Center for Earth and
Planetary Studies

The Center for Earth and Planetary Studies (CEPS) is the scientific research unit within the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. CEPS performs original research and outreach activities on topics covering planetary science, terrestrial geophysics, and the remote sensing of environmental change.

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 and features, such as volcanism, valley networks, cratering, tectonics, and sand movement. Terrestrial studies also address topics of current concern for global climate change.

As 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.

Staff participate in the development and presentation of public programs, special events at the Museum, and outreach activities in the community.