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

Arizona State University astrobiologist and physicist Sara Imari Walker of the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Beyond Center was recently selected as the winner of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) NCATS ASPIRE Design Challenge award for translational innovation in pain, opioid use disorder and overdose. Walker won the challenge prize of $250,000 along with an interdisciplinary...
Arizona State University is one step closer to mission development of a new lunar rover with the announcement earlier this month of funding for a NASA Planetary Mission Concept Study. The funded concept, called “Intrepid,” is a robotic rover designed to travel long distances and to perform long-duration investigations of the composition, physical properties and space environment of the moon...
Millions of people around the world are working on making the push into space. Blue Origin is testing landers in the west Texas plains. SpaceX engineers are putting in long hours at its headquarters in the old Hughes Aircraft plants in Los Angeles. And universities are researching, experimenting and testing in every field from planetary geology to astrobiology to astronomy,...