Penguin Powered

Taos study wins NASA award


The Taos News

Thursday, July 6, 2000

A field study of the Taos area conducted by geoscientists from the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR) and New Mexico Tech in Socorro, and done in conjunction with NASA's Astronaut Training Program, has resulted in the research group being named a recipient of the space agency's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Group Achievement Award.

Last Summer, NMBGMR researchers worked alongside NASA astronaut candidates, using gravity measurements to map geologic structures that exist far below Taos city streets and extend miles beneath the expanses of the Taos mesa. Subsurface data gathered in the research and training program has allowed researchers to better understand how the specific locations of buried fractures in the Earth's crust, or "faults," correlate with the extent and placement of the areas's limited groundwater sources.

The 31 prospective astronauts were provided with valuable "hands-on" training on properly conducting geophysical field surveys, garnering knowledge and skills which may eventually have practical applications in other-worldly locales, such as finding water below the surface of Mars.

The Taos area's majestic landscape has long provided textbook examples of various land forms for geologists to study, and as such, has also served well as a backdrop for astronaut training exercises going back as far as NASA's Apollo missions in the late 1960s.


(see other local press coverage)


back to top

comments/questions to Paul Bauer