project. Undergraduates Markus Atkinson, Aaron Goldfain, Kate Wachs, Kyle Meienberg, Kyle Ferguson, and Kaitlin Parsons helped design, build and test the experiment.

The scientific objectives of the experiment are to study how liquid flows in two dimensional liquid crystals in microgravity in order to explore the interaction and self-assembly of colloidal dispersions of islands and droplets. "OASIS is the first study of smectic liquid crystal materials in microgravity, and may well be the first study of any liquid crystal material in microgravity. Smectic liquid crystal bubbles constitute a unique experimental platform for advancing fundamental understanding of fluid dynamics and colloid physics in two-dimensional systems,” said OASIS Principal Investigator Clark.

Watch Professor Clark explain the OASIS experiment during a prelaunch press conference.

More information about the OASIS Project can be found on NASA's project page.

For more details, view our news release.