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At ASU, expertise in the study and utilization of space, in the Earth and planetary sciences, and in the biosciences (including Astrobiology) is spread across many academic units, including the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE), the School of Life Sciences (SoLS), the Fulton Schools of Engineering, and the BioDesign Institute, as well as in additional programs within Geography, Sustainability, Human and Environmental Systems, ASU has developed a strong and multidisciplinary faculty, staff, and student base of expertise in space-related fields, including but not limited to aerospace engineering, software and systems engineering, robotics, physics, astronomy, geology, planetary science, microbiology, cell biology, tissue engineering, immunology, and vaccinology.
ASU has been a leader in NASA space-related research and exploration investigations and missions. For example, ASU’s longstanding partnership with NASA's planetary exploration program began in the 1970s as an outgrowth of the university's research on meteorites and cosmochemistry. Today, university professors and researchers have instruments on, or play a significant role in, seven active NASA planetary science missions and one European Space Agency mission. As another example, Prof. Cheryl Nickerson, uses the spaceflight platform and NASA ground-based spaceflight analogue technologies for novel insight into the role of cellular biomechanics in modulating disease processes, including bacterial pathogenesis, host-pathogen interactions, infectious disease and cancer; use of NASA biotechnology for engineering advanced 3-D tissue models for application to study normal tissue homeostasis, disease development and regenerative medicine.
Space-related sponsored research at ASU has generated over $95M in expenditures over the past five years. Research is spread across more than 30 departments and centers and more than 150 principal investigators. Students, faculty, and staff utilize substantial sophisticated modern laboratory space and computational and teaching resources, much of which is available for future potential collaborations with industry partners, both on ASU campuses and in dedicated Research Park facilities.