Research

My interests are the exploration of Solar System objects and the understanding of their evolution. I am focusing on remote sensing of the solid surfaces of planets and their record of past environments. This research is enabled by space missions throughout the Solar System. Here below more details on my research methods.

 

 
 Visible to near infrared reflectance spectrum of a HED meteorite (analog to Vesta surface) measured in the laboratory. BI and BII indicate different absorption bands

Visible to near infrared reflectance spectrum of a HED meteorite (analog to Vesta surface) measured in the laboratory. BI and BII indicate different absorption bands

 
 Diagram of an infrared fourier transform spectrometer with a sample hosted in a vacuum chamber.

Diagram of an infrared fourier transform spectrometer with a sample hosted in a vacuum chamber.

Near-Infrared mapping spectroscopy of planetary surfaces

This method enables us to characterize the mineralogy of planetary surfaces by analysing reflected light. Absorption bands of rock-forming minerals, like pyroxene, olivine, phyllosilicates and carbonates can be detected, quantified and mapped across a planetary object. This tell us about how rocks formed, for example by magmatic processes, volcanism or aqueous alteration. I have applied this method on Mars, the asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres.

Near-Infrared spectroscopy of analogues material

Near-Infrared measurements of analogue materials, such as meteorites, are performed in the laboratory under controlled conditions to provide a ground truth for measurements in space. A variety of aspects affecting the near-infrared properties of a material can be investigated. I have been studying the effects of observation geometry, grain size and mineralogy. I have collaborated in the analysis of samples under low temperature and vacuum conditions using goniometers and low-temperature reaction chambers coupled to spectrometers.

 
 Geologic map of a quadrangle on asteroid Vesta (~500 km in diameter). Colors indicate different geologic units, formed at different times and by different geologic processes.

Geologic map of a quadrangle on asteroid Vesta (~500 km in diameter). Colors indicate different geologic units, formed at different times and by different geologic processes.

Planetary Geology

This field exploits optical imagery and 3-D topographic model. Geomorphology, morphometry and stratigraphic relationship give information on the type and time of processes that affected the surface, like impact cratering, tectonic, or fluvial. Time information can be gained with the so-called crater counting technique, or crater size-frequency distribution measurements, coupled with model and chronologies of impact history.

 

Explore New Planetary Surfaces

Multi-temporal database for the surface of Mars, developed by the Institute fur Planetologie,  University of Muenster.

PS. Some places on Mars are better (and more often) imaged than some places on Earth.

3D and 2D view of 11 different image datasets of the asteroid Vesta. Developed at JPL/NASA from the Dawn mission data.

PS. Once on the website, click the "3D" symbol on the bottom left for enhanced visualization.

 

 

A multitude of high resolution image layers for the Moon. Credits by LROC/ASU/NASA.

PS. Combine the different layers and get to know the hidden water-rich areas at the lunar poles.