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 School of Earth and Space Exploration Instrument Facilities and Labs

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

Astronomy and paleoanthropology are two branches of science that generally don’t intersect. But this fall, the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University is launching a contest for U.S. middle and high school students challenging them to do just that — think about the connection between our drive for discovery and exploration of our human origins on Earth and...
In the search to discover the origins of our solar system, an international team of researchers, including planetary scientist and cosmochemist James Lyons of Arizona State University, has compared the composition of the sun to the composition of the most ancient materials that formed in our solar system: refractory inclusions in unmetamorphosed meteorites. By analyzing the oxygen isotopes (varieties of...
Scientists have long thought that rainfall has a dramatic effect on the evolution of mountainous landscapes, but the reasons for how and why have been elusive. This seemingly logical concept has never been quantitatively demonstrated until now, thanks to a new technique that captures precisely how even the mightiest of mountain ranges — the Himalaya — bends to the will...