About the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences

Space science, broadly defined as the study of the universe and our relationship to it, is the province of multiple disciplines. Understanding the formation and evolution of the solar system is equally the task of the chemist who measures isotope effects in meteorites, the astronomer who observes planetary atmospheres or interstellar dust, and the theoretical physicist who studies gravitational collapse to form a planet and then its subsequent thermal and mechanical evolution. Faculty and students of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences belong to one of the basic, traditional science departments, yet overlap in their research work. They enjoy the stimulation provided by the diversity of research being conducted and consider the eclectic nature of the center to be one of the most important aspects of the space sciences program at Washington University.

Over the last three decades the members of the McDonnell Center have published more than 2,000 papers in the fields as diverse as Astrobiology, Lunar and Planetary Exploration on one hand, and Nuclear Matter, Neutrino Physics, Gravitation & Cosmology on the other. The center plays a key role in the Washington University through endowed professorships, supporting acquisition of sophisticated instrumentation, hiring new faculty, fellowships, visitor programs, seeding innovative research, and fostering international collaborations. This initiative has synergized activities across physical, biological, and medical sciences.


Ray Arvidson discusses Mars Opportunity rover’s 15-year anniversary

Raymond Arvidson, deputy principal investigator for Opportunity, told HEC-TV that NASA never imagined the rover could last for more than a few months on the red planet.

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