The Center for Earth and Planetary Studies (CEPS) conducts an active
research program in planetary and terrestrial geology and geophysics using remote sensing data from Earth-orbiting satellites and manned and unmanned space missions. The Center possesses computer facilities that permit processing and manipulation of large remote sensing datasets. The scope of research activities includes work on Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and some satellites of the outer solar system, as well as corresponding field studies in terrestrial analog regions. CEPS staff study a variety of geological processes, such as volcanism, floods, cratering, tectonics, and sand movement. Many of the terrestrial studies also address topics of current concern for global climate change.
a NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility
(RPIF), CEPS houses an extensive collection of images of the planets and their satellites. In addition, CEPS serves as a repository for an extensive collection of Space Shuttle photographs. Both the RPIF and Space Shuttle photograph collections are freely accessible to investigators in the mid-Atlantic and southeastern regions as an archive for scientific research.
CEPS has curatorial responsibility for two museum exhibit galleries. The
Exploring the Planets gallery highlights the planets and their satellites, and explores what we have learned about our solar system from interplanetary spacecraft. Planning is actively underway for updating the Exploring the Planets gallery, incorporating the many recent advances in space science. The Looking at Earth gallery illustrates the ways in which aerial photography and satellite images are used to obtain a better understanding of the Earth. These galleries are updated with new images and information as it becomes available in special "What's New" displays. CEPS also has responsibility for all of the lunar rock samples displayed in the museum, and took a lead role in developing the "Earth Today" exhibit.
Staff participate in the development and presentation of public programs, including teacher workshops, special events at the museum, and outreach activities in the community.