NASA Awards U of A Pluto Lab Solar System Grant

Caitlin Ahrens in the campus Pluto Lab.
University Relations

Caitlin Ahrens in the campus Pluto Lab.

The University of Arkansas Pluto Lab has joined the ranks of the campus' other planetary labs by earning NASA funding.

NASA awarded the lab its Solar System Workings grant.

The two-year grant is one of NASA's most prestigious. Only the top 20 percent of the nearly 400 proposals were funded. The funding will be used to purchase lab equipment, supplies and research travel. The grant will also help the lab draw more collaborators for future research.

Caitlin Ahrens, the Pluto Lab manager, is one of just four Pluto Lab managers in the country. Her research centers around the nature of ice on Pluto. The NASA grant will allow her to study more types of ice on the dwarf planet in an experimental setting.

Ahrens was a primary writer for the grant. Though she's excited to win the funding, she's almost more exited the writing process is over.

"Grant writing is like an Olympic sport," she said. "If you think graduate school is hard, you should try grant writing."

Ahrens is a space and planetary sciences doctoral student. She is advised by Dr. Vincent Chevrier, who is also the grant's Primary Investigator.  


Amanda Cantu, director of communications
Graduate School and International Education


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