Research Focus Areas

A hallmark of SESE is its focus on transdisciplinary research. Rather than organizing ourselves by research methodologies, we emphasize research themes. At the broadest level, these include:

  • The origin and evolution of the universe
  • The co-evolution of biological, chemical, and physical processes – including human activities – that define Earth system behavior
  • The evolution of other planets and celestial bodies, with special emphasis on our Solar System
  • The emergence and evolution of life
  • Best-practices for human and robotic exploration of space
  • Formal and informal science education


Each of these themes requires the integration of modes of analysis from many research fields represented by our faculty, affiliated and collaborating faculty from other academic units at ASU, and our non-ASU partner institutions. In traditional terms, and at the broadest level, SESE researchers demonstrate expertise in the following signatory research areas:


  • Astronomy & Astrophysics
    - Computational Astrophysics
    - Cosmology, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy
    - Star Formation and Evolution
    - Galaxy Formation and Evolution
    - Formation and Evolution of Planets and Other Solid Bodies
  • Cosmology
  •  Earth Systems Sciences
    - Biogeoscience
    - Continental Tectonics and Structural Geology
    - Earth Surface Processes
    - Geochemistry and Environmental Geochemistry
    - Geophysics: Geodynamics and Seismology
    - Hydrology, ecohydrology and hydrometeorology
    - Petrology, Mineralogy, Mineral Physics and Mineral Resources
    - Volcanology and Volcanic Hazards
  • Planetary Sciences
    - Astrobiology
    - Cosmochemistry, Planetary Geochemistry, and
      Planetary Mineralogy
    - Planetary Geoscience
  • Science Education
    - University-Level Formal Science Education
    - K-12 Formal Science Education
    - Informal Science Education


*Check out our SESE Postdoctoral Development Program

Research - Blogs & Videos

Our faculty, researchers and students engage in a variety of exciting research. Learn more about specific research projects by visiting our Explorers blog and watching the videos below. Also check out our SESE Exploration Postdoctoral Fellows.


Student research through ASU/NASA Space Grant program 

Erik Aspaug (NPR Science Friday)

Himalayas research / Bhutan (Whipple, Heimsath)

Judd Bowman, Assistant Professor (radio astronomy)

Phil Christensen, Regents' Professor (planetary geology, Mars)

Matthew Fouch, Associate Professor (seismology, geophysics)

Matthew Fouch, Associate Professor (earthquakes)

Laurence Garvie, Research Associate (mineralogy, meteorites)

Hilairy Hartnett, Assistant Professor (oceanographer, biogeochemistry)

Kip Hodges, Founding Director of SESE (Desert RATS, human space flight)

Kip Hodges, Journalism and Science

Kip Hodges & Lawrence Krauss, Future of SESE and space exploration

Kip Hodges & Lawrence Krauss, 40th Anniversary of Apollo

Lawrence Krauss (NPR's Science Friday)

Mark Robinson, Professor (planetary geology, the Moon, Mercury)

Steve Ruff, Faculty Research Associate (Google Earth, Mars)

Steve Ruff, discusses Mars rovers on KNOW99

Mini Wadhwa, Professor (NPR's Science Friday)

Mini Wadhwa, Professor (meteorites)

Rogier Windhorst, Regents' Profesor (astronomy, cosmology, astrophysics)