We are a recently funded (9/09) initiative at NMT to build a multi-object NIR spectrometer to be used at the Magdalena Ridge Observatory 2.4m Telescope. The NESSI project's funding comes from a combination of MRO's PI, Van Romero, Vice-president of Research and Economic Development at NMT and NASA EPSCoR in NM at NMSU. We completed our Final Design Review with our JPL Collaborators in July, 2011 and have finished final assembly, integration and verification in the lab. NESSI has moved to its new home on Magdalena Ridge.
KRQE recently did a feature on NESSI, NM Tech Exoplanet Search: Is Earth Alone?.
New Mexico Tech press release, New Exoplanet Instrument Achieves First Light!.
NESSI's informal design started in Feb. 2009 shortly before submitting our proposal to NASA. Since funding started in Sept. 2009 the optical and mechanical design teams were assembled and NESSI had a CoDR at JPL in March, 2010 and FDR at NMT in July, 2011. The majority of the NESSI structure was fabricated in 2012 and 1st half of 2013, including optics (from ISP, Rocky Mountain, Optical Surfaces, Rainbow Optical and Richardson Grating Labs), cryostat (from UCryo), mechanical structure (from ProFab and JW Industries) and a science grade Hawaii 2RG array (from Teledyne) with electronics (from ARC/Bob Leach in San Diego). We have achieved first light with a successful engineering run March 30 - April 4, 2014 and have scheduled our next observing run for the week of June 1, 2014.Tweets by @NESSI_Status