Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe

Alexandra Navrotsky

What is MotU?

The Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe (MotU) unites cosmology, astrophysics, astronomy, planetary science and exploration, mineralogy and petrology, materials science and engineering, chemistry, physics, and biology to address grand questions of the complex chemistries and evolution of planets.

MotU attracts and inspires scientists across all STEM fields as it synergistically applies materials research methods and explores alien and extreme conditions and environments with the expectation of discovering new, useful materials and understanding the formation and evolution of planets. Materials of the Universe brings together researchers and engineers to form cross-disciplinary research teams to expedite humanity’s next steps in the universe. Science fiction morphs into science and evolves into technology.

A paradigm shift in
understanding the universe

Stars produce the elements that form all materials. Planets, moons and every object in the universe form through physical and chemical processing of this suite of elements, which makes the knowledge of materials essential to understand the universe. The diversity of planetary bodies in our solar system and the ubiquity of exoplanets now liberate us from narrow thinking focused only on Earth materials. We need to understand their formation, stability, catalytic activity and rheology over a range of temperature, pressure and compositions not yet imagined.

Creating new materials, often far from equilibrium, with compositions unknown on Earth but possible elsewhere, requires fundamental understanding of structure, bonding and function. Such new materials, in turn, may aid space exploration by providing better sensors and detectors, as well as stronger, lighter and more robust materials for aerospace applications. Materials research under extreme conditions will enable us to design new systems for space exploration, travel and settlement.

MotU team

Check out the MotU team members that make the research happen.

MotU jobs

Interested in working at MotU? Take a look at our open positions.

MotU research

Find out more about MotU’s research projects.

MotU Group Spring

MotU Group May 2022

Image of Alexandra Navrotsky

Alexandra Navrotsky and Students

MotU Group May 2022

PIRE Students

Visit of John and Ursula Neil, dinner with Alex Navrotsky, Hongwu Xu, Sergey Ushakov.

MotU Group Spring 2021

MotU news

Stay up to date with MotU

Join our mailing list for updates on publications and events.