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.

ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration

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 hallmark of the School 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 and Laboratories

The School of Earth and Space Exploration is home to more than 40 instrument facilities and laboratories, led by our faculty in the Earth and space fields including geological science, planetary science, astronomy, cosmology, astrobiology, astrophysics, exploration systems design, and science education.

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 the School, 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

The School'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.

12

The School is participating in 12 NASA Missions, with more on the way.

40,000

The School has over 40,000 individual meteorites, the largest university collection in the world.

5

ASU is one of only a handful of universities capable of building NASA-certified flight instruments for space.

Recent News

Until recently, if you wanted to make a map of a coral reef, you had a lot of options, all of them bad. That’s changing, thanks to a pair of recent additions to Arizona State University’s faculty. Greg Asner opened ASU’s Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science in January, joined by his wife and research partner Robin Martin ,...
Among Jupiter’s 79 moons, Europa jumps out at planetary scientists. Covered in an ice crust, it has the smoothest surface of any object in the solar system. Spacecraft have detected water vapor plumes wafting from the Jovian moon. Scientists estimate an ice crust 62 miles thick covers a subsurface ocean. Down there, at the bottom of that ocean, may be...
Wildfires are widespread across the globe. They occur in places wherever plants are abundant — such as the raging fires currently burning in the Brazilian Amazon. Such biomass burning (BB) can be an environmental calamity. The smoke from BB events produces large amounts of aerosol particles and gases. These emissions can cause major problems for visibility and health, as well...