At the University of Arizona, our roots in space exploration run deep, and our reach extends even farther.

The spectacular night skies over southern Arizona have inspired humans for millennia, sparking our quest to understand the cosmos and journey to other worlds. Even today, our clear, dark skies yield jaw-dropping naked-eye views of the Milky Way and neighboring planets.

The University of Arizona has an unparalleled history of involvement in space missions dating to the founding of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and the first Ranger missions to the Moon.

Explore our accomplishments in space science and consider partnering with us on our journey of discovery and innovation, one that continues to make UArizona the place for space.


The Arizona Space Institute is a driving force in advancing UArizona's role as the world’s leading university for:

  • space science
  • human and robotic exploration
  • astrobiology/exoplanets research
  • space situational awareness research, and planetary defense.

Read the full charter


UArizona's renowned Lunar & Planetary Laboratory (LPL) is at the forefront of planetary studies. LPL led the Phoenix Mars mission launched in 2007 and currently leads the OSIRIS-REx sample return mission to the asteroid Bennu. Explore these selected mission highlights, or view the full list of current research and missions.

Phoenix Mars Lander

Phoenix Mars Lander

Launched in August 2007, the Phoenix Mars Mission was the first mission in NASA’s Scout Program. Phoenix was designed to study the history of water and habitability potential in the Martian arctic’s ice-rich soil.

NIRCam Assembled


NIRCam is the 0.6 to 5 micron imager for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)—JWST will detect the first light-emitting galaxies and star clusters to form in the universe after the Big Bang. The NIRCam design is optimized for finding these "first light" sources. 



OSIRIS-REx seeks answers to the questions that are central to the human experience: Where did we come from? What is our destiny? Asteroids, the leftover debris from the solar system formation process, can answer these questions and teach us about the history of the sun and planets.