ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) regularly teams up with the leading experts at NASA and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, collaborating on cutting edge projects for the next era of space exploration. Through SESE’s interdisciplinary work, ASU, NASA and JPL and have launched a variety of joint missions, including:
Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) is located on NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter and is responsible for capturing the first global image map of the Martian planet and was used in deciding where to send Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) launched in August 2005 to study the planet’s history of water and is equipped with three ASU instruments: Mars Color Imager (MARCI), Context Camera (CTX) and Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM).
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Rover Curiosity is equipped with ASU’s Mast Camera instrument which has helped NASA document the Red Planet through color imaging since August 2012, when the rover landed in the Gale Crater.
ASU’s Mastcam-Z is mounted on NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Perseverance, which is traveling through space and scheduled to arrive on the Red Planet in February 2021. The camera will be used to snap 3D pictures and video, while the rover collects samples at Jezero Crater, a region of Mars where the ancient environment may have been favorable for microbial life.
ASU’s multispectral imager will be used in a first-of-its-kind NASA mission to the metal asteroid Psyche, which is orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. During the Psyche Mission, which will be managed and operated by JPL, the cameras will snap high-resolution images of the asteroid’s geological, compositional and topographical properties. The spacecraft is set to arrive at the asteroid in January 2026.