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<p>Sample 15555, collected during the Apollo 15 mission, on display at the LROC Visitor Gallery (Ben Parris/Blaze Radio)</p>
Sample 15555, collected during the Apollo 15 mission, on display at the LROC Visitor Gallery (Ben Parris/Blaze Radio)

ASU's impact in space celebrated at first Space Celebration Expo

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State University’s noted impact in space was celebrated on Wednesday, March 27, as students gathered for a celebration of the school’s accomplishments among the cosmos at the inaugural Space Celebration Expo, hosted by The Space Coalition and Space at ASU. 

The event that took place across the school’s Tempe Campus featured a showcase of various aerospace clubs on campus, the Interplanetary Initiative Lab, Lunar Exhibit, and Mars Spaceflight center. Organizers of the event worked to recognize and celebrate the countless efforts that’s students and faculty put in across campus to help conduct research and complete missions with immense impact back on earth. 

“We’re celebrating everything ASU has to offer with space,” said Lucas Barduson, the Founder and Chair of the Space Coalition, which brings together to countless space-related clubs on campus. “There’s so many things going on here that I didn’t even know about being in aerospace engineering until way too late. That’s what this is for, showing off everything ASU is doing in space and the opportunities that are here and the clubs and all of that.”

It's hard to quantify all of the different efforts ASU currently has in space, including over 25 active space missions like the Mars 2020 rover Perseverance Mastcam-Z or Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, which both transmit images from space directly to buildings on the ASU campus, including The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Science Operations Center inside the Interdisciplinary A building. 

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While hundreds of researchers are proud to call ASU home and work on projects in collaboration with NASA, they aren’t the only ones conduction research. Students had the chance to showcase research of their own during the expo, funded by the ASU/NASA Space Grant program which partners undergraduate students with a faculty mentor.

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Students who received the grant, like Jacqueline Do and Courtney Banks, presented their projects inside the Student Pavilion and highlighted their remarkable efforts as students. Do is leading a team of students across Arizona who will deploy a balloon during next month’s total solar eclipse on April 8, and transmit live data from 80,000 feet while Banks focused on capturing live video from a camera on the balloon. 

“It’s crazy what we have opportunities to do here as undergrads,” Barduson, who will graduate this spring, said. “NASA is all over the place here. It’s not something that’s necessary to have a great program but it’s so nice to have here. It adds that name brand, we (ASU) are leading in space, in general, and I think that it makes all of difference as far as just making it feel reel and engaging students in their work.” 

It's no wonder that Arizona State was ranked as one of the top U.S. institutions for employable graduates according to the Global Employability University Rankings and Survey in February. When asked if he could describe all of the opportunities relating to space on campus all Barduson could say is, “Oh boy.” 

Groups like the Astronomy Club, Space Business Association, Sun Devil Rocketry, the Interplanetary Initiative, and Thunderbird School of Global management were all present at the expo, which coincided with the 2024 Arizona Space Summit, a gathering of industry leaders from across the state. 

“It’s accelerating, that’s what ASU is doing right now, accelerating and I love that,” Barduson said. “It means that I’ve invested well in terms of an alma mater. ASU is going to continue to build its credibility in the space sector.” 


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