The Department of Planetary Science is focused on the study of Earth and planetary sciences and the development of instruments for Earth and planetary exploration. We are part of current and future missions to Mars: we have an instrument on the NASA curiosity rover on Mars, we are co-Investigators in the ESA Trace Gas Orbiter, and we have developed an instrument that will go to Mars in 2022, in the ExoMars mission. The device is called HABIT (HabitAbility: Brines, Irradiation and Temperature) and, among other things, will produce liquid water on Mars, to support future exploration of the planet.

We are interested in comparative planetology and how the study of the other planets of the solar system can help us to understand our Earth better.

We are an interdisciplinarity team, and we can go from idea to instrument design, development and scientific exploitation. 

Research

Our primary research topics are:

  • Mars Research
  • Environmental Research
  • Hardware development
  • Geophysics 
  • Remote sensing and Radiative Transfer of Earth and planetary atmospheres
  • Astrobiology

Education

We educate third cycle students, supervise master thesis and provide education also through seminars and several general audience outreach activities. Our pedagogical methodology is founded on cooperative learning to promote individual creativity and initiative.

Innovation

  • We support innovation producing new methods and instruments and engaging on interdisciplinary subjects.
  • We have international awards for innovation challenges and critical contributions to research. 
  • We collaborate with the industrial and academic sector.

Knowledge dissemination

  • We have a strong international network of collaborations. 
  • We publish our technological contributions in open form because we are committed with the immediate return to society. Our research is published in the top-ranking refereed journals and presented in international conferences.
  • We believe that international cooperation in research is a peaceful motor for global development and cultural understanding.
  • We propose low-cost approaches to facilitate global accessibility to technology. We share data, facilities and codes upon request.
  • We communicate Science to the general audience in dedicated local events to support community build up and individual self-steem by engaging the public on higher ambitious humanity causes.