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Minerva: A Dedicated Observatory for Exoplanet Science


University of Montana, Missoula/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Glenn Research Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Ames Research Center, Science Mission Directorate

The four telescopes of Project MINERVA are located at Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in Arizona. The University of Montana telescope, funded by a NASA EPSCoR grant, is at the far right of the image. These four telescopes observe targets together or separately to search for rocky, Earth-analogue exoplanets around nearby Sun-like stars.The fifth telescope, in the foreground, is the related project MINERVA-Red, which will search nearby lowmass stars for exoplanets.

Dr. Nate McCrady, Science PI, University of Montana, Missoula

Dr. Charles Beichman, NASA Technical Monitor

MINERVA science aligns with the NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP) in the Astrophysics Division of the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD). The goal of detecting nearby habitable planets was established by the 2004 report The Vision for Space Exploration, which directed NASA to “Conduct advanced telescope searches for Earth-like planets and habitable environments around other stars.” The 2010 Science Plan for SMD reaffirms the ultimate goal of extending exoplanet “exploration to the detection of habitable, Earth-like planets around other stars... and to search for indicators that they may harbor life.” MINERVA research at the University of Montana has significantly enhanced research infrastructure in Montana. UM faculty and undergraduate students are now using world-class telescope and imaging equipment, both in person (at the MINERVA observatory site at Whipple Observatory in Arizona) and remotely via the Internet. EPSCoR funding has established an exoplanet research group at UM, led by ScI McCrady, currently number two faculty and seven current or just-graduated undergraduates.

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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