Visiting the Planetary Atmospheres Node




Directions and Transportation 

The Planetary Atmospheres Node is located in the Astronomy building of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM. The city of Las Cruces is located in southern New Mexico about 40 miles north of El Paso, Texas. Flights should be scheduled through El Paso.

Please note that not all major carriers fly to El Paso International Airport. Southwest and American are usually our airlines of choice because they have the largest number of flights in and out of El Paso each day.

By the baggage claim area of El Paso International Airport is the usual selection of rental cars. An alternative to this is the Las Cruces Shuttle which will drop you off at any hotel in Las Cruces. The round-trip cost for one person is $60 with discounts for two or more people. Reservations are required or at least strongly recommended at 1-800-288-1784.

An alternative to flying is Amtrak. Amtrak does not stop in Las Cruces but does stop in El Paso. The Las Cruces Shuttle will pick you up at the train station if you make advance reservations. See the Amtrak schedule for the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle line.

New Mexico State University (NMSU) is located at the junction of I-10 and I-25 at the southern end of Las Cruces.The Astronomy building is located in the north central area of the NMSU campus and is marked as 225 in the campus map.

Within that building, the Planetary Atmospheres Node is located in room 218 - (second floor), and the office of Reta Beebe (Atmospheres Node Manager) is room 301 - (find the stairs in the southwest corner of the building).

Nearby Accommodations 

Comfort Suites and Sleep Inn are fairly new and across the street from the University. There are a cluster of other hotels on or near University Avenue from the I-10 exit (first exit after the I-25 junction).

  • Comfort Suites
    2101 S Triviz Dr
    575-522-1300
  • Super 8
    245 La Posada Lane
    575-523-8695
  • Sleep Inn
    2121 S Triviz Dr
    575-522-1700
  • El Encanto
    705 S Telshor Blvd
    575-522-4300
  • Ramada
    201 E University Ave
    575-526-4411
  • Meson de Mesilla
    1803 Avenida de Mesilla
    575-525-9212
  • Days Inn
    755 N Valley Dr
    575-524-7753
  • Holiday Inn Express
    2200 S Valley Dr
    575-527-9947
    888-400-9714
  • Comfort Inn
    2585 S Valley Dr
    575-527-2000


Nearby Restaurants 

Mexican/New Mexican food dominates the restaurant scene in Las Cruces.

  • Culinary note: Chile does not refer to the stew that most Texans are fond of claiming as theirs. They can have that stuff. Chile - and this is the correct spelling - refers to the pepper - a vegetable - that is used to flavor most Mexican/New Mexican cooking, either simply chopped up or as a sauce. The New Mexico State Legislature, for lack of anything better to do, has given the state an official State Question (like a State Bird or State Flower). The State Question is, "Red or Green?" This refers to whether you want red chile or green chile sauce on your food. A general rule of thumb to use is that red is usually milder while green is usually hotter. This is not always true, though, so you should always ask the server. The real truth is that red is more consistent in "hotness" while green can vary significantly. You get to be a real addict when you can eat green chile sandwiches.
  • Another point to keep in mind is that drinking water is not a particularly effective way of putting out the fire. Iced tea, milk, beer, etc. all work much better.


Los Compas, El Comedor, La Posta and Roberto's are among the best of the Mexican/New Mexican restaurants in town. Chope's is also excellent but that's down the valley, in La Mesa, near where Reta lives. Si Senior is another watering hole where many stop by for happy hour or dinner.

For other restaurants, Lorenzo's has Las Cruces' best Italian food and pizza. It's also very convenient to campus and to the Comfort Suites/Sleep Inn complex. There is also a Bennigan's near there.

Cattle Baron is the place to go in town for steaks and the like. They have an extensive salad bar too. Mix is a Teriyaki/Sushi restaurant that is closer to the university. Lemongrass is a Thai restaurant that is also close to NMSU.