Contacts: Gia Scafidi, JPL, (818) 354-0372

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

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

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

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.