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MSI - Exploring Surface Texture, and Reflectivity of Cave and Related Surface Environments as Harbingers for Life

Our project builds upon a long-standing collaboration between the Astronomy and Electrical Engineering departments at NMSU and Dr. Penny Boston at NMT, a renowned expert in cave studies and life in extreme environments. The participation of faculty and students from NTC adds a new dimension to our proposed characterization of cave rocks and surface materials through the inclusion of 3-D and textural mapping and enriches the existing research collaboration network between NMSU, NMT and NTC. Our NTC colleague identified a biology and a chemistry instructor at NTC to participate in this project, thereby extending the impact of this work to a broader range of students and faculty. This dynamic interaction enhances the research capabilities of faculty at NTC, a designated MSI, and will foster a meaningful, longterm collaboration between NTC faculty and research institutions within the New Mexico EPSCoR jurisdiction. We will continue this partnership after the award period ends through future grant proposals and research projects. The team has also developed a partnership with the National Park Service to facilitate access and permitting requirements for our field expeditions to caves of interest. An important outgrowth of this project is a new collaboration with Dr. Aaron Parness at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who is building a rock-climbing robot for the robotic exploration of solar system caves. He plans to use his robot in Four Windows cave, and we will attach the NMSU-built spectrometer to the robot for field demonstrations.


Dr. Nancy Chanover, Science PI, New Mexico State University

Theresa Martinez, PMP, NASA Technical Monitor, Kennedy Space Center NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15



EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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