Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

Center for Earth and Planetary Studies

JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE)
Artist's impression of the JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE). Museum scientist Bruce Campbell is one of the U.S. team members for the JUICE mission. Credit: European Space Agency

The Center for Earth and Planetary Studies (CEPS) is the scientific research unit within the National Air and Space Museum. Its scientists conduct an active research program in planetary and terrestrial geology and geophysics including work involving Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and some satellites of the outer solar system.

There are many major projects going on in CEPS, some involving direct participation in current planetary missions. These four projects are just a sampling. A complete list of CEPS research is at the bottom.

  • CEPS scientist Bruce Campbell is a member of the U.S. team selected by NASA to participate in the radar sounder instrument investigation on the European Space Agency's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission.
  • Geologist John Grant is one of 20 scientists and engineers selected by NASA to form a Science Definition Team (SDT) for the Mars rover being planned for launch in 2020.
  • CEPS was awarded a grant for approximately $200,000 from NASA's Planetary Missions Data Analysis program to investigate the timing of tectonic deformation on Mercury. Research fellow Maria Banks is the principal investigator and senior scientist and CEPS chair Thomas Watters is a collaborator on the grant.
  • Maria Banks is also the principal investigator on a grant for approximately $150,000 from NASA's Mars Data Analysis program to investigate global and local trends in aeolian bedform (dunes and ripples) mobility on Mars. CEPS scientist James Zimbelman is a collaborator.

Complete list of CEPS staff and their projects