Research topics

I am expert on spectroscopy, photometry and polarimetry of minor bodies of the Solar System (NEO, main belt asteroids, Jupiter Trojans, Centaurs, TNOs and comets). My work is based on multi-wavelength observational campaigns from groundbased and space telescopes (Rosetta, Spitzer and Herschel missions), on the modelling of the bodies’ physico-chemical surface composition and of their thermal properties, and on statistical analysis. I am involved in several space missions devoted to the asteroids and comets investigation (Rosetta, Herschel, Spitzer, OSIRIS-REX), and leader of the working group on the spectrophotometric properties of the 67P comet.

I observe and I model the surfaces of near earth objects, asteroids, Jupiter Trojans, Centaurs and transneptunians, and comets  aiming to:

i) constrain their surface composition and so the primordial composition of the early Solar System

ii) analyse their thermophysical properties

iii) study the space weathering processes which affected the minor bodies’ surfaces

iv) identify the meteorites’ parent bodies

v)  look for possible relationships and correlations between the different populations of minor bodies.

I am involved in several space missions devoted to the asteroids and comets investigation (Rosetta, Herschel, Spitzer, OSIRIS-REX).

Experience in Space missions

  • Co-Investigator (Co-I) of the imaging system OSIRIS for the Rosetta mission (ESA) which includes 2 cameras (WAC and NAC), and it is realized by a consortium of 9 institutes from 6 different countries (about 65 people between co-investigators and associated scientists), and associated scientist of the VIRTIS spectro-imager onboard Rosetta
  • Responsible of the inflight radiometric calibrations for both cameras, WAC and NAC of OSIRIS : definition and
  • computation of the absolute photometric calibration factors for all the cameras filters (level 2 images of OSIRIS pipeline) and production of the radiance factors (level 3 pipeline); active participation to the OSIRIS observing sequences definition and implementation during all the scientific and calibration goals
  • Scientific coordinator, since 2012, of the working group (about 30 people) “Composition and physical properties of the core of the comet 67P” in the OSIRIS team. This working group has been involved in planning and preparing observations for the study of the composition and photometric properties of the 67P nucleus surface, as well as the analysis and interpretation of the data. I organized and participated at 2-3 teleconferences per week during 2014-2016 as coordinator and member of the OSIRIS working groups (composition, morphology, activity, dust).
  • Collaborator of the NASA –Rosetta Data Analysis Program proposal “Comet 67P Nucleus-Coma Interactions with Rosetta Observations and Models”.
  • Co-I of the SIMBIO-SYS instrument for the BEPI COLOMBO (ESA) mission
  • Associated scientist of the OSIRIS-REX (NASA) mission, involved in the spectral analysis and photometry working groups
  • Associated scientist of the JANUS instrument of the JUICE (ESA) mission
  • Co-I of the MarcoPolo, MarcoPolo–R and MarcoPolo-M5 missions selected by ESA for assessment studies for the ESA Cosmic Vision-M2, M3, and M5 program
  • Chair of the working group : Remote sensing payload for the asteroid sample return mission Marco Polo-R
  • Science lead for the LESIA laboratory of the MARIS instrument, and Co-I of 4 instruments (MARIS-spectrograph, Vespa- multi sensor package, MaNAC-camera, et CUC-close up camera) of the MarcoPolo-R mission
  • Co-I of the CASTAWAY mission selected by ESA for assessment study for the ESA Cosmic Vision-M5 program
  • 2009-2010: Co-I of the Binary Asteroid in situ Explorer (BASiX) mission proposed to NASA for the Discovery 2010 program
  • 2001-2007: Co-I of the Asteroid missions MASTER and ISHTAR selected by ESA for a phase A study
  • Co-I of a key program devoted to the study of TNOs and Centaurs with the space telescope Herschel (372 hours awarded); responsible of the reduction and interpretation of the submm data obtained with the SPIRE instrument within this program.
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