Principal Investigator – Patricia C. Hynes, Director of the New Mexico NASA EPSCoR Program and Director of New Mexico Space Grant Consortium.
Co-Investigator, Gautam Vasisht, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA
Co-Investigator, Mark Swain, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA
Co-Investigator, Michelle Creech-Eakman, Magdalena Ridge Observatory, New Mexico Tech
Co-Investigator, Penelope Boston, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Co-Investigator, Pin Chen, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
Co-Investigator, David Westpfahl, Department of Physics, New Mexico Tech
Co-Investigator, Pieter Deroo, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA
Co-Investigator, Colby Jurgenson, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
To build a moderate resolution, highly-calibratible near-infrared exoplanet spectrometer, NESSI (New Mexico Tech Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Instrument), to study the atmospheric molecular signatures of transiting exoplanets; NESSI will be deployed as a facility instrument on the high-altitude Magdalena Ridge Observatory (MRO) 2.4-meter telescope. The need for NESSI relies on the fact that most astronomical infrared spectrometers are not sufficiently stable and repeatable (in terms of calibration, pointing, non-/correlated errors, etc.) to make repeated measurements at the 0.01% relative level from ground-based platforms. Our colleagues at JPL have recently developed a technique which can be used to mitigate nearly all of Earth’s atmospheric contributions, allowing a purpose-designed, dedicated survey instrument to overcome these failures.
Principal Investigator – Andrei Zagrai, Professor and Department Chair, Mechanical Engineering, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
A significant step in addressing the safety of space vehicles is development and testing of the flight information recorder, or “black box”. It is envisioned, that a structural health monitoring system (SHM) would be an integral part of the “black box” and would record information on structural integrity during all stages of spaceflight. In this project, the team proposes to investigate the effects of the space environment on piezoelectric sensors – active elements of SHM, to explore structural vibrations in microgravity and to demonstrate the feasibility of SHM during long term space missions. To achieve this goal, 1U and 3U payloads (depending on space available) are proposed that will fit into a Nanoracks system outside of the ISS. Mission duration is expected to be less than 1 year (1 year maximum) with minimum of crew time. The power requirement is estimated to approach a few watts. The data collected in the proposed experiment would also benefit the FAA Center for Commercial Space Transportation. The principal investigator is a mechanical engineering professor that has previously participated in a NASA EPSCoR project and launched several suborbital payloads through the NASA Flight Opportunity Program.