UNLV scientist Donna Weistrop has been chosen to receive a nearly $1 million contract for her work on a project related to the Hubble Space Telescope.
Weistrop, an associate professor of physics, was notified by NASA earlier this month that she will receive the $987,165 contract to support her work on the space project. The contract runs through September 2001.
Weistrop is a member of a team of scientists that is building a spectrograph that will be installed in the Hubble telescope in February 1997. The instrument definition team is headed by Bruce Woodgate of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
Although Weistrop is a member of a team, the contract is specifically for her portion of the work.
"This is a spectrograph that lets us study light from galaxies where a lot of star formation is going on," Weistrop said. "We will also study active galaxies which we suspect have black holes in the center."
Studying the light coming from those galaxies will give scientists a better idea of exactly what is in those galaxies, she said.
Weistrop said her current role is providing scientific input into how the spectrograph is built. Later, she will be involved in analyzing data transmitted back to Earth by the telescope.
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched by NASA in 1990. Orbiting above the Earth's atmosphere, it enables us to see astronomical objects in greater detail than can be seen from the Earth's surface, and at wavelengths that do not penetrate the Earth's atmosphere. The telescope was designed so that the original spectrographs could be replaced as more modern ones became available.
Weistrop's contract will pay not only for the time she spends on the project, but also will provide money for a graduate student and a post-doctoral fellow to assist in her work and for necessary computer equipment.
For additional information, call Weistrop at 895-3507.