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.
What We Do
What makes gas geysers at Mars' south pole erupt every spring? Planetary science at the School asks fundamental questions about the planets, moons, asteroids and other bodies in the solar system — with a particular focus on Mercury, Earth's Moon, Mars, meteorites, and Jupiter's moon, Europa.
How did the Himalayas raise Mt. Everest? At the School, geosciences comprises field and laboratory research as well as computer modeling. We explore questions about the Earth's surface and its processes, as well as the depths of the inner core and the upper reaches of the atmosphere.
Exploration Systems Engineering
How do we build lunar hydrogen mapper inside a space the size of a cereal box? Designing and building a variety of instruments for scientific research on Earth and in space is the focus of exploration systems engineering at the School. Our research teams both develop components of these instruments and integrate systems.
Cosmology at the School covers the entire history of the universe, from the Big Bang through the particle physics phase to atomic nuclei - then to atoms, stars, galaxies and beyond.
Astronomy & Astrophysics
How is a star is born from an interstellar dust cloud? The School is a world leader in observational and theoretical research in astronomy and astrophysics. Our research includes planets and stars, our own Milky Way galaxy and the most distant galaxies in the universe.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The school is participating in 12 NASA Missions, with more on the way.
The school has over 40,000 individual meteorites, the largest university collection in the world.
ASU is one of only a handful of universities capable of building NASA-certified flight instruments for space.