Vince and Lou Ellen present this page as an outreach activity of their small, non-profit, private school, the Las Cruces Academy in Mesilla, NM, USA. 

They have a passion for education, shared with their son, David, and his wife, Yi.  They are also passionate about the many realms of science and about travel, cultures, and photography.  They share these with their students.  Here, they share these passions with you.  The beginning of this site is two main pages (with many sub-pages), one about the habitability of planets, on which much unreliable or fanciful stuff has been written.  The reality is both more stark (we are the only intelligent life we’ll see) and more beautiful and inspiring (our planet is both of these and is worth preserving with enhanced knowledge of why it is so).  The other page is about travel.  We love experiencing landscapes, cultures, and connections with people.  We find places to go, ways to get there, and ways to get deep experiences there.  So do David and Yi.  We travel together as much as possible.  “Possible” has a new meaning with the COVID-19 pandemic in progress, but we have hopes and different expectations for the future.  Traveling internationally since 1968 and overseas since 1977, Vince and Lou Ellen have visited or lived in 41 nations, some of them as many as seven times.  They bring back memories, photos, and connections to many of this world’s wonderful citizens.


Vince Gutschick is a career scientist and teacher, from Notre Dame, Caltech, Berkeley, Yale, Los Alamos labs, and New Mexico State U, with postings in France, Australia, and Germany, plus the National Science Foundation.  In formal retirement, he works as Board Chair, financial manager, publicist, and teacher at the Las Cruces Academy, a non-profit Early K-8 private school serving talented and motivated students who are underserved in other schools.  This website is an outreach activity for the LCA, hence, the site name. Vince is an avid photographer, gone digital for 15 years while still scanning selections of 40,000 slides.

Lou Ellen Kay is a career scientist and teacher, from Colorado State University, Los Alamos labs, and New Mexico State U, with postings in Australia and at the Smithsonian Institution. Even before formally retiring from the university, she founded the Las Cruces Academy with her funds, her background in learning and teaching, and her vision of educating young people who can help lead us through the huge challenges of environmental problems.  She brought in Vince, their son, David, many friends, and fine teachers to build the school.  She is the Head of School ($1 a year!) and teacher. She also pursues photography of school activities and travel experiences.

The LCA does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, physical disability, or sexual orientation

The Las Cruces Academy is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.