The Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science & Technology (CRESST II), a five-year, $87.5 million cooperative agreement with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, has been awarded to the University of Maryland, College Park, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and their three partners: the Catholic University of America, Howard University and the Southeastern Universities Research Association.
First created as CRESST with an initial ten-year cooperative agreement in 2006, CRESST II will continue to facilitate collaborations between researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and space scientists from CRESST II partner institutions. CRESST II’s science priorities will be to carry out observational, experimental and theoretical research in support of NASA Goddard’s Sciences and Exploration Directorate, including the study of the solar system, stars, galaxies and the universe at large.
"This vital partnership will keep all of us at the forefront of space science research,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “Our researchers will study the inner workings of the galaxy, and take our students to unimaginable heights. It is hard to imagine a more exciting endeavor.”
As a part of its mission, CRESST II will work to increase the involvement of minority and women scientists in space science research and to facilitate undergraduate and graduate student participation in active research projects.
"I am pleased that NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center will continue to operate CRESST in collaboration with the University of Maryland and University of Maryland Baltimore County," said Maryland Rep. Steny H. Hoyer. "I am also glad that their work will expand to Howard University, the Catholic University of America, and the Southeastern Universities Research Association. This renewed and expanded partnership will not only strengthen the critical work done at Goddard, but will further promote diversity within the space science workforce by supporting the recruitment of underrepresented minorities and women. I look forward to the work produced through this important partnership, and I am confident CRESST will continue to serve as a leader in the space science industry in Maryland and across the nation."
CRESST II will continue to support access to critical space science data archives and the analysis of data from current and past NASA missions. CRESST II scientists will be involved in the construction and testing of instrumentation for missions, the planning of future missions and the development of new technology to enable future missions. The close association between NASA Goddard and the CRESST II partner institutions will enhance STEM education and diversity, creating opportunities to train a new generation of leaders in space science.
"This unique partnership allows Maryland students to get the very best education and creates a pipeline of new talent for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the scientific community,” said Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen. “It has worked well for a decade, and it’s exciting that the University of Maryland has decided not only to renew it, but to expand it. This partnership serves as a valuable model as we work to create good-paying jobs in our state and across the country, and to ensure we have the schools and training programs needed to fill those jobs with qualified Marylanders."
Going forward, CRESST II will work to achieve NASA’s strategic goals in space science while building on the capabilities and strengths of each partner institution. By combining NASA Goddard’s expertise and infrastructure with the educational capacity and demographic reach of partner institutions, CRESST II will provide unique opportunities for students and early career space scientists to be involved in active research and instrument development projects.
Over the past decade, CRESST—the predecessor to CRESST II—enabled university scientists and students to be involved in NASA missions including the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission and the Cassini Mission to Saturn.
“CRESST II continues a partnership that strengthens the ability of NASA Goddard and the universities to achieve their core missions and to foster the future of space science and science in general,” said Lee Mundy, professor of astronomy at UMD and Director of CRESST II. “It is terrific to be able to engage the diverse next generation in the exciting science enabled by NASA.”
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About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 7,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $150 million.