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Cross-Cutting Disciplines: Origins and Explorations of the Universe and Planetary Systems

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Recent advances in mapping the sky and probing the Universe beyond Earth, both with large sky surveys from the ground and space and with targeted satellite missions, have revolutionized our understanding of the Universe and its planetary systems. This has created a new interdisciplinary arena of research that pushes the envelope of observations, technology, data management and analysis, and theoretical physics. 

We are also witnessing a renaissance in planetary exploration. Over the coming decades, we expect to receive precious new samples returned from asteroids, Mars and the Moon. Universities with appropriate facilities and faculty who are poised to compete in the analyses of these samples will be at the forefront of planetary sciences and exploration - analogous to the situation when Apollo samples were returned some 50 years ago. 

Ensuring that recent investments in laboratories at Stony Brook remain at the cutting edge, building on those investments and forging collaborative connections may provide the vehicle for Stony Brook to participate, and indeed be a leader, in this endeavor. In addition, the search for life elsewhere in our solar system and plans for expanding human exploration to the Moon, Mars, and perhaps beyond open up important questions related to issues such as ethics, international law and human behavior that are well suited for a truly interdisciplinary approach. 

We propose to form a Center for the Origins and Exploration of the Universe and Planetary Systems as a way for faculty and students from various disciplines to collaborate and conduct interdisciplinary research and exchange views and perspectives.


Name Current Title Department
Scott McLennan Professor Geosciences
Marcus Khuri Professor Mathematics
Rosalba Perna Professor Physics and Astronomy
Brooke Belisle Assistant Professor Art
Brenda Anderson Professor Psychology