Monday, September 14, 2009

NASA gives $1 million in grant money to the state

Monday, September 14, 2009
NASA funds astronomy research in New Mexico

The New Mexico NASA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research recently received two grants from NASA totaling more than $1 million for astronomy-related research.

Patricia Hynes, the director of the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium and NASA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research chair, said the relationship between NMSU and NASA is based on grant performance.

“We are rated in the top tier of the 52 space grant programs.,” Hynes said. “This rating has enabled us to receive $4 million over the next five years for space grant. This ranking is one reason for an excellent relationship with NASA.”

EPSCoR contributes to the overall research infrastructure, science and technology capabilities, higher education and economic development of New Mexico.

“Through this grant, we are able to hire more faculty to do research on the effects of the sun activities on our planet, and on space based assets,” Hynes said.

The research program, New Mexico Solar and Stellar Seismology, received $750,000. New Mexico State University astronomy professor Bernie McNamara is the lead scientist for this program.

The research program New Mexico Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Instrument received more than $730,000. Michelle Creech-Eakman, associate professor of physics at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology is lead scientist for this program.

“The project is meant to help both of the research programs grow [and] increase their collaborations with NASA and other universities,” Hynes said.

The goal of NASA EPSCoR is to provide seed funding to enable New Mexico to develop academic research directed toward long-term, self-sustaining, nationally competitive capabilities in aerospace and aerospace-related research.

For more information, contact Patricia Hynes at or visit

Jenna Candelaria is a news reporter and can be reached at


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