Terrestrial Research in CEPS
Terrestrial research at CEPS concentrates on the study of geophysical
processes on the Earth's surface. These research projects are focused
on surface dynamics in arid regions and comparative planetology of volcanic
and tectonic landforms. The goals are to better understand processes such
as volcanism, flooding, cratering, tectonics, and sand movement, that
shape the surface of the Earth as we see it. Researchers at CEPS use field
work and remote sensing techniques to investigate geomorphology and environmental
changes on the Earth's surface.
Satellite remote sensing is a widely used method for CEPS scientists studying
the surface of the Earth on a larger scale. CEPS houses a large archive
of satellite data covering arid areas throughout the world. Data from
visible and infrared wavelength sensors are used to understand geomorphology
at the Earth's surface and identify areas undergoing biophysical changes.
Active microwave sensors are used for studying volcanic features and drainage
patterns in arid areas. Airphotos are used in projects where highly detailed
data are required. High-precision GPS allows for spacial data that is
very accurate, as well as quick and easy to obtain. The ease of use and
transportation compared to traditional surveying equipment makes GPS ideal
for CEPS scientists conducting field work in isolated areas.
CEPS researchers perform scientific field work in a variety of sites in
the U.S. and throughout the world. Several of these field sites are investigated
as analogues for planetary features. Terrestrial features that can be
observed on other bodies in the solar sytem, such as sand dunes, landslides,
and lava flows are surveyed to determine their history, and their appearence
using various remote sensing techniques. Once the field sites on Earth
are understood, they can be used to assist the interpretation of imagery
and remote sensing data from planetary missions.
Terrestrial research at CEPS not only provides analogues for planetary
features, but also provides a better understanding of environmental issues
and geological hazards for those living on the Earth. Forest cover and
land use studies provide maps of the changing surface. Sand movement and
paleoflood studies help us to understand the changing climate of the Earth,
and the risks to those living near sources of water. Studies of landslides
and volcanic features are being used to better understand the hazards
facing people that live nearby. CEPS research allows for better management
and settlement of the increasingly populated surface of the Earth.
List of Earth research