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.
Photo: Smithsonian geologist Sharon Wilson uses an auger to dig into the red sandy surface in the Simpson Desert, Australia. Samples that she collects at varying depths will be analyzed to determine the age and composition of the linear dunes. The results from this investigation will help scientists unravel the history of the Australian Outback and further our understanding of the development of similar sand dunes on other terrestrial planets such as Mars.
Photo by Ted Maxwell