The Space Sciences Lab is a space research laboratory at UC Berkeley.


SSL is located up the hill from the main UC Berkeley campus, next to Lawrence Hall of Science and Tilden Regional Park. It has a beautiful view of the San Francisco Bay.


SSL was initiated in 1958 and began operations in 1960 on the main UC Berkeley campus. As the program grew it quickly needed more space (hah, punny). In 1962 NASA granted building the modern site which opened in 1966.

Groups and Projects

SSL has projects in astrophysics, astrometrics, astronomy, cosmology, and even distributed computing. Most research is experimental; most do so by building and sending satellites into space. Such projects go through phases of building a proposal and obtaining NASA funding, building prototypes and the actual spacecraft, launching and data gathering. Scientists and engineers study topics such as the Earth's atmosphere, the origin of the Solar System, our Sun, Mars, the cosmological constant, supernovae, gamma-ray bursts.

Berkeley's SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) program is also housed at SSL. SERENDIP (Search for Extraterrestrial Radio Emissions from Nearby Developed Intelligent Populations) searches for radio signals from ET using Aracibo Observatory. The wildly successful SETI@Home project takes this data and sends it to home users to analyze in the world's biggest distributed computing project.

More info: