New Mexico’s history is long and colorful stretching from deep into prehistory to Indigieous stories to the Spanish colonization of the American Southwest to being a major point in America’s part in space exploration and tourism. One of the ways recently established to celebrate the latter was the New Mexico Space Trail which commemorates 52 sites across New Mexico from archaeological sites where pre-Columbian Indigenous peoples studied the stars and planets to the Roswell alleged alien crash site to Los Alamos National Laboratories to astronaut training areas, the Trinity Atomic Bomb Test Site at White Sands Missile Range and includes several museums and observatories. One of the museums on the trail is the Smithsonian affiliate New Mexico Museum of Space History which was instrumental in the Space Trail’s development. In 2000, then-New Mexico Museum of Space History curator George House was driving U.S. Highway 70 going to Las Cruces when he saw the historical marker for the Fountain Murders— unsolved murders of a father and son in 1896— and got the idea that since there was so much space history that there should be historical markers for those events, New Mexico Museum of Space History spokeswoman Cathy Harper said. House went to the Museum’s director at the time and the museum’s assistant curator and they developed a list of sites related to space research and exploration in New Mexico, Harper said.
U.S. Army officials say no PFAS contamination has been detected at White Sands Missile Range, contradicting an article published by NM Political Report on September 24. That article was on this page, but is replaced with this post. Army personnel contacted NM Political Report Thursday to clarify the issue. Our initial article incorrectly stated groundwater samples from White Sands Missile Range tested positive for PFNA, which belongs to the PFAS family of chemicals found in firefighting foam. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of human-made chemicals, and include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) and perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS).
The U.S. Department of Defense listed military construction projects from across the world that could lose funding under a national emergency declaration by President Donald Trump. Included among those are projects at military facilities in New Mexico. Trump’s national emergency declaration would draw funds from the DOD to construct a border wall between the United States and Mexico. Both the U.S. House and Senate—led by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall—voted to disapprove Trump’s national emergency declaration. Trump vetoed Congress’ effort.
—White Sands Missile Range is getting a new active-duty mission. Sen. Martin Heinrich announced the news on Wednesday afternoon that the Air Defense Artillery Test Detachment, with 143 soldiers, will be housed at the facility. “At a time when Army installations across the country are facing reductions, adding a new mission to White Sands is a big deal,” Heinrich said. “I am pleased we secured this new mission and I will continue to advocate for a larger active duty presence at WSMR.” —Bill Richardson is back on the North Korea beat.
A new political television ad slated to start running on Friday features Gov. Susana Martinez and focuses on the highly-debated driver’s license legislation. The ad is paid for by Advance New Mexico Now, a political action committee, and features Martinez speaking out against a state law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. “This is not about immigration, it’s about public safety,” Martinez said in the ad. “And it’s time we repeal this dangerous law.”
The ad pushes for what it calls a “compromise” bill that was pre-filed before the legislative session which begins on Tuesday. NM Political Report left a voicemail for the treasurer listed on the PAC’s most recent campaign finance report but did not hear back by press time.