Socorro is a small town in central New Mexico along the Rio Grande, approximately 75 miles south of Albuquerque. It is home to the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, formerly New Mexico School of Mines, established in 1889. Socorro County is also home to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, the Magdalena Ridge Observatory, and the Langmuir Laboratory for Atmospheric Research. There is evidence that the area around Socorro has been home to humans for over 10,000 years.
Although sparsely populated, Socorro has an abundance of natural beauty, and plenty of opportunities for hiking, climbing, mountain biking, off-highway vehicle recreation, and wildlife viewing. Charismatic megafauna include elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope (speed goats), black bears, sandhill cranes, Mexican spotted owls, and quail. Charismatic microfauna include tardigrades (Water Canyon).