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

About 252 million years ago, more than 90 percent of all animal life on Earth went extinct. This event, called the “Permian-Triassic mass extinction,” represents the greatest catastrophe in the history of life on Earth. Ecosystems took nearly five million years to recover and many aspects of the event remain a mystery. A research team, led by scientists from Arizona...
Radiation from a hot star near the stellar nursery where the sun and planets were born may have may have seeded Earth with life-essential molecules.
Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration recently released new research on its flagship Smart Course, " Habitable Worlds ," published in the peer-reviewed journal, Astrobiology . The study found that its student-centered, exploration-focused design resulted in high course grades and demonstrable mastery of content. Created for non-science majors, Habitable Worlds (HabWorlds) uses interactive simulations and virtual field...