Our transdisciplinary approach to research

Our research happens in labs and cleanrooms — and even on the surface of Mars.

The interdisciplinary work of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration brings together the brightest minds in astronomy and astrophysics, cosmology, geosciences, planetary sciences, exploration systems engineering and science education. 

Our approach to research tears down the conventional divides, encouraging scientists to cross subject boundaries to pursue new understandings of our universe. Together, we answer the most significant questions about how our universe began and how it continues to evolve. 

We want to know: How did the solar system make planets and moons? What are the best technologies for both robots and humans to explore space? How did life emerge on Earth and where — and how — should we seek it elsewhere? 

Finding the answers to these questions requires the expertise of various scientific disciplines and the integration of analytical methods from many fields, including those featured below.

School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University

What We Do

Learn more about our various focus areas.

Explore Research

Projects & Groups

Scientists at the School of Earth and Space Exploration are pursuing many areas of research. We’re studying the beginning of time. We’re embarking on robotic missions to the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and Jupiter's moon Europa. We’re looking at the dynamics of our own world — and exploring the possibility of life beyond it.

Research Focus Areas

A SESE hallmark is its focus on transdisciplinary research. Rather than organizing ourselves by research methodologies, we emphasize research themes. These include: the origin and evolution of the universe, co-evolution of biological, chemical, and physical processes, evolution of planets and other celestial bodies, and best-practices for human and robotic exploration of space.

Instrument Facilities

The School of Earth and Space Exploration offers sophisticated facilities for laboratory analysis, including secondary ion mass spectrometry and solid-state materials characterization.

Center for Meteorite Studies

The Center for Meteorite Studies continually pursues knowledge about the origin of our planetary system through the study of meteorites. Home to the world's largest university-based meteorite collection, the Center’s researchers have curated more than 30,000 individual specimens representing more than 2,000 distinct meteorite falls and finds.

Opportunities

Be a part of groundbreaking research. At SESE, we do field work on every continent on Earth. We study the Moon, our solar system and deep space. And our exciting research portfolio is growing. Check out SESE’s current opportunities for student research, postdoctoral fellowships and faculty positions.

Ronald Greeley Center

SESE's Ronald Greeley Center supports research by ASU planetary science faculty, students, and staff, as well as the local and statewide educational communities and the general public.

NewSpace

ASU's NewSpace initiative will establish and foster partnerships between ASU and next-generation non-governmental space exploration science and technology companies and programs.

8

SESE has participated in eight NASA Missions, with more on the way.

30,000

SESE has over 30,000 individual meteorites, the largest university collection in the world.

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SESE is one of only seven universities capable of building NASA-certified deep space hardware.

Recent News

As humans reach out technologically to see if there are other life forms in the universe, one important question needs to be answered: When we make contact, how are we going to handle it? Will we feel threatened and react in horror? Will we embrace it? Will we even understand it? Or, will we shrug it off as another thing...
For many STEM students, working for NASA is a lifelong dream. For Arizona State University's NASA Space Grant Scholars, that dream is already a reality. Since 1988, ASU has participated in the national NASA Space Grant Program , designed to provide STEM undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to actively work on NASA-related research alongside a faculty mentor. Up...
At 1:45 p.m. Arizona time on Tuesday, SpaceX successfully test launched its Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, seven years after first announcing the project. Falcon Heavy has three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores, combining 27 Merlin engines to deliver nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 pounds) into orbit. In a bit of cheeky cross-branding, the payload on the...