Solar System Ambassador, Dr. Thomas Spencer, Hosts Insightful Interview with Astrophysicist Dr. Volker Quetschke

Solar System Ambassador, Dr. Thomas Spencer, Hosts Insightful Interview with Astrophysicist Dr. Volker Quetschke


By María González  

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – In an effort to bridge space science and community engagement, Dr. Thomas B. Spencer , Associate Vice President for Research Operations at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) and a newly appointed NASA Solar System Ambassador, conducted an insightful interview with renowned astrophysicist Dr. Volker Quetschke . The interview, part of a series aimed at bringing the wonders of space science closer to the Valley community, offers an in-depth look at the cutting-edge developments in space exploration and astrophysics.  

Quetschke, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UTRGV, shared his extensive experience in experimental astrophysics, highlighting his significant contributions to gravitational wave detection and space technology. His work, which encompasses ground-breaking developments in laser systems, gravitational wave detectors, and the potential for new observatories on the Moon, sheds light on the complex workings of the universe.  

As the associate dean for research and graduate programs, Dr. Quetschke emphasized the crucial role of student involvement in these pioneering projects. He spoke passionately about the opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students in this dynamic field, underlining the practical, hands-on nature of physics and its applications in space science.  

Spencer, facilitating the discussion, brought attention to the broader impact of Dr. Quetschke’ s work on understanding the universe and the potential advancements in space exploration. The conversation touched upon the historical significance of gravitational wave detection and its implications for future research, particularly the ambitious plans to establish observatories on the Moon.  

This interview not only highlights UTRGV's commitment to cutting-edge research in space science but also underscores the university's role in fostering scientific curiosity and education within the community. Dr. Spencer's role as a NASA Solar System Ambassador serves as a bridge between NASA's groundbreaking missions and the Rio Grande Valley, promoting a greater understanding of our place in the cosmos.  

For more information about Dr. Spencer and the Solar System Ambassador program, please visit .  




The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.  

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.


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