NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

A pact between NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., and Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz., has brought new meaning to the phrase "two heads are better than one."

The institutions have entered into a formal agreement that allows both parties to share resources and significantly expand on past collaborative research and teaching activities in space science and exploration.

"JPL is committed to building the highest value space science program by combining its strengths with those of other partners, particularly in academia," said Dr. Moustafa Chahine, JPL's chief scientist. "This agreement is a recognition of the important role the university has played in space research and it will serve to solidify the unique characteristics of each organization."

The university joins a handful of other JPL partners, all major institutions with strong commitments to educational and research programs in the space and Earth sciences. Arizona State, one of the leading educational and research universities in space science and engineering, has made extensive investments in support of strong planetary science, astronomy, astrobiology, environmental science, telecommunications, microelectronics and space engineering programs.

"The JPL memorandum is an important acknowledgement of the central role that ASU researchers play in NASA's planetary exploration program and in the development of Earth-orbiting microsatellites," said Jonathan Fink, Arizona State's vice provost for research.

The memorandum will enable both institutions to exchange personnel, allowing them to cross-fertilize and increase their capabilities. As a result, students will have a wider range of opportunities in JPL's planetary science and engineering missions, science activities, and collaborations, while JPL staff will be able to travel to the university, providing guest lectures and helping with its academic program.

The collaboration with JPL is also expected to involve students outside the university, complementing Arizona State's existing science outreach programs in planetary geology, astronomy, astrobiology and, in particular, Mars research. According to Fink, the university leads the way in outreach for kindergarten through 12th grade for various NASA programs.

JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

News Media Contact

Gia Scafidi, JPL, (818) 354-0372

James Hathaway, Arizona State University, (480) 965-6375