Who We Are


Graduated in Physics at Roma University “La Sapienza” in 1977, with a thesis on X-Ray spectroscopy applied to Lunar Samples. Researcher at CNR then ESA Research Fellow at University of Sussex (UK). From 1985: Agenzia Spaziale Italiana as PA Manager, then as PM for ASI to Rosetta, Mars Express, MRO and Cassini-Huygens Missions, Co-I of the Cassini Radar and of H-ASI; Chair 2006-10 of Philae Steering Committee; 2008-10: ASI Director of the Observation of the Universe department, Mission Science Director for LARES on VEGA 2012; 2010-18: ASI Chief Scientist; Hemeritus PI of SIMBIO-SYS on BepiColombo; Vice-Chair and Chair of ESA SPC and Italian Delegate; Delegate to ESA PB-EO; from 2006 Teacher of “Solar System Exploration “ at G. D’Annunzio” University-Chieti, Italy. Member of: IMEWG, MEPAG, MPSET, JMART, iMARS1, COPUOS ATEIn. Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite de France ; Exceptional Public Service Gold Medal by NASA; IAU asteroid named 18099-Flamini. More than 100 papers published and 3 books.

Enrico Flamini

Gian Gabriele is Full Professor of Geology at the UdA (Pescara, Italy) and Director of the IRSPS. Ori is a sedimentary geologist with interest in large scale depositional systems on the Earth, Mars and Titan. He is interested in planetary analogues and field research in Africa and Polar areas, in the geology of Moon and Venus and he is involved in several missions including Mars Express, MRO, Cassini, ExoMars and Mars Sample Return. He has been involved in several committee for planetary exploration including the Executive Committee of the MEPAG NASA.

Gian Gabriele Ori
Director & Chief Scientist

Kamal Taj-Eddine is full Professor of Geology and Geoinformatics at the Université Cadi Ayyad (Marrakech, Morocco). Graduated in Geological Sciences at the University of Bologna (Italy) obtained a State Doctorate in Geology at the Université Cadi Ayyad (Marrakech, Morocco). 1982 to 1998 head of the Paleontology and Biostratigraphy Laboratory; 2019 and 2020 Vice Rector for Research and Innovation (Université Cadi Ayyad). He works on the genesis and spatio-temporal evolution of Moroccan sedimentary systems and is interested in planetary analogues in Morocco.

Kamal Taj-Eddine
Senior Scientist

Goro's major research focus is surface landforms of terrestrial planets, their formation processes and implications for the evolution of the planets. He studied channels and valleys on Venus. For Mars, he is interested in processes of water, including oceans, outflow channels, valley networks, layered deposits, glaciation, and sedimentation. For Earth, he has been involved in cataclysmic flood research projects in northern Alaska and Central Asia, drainage evolution studies in northern Eurasia, Central Australia, and Central Mexico, and investigation of a possible impact crater in Mongolia.

Goro Komatsu

Senior Scientist

Isabella Raffi has been Full professor of Paleontology and Paleoecology at UdA until October 2022. She is a paleontologist of Protists and studies calcareous nannoplankton/nannofossils. Her research on nannofossils regards their use for paleoenvironment and paleoclimate reconstructions and as biochronologic tool for the building and implementation of the Geological Time Scale. Isabella participated to seven expeditions on paleoclimate themes within the research drilling international programs ODP and IODP. For the achievements of her research, the Faculty of Sciences at Stockholm University conferred on her the Doctorate of Philosophy honoris causa in Natural Sciences on September 2012.

Isabella Raffi
Senior Scientist

Giuseppe's research interests include planetary science, with an emphasis on the interior structure and evolution of planets and other objects of the Solar System. He is a Participating Scientist of the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens mission and a Guest Investigator of the NASA Dawn mission. He is a Co-Investigator of three instruments and experiments for ESA’s JUpiter ICy moon Explorer mission: the radio science experiment 3GM, the radar sounder RIME and the camera JANUS. He is also a Cassini RADAR Associated Team Member.

Giuseppe Mitri
Senior Scientist

Monica Pondrelli graduated in Geological Sciences and obtained a PhD in Earth Sciences at the University of Bologna. She is interested in the genesis and evolution of the sedimentary systems on Mars and their implications on the overall evolution of the planet. On Earth, she works on the reconstruction of the depositional evolution of the Lower Paleozoic succession of the Carnic Alps.

Monica Pondrelli

Senior Scientist

Andrea is a planetary cartography specialist, dealing with remote sensing and planetary geology since his graduation thesis. He got a PhD in Planetary Sciences and Exobiology at IRSPS. He is project scientist at IRSPS for the ExoMars Environmental Terrain Support Analysis project and the geological aspects relevant to the Planetary Protection Strategic Advice. Andrea is also a member of the ESA ExoMars LSSWG and RSOWG.

Andrea Pacifici
Senior Scientist

Ida is a geologist and attended also a Master programme in Security Sytems and Natural Hazards. She is Administrator of IRSPS srl. She worked for oil exploration with several Oil Companies mostly in the Black Sea area. Ida has also spent several years in Morocco for the analysis of Terrestrial Mars analogues.

Ida Dell’Arciprete

Ibn Battuta Centre Officer

Daniela D’Alleva


Giuseppe is an award-winning architect registered in both Italy and Australia and is currently working through his doctorate of Engineering, Earth and Planetary Sciences with a focus on ISRU and Habitability of Human Exploration of Mars and the Moon. An A+ member of the Australian Institute of Architects, passionate for Architecture in extreme environments. Space Architect with interest in Physics, Antigravity & Permaculture. Main experiences: •Saudi Arabia, Adaptive Reuse and Reconstruction of Diriyah-Riyadh Saudi Arabia a 12 hectare Earth Architecture City. •High Distinction & Published Thesis regarding Earth Architecture received from the University G.D’Annunzio in Italy. •Space Architecture Research and Technology Development 1st WINNER Mars City Design® 2020 Challenge Urban Farming for Extreme Environment International Competition. 1st Marschitecture Award. Sponsored by Designboom, NASA, ESA, National Geographic. 2nd WINNER Ghana 2011 International Design Competition. Model Arts Village in the Ashanti Region of Ghana for replication in other parts of the sub-Sahara. Earth Architecture and Extreme Environment methodologies. Published author of scientific contributions on Earth Architecture, Heritage and Restoration, Moon Research. Member of Moon European Consortium. Mars City Design Ambassador 2022.

Giuseppe Calabrese

Senior Engineer

Francesco is an Italian Geologist (Ph.D.) with a postgraduate specialization in Space Institutions and Policies. In 2018 he received, from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship (Grant Agreement No. 795192) at Faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University. Since 2020 he is an Associate Researcher to the ERC-CG MarsFirstWater (Grant Agreement No. 818602) at the Centro de Astrobiologia in Madrid. His main research interests are sedimentology, stratigraphy and hydrology on terrestrial planets, especially on Earth and Mars, using an integrated analysis of data from orbital imagers and field work to study terrestrial analogue sites. Francesco is involved in space mission for planetary exploration beeing a team member of the CASSIS-Exo Mars for the exploration of the Martian surface (Associate Scientist). He is also a member of the International Association of Sedimentologists and of the Marie Curie Alumni Association.

Francesco Salese
Senior Scientist

Barbara is Associate Professor at the University of Bologna and President of the European Astrobiology Network and Associations-EANA (from 2019). Her research focuses on geobiology and astrobiology, and she is an expert filed geobiologist. She received funding form FP7-PEOPLE-CIG, H2020-INFRA-AFRICA, H2020-INFRAIA, Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellowship, and has been involved in several committees on space research, e.g. NASA-ESA-MSPG2.

Barbara Cavalazzi
Senior Scientist

Aino Kirillova had worked many years in Arctic, the Black Sea, did PhD in Earth Sciences. Her background includes the investigation of coastal erosion under permafrost conditions and sea ice gouging, geomorphological and geological surveys. She is interested in the evolution of Martian geomorphology and other planets of the Solar system, evidence of glacial landforms, reconstructions of geological history.

Aino Kirillova
Senior Scientist

Osip's main scientific interest is the geomorphology of polar regions. He worked in Arctic region 16 years studying glacier dynamics on Svalbard, coastal erosion under permafrost conditions and sea ice gouging in Barents-Kara region. He used such methods as field geomorphological mapping, sedimentological analysis, radiocarbon dating and remote sensing and geophysical data interpretation. He would like to apply experience in research of peri and glacial landsystems and palaeogeographical reconstructions by geological evidences to investigation of Mars and Moon geomorphology.

Osip Kokin
Senior Scientist

Veronica is a Geologist specialized in Remote Sensing analysis on Earth and Planetary bodies. Her studies are focused on terrestrial planets sedimentology and geomorphology, especially on Earth and Mars. She did a Specialization in “Space Institutions and Policies” at SIOI, in Rome, which has provided her with specific knowledge about Legal, Political and Economic aspects of Space Explorations. This journey led her to an important Internship at ASI, where she has been working on landing sites on Mars surface.

Veronica Camplone
Junior Scientist

Stefania Celenza

Alessio is a planetary geologist which focused his study on Martian geology and remote sensing imagery. He took his MD in Geological Sciences with specialization in sedimentary geology at University of Parma and his PhD in Science at Ud’A (Chieti – Pescara). His field of work is mainly related to geological mapping, basin analysis and 2-d and 3-d imagery systems and processes. The main purpose of his studies is related to cyclostratigraphy and innovative methods of mapping. He has been involved in ESA's ExoMars 2016 mission as digital 3-dimensional imagery specialist, beta code tester and assistant for landing risk analysis, mapping supporter. On Earth, he was involved in several multi-disciplinary missions (including geology, archeology, risk assestements etc.) as drone licensed pilot and expert in remote sensing images development.

Alessio Murana
Junior Scientist

Adriano is a Engineering Geologist and a GIS Analyst dedicated also in Remote Sensing data reading and management. His background include the integration of various remote sensing methodologies, monitoring systems, geological and geophysical surveys in the fields of applied geomorphology, hydrogeology and more recently in planetary exploration. He is involved in ETSA project for the ExoMars landing site characterization and in FlyRadar Horizon 2020 project.

Adriano Tullo
Junior Scientist

Francesca is a PhD student in Earth and Planetary Sciences. Her personal approach puts more attention to the issues of geological and seismic risk, from those related to structural geology to those mostly engineering. Her background includes experience in database processing with GIS software, interpretation of thematic maps, geological and geophysical surveys and more recently in planetary exploration. She is involved in ETSA project for the ExoMars landing site characterization and in FlyRadar Horizon 2020 project.

Francesca Mancini
Junior Scientist

Katherine is focusing on developing numeral simulations for understanding the geodynamical behavior of Ganymede’s icy shell. Her background includes geophysical exploration, data analysis and application of remote sensing technics for looking signs of vegetation on Mars. She is interested in applying and discovering new methods that lets have a better understanding of the evolution of different bodies in the solar system and the possibility to host life.

Katherine Villavicencio

Junior Scientist

Gianluca is pursuing his PhD studies in Earth and Planetary Sciences. His background includes experience in processing planetary images, use of GIS software for planetary mapping, and generation of DEM with different techniques. His current research activity focuses on the study of the internal structure of Mercury combining gravity data with imaging and topographic data of characteristic surface landforms. He also supports projects that investigate potential formation mechanisms of chaotic terrains and other characteristic landforms lying on the icy satellites around the Jupiter system, particularly on Europa.

Gianluca Chiarolanza
Junior Scientist

Camilla is interested in exploring icy moons’ deep interiors, with a specific regard to their mineralogy, petrology and structure. In my previous research, she worked on serpentinization processes applied to icy moons, starting from chondritic mineralogies. Actually, she is working on Triton and its evolution in time, considering aqueous alteration of the interior and its implications on metals production.

Camilla Cioria
Junior Scientist

Davide is involved in the 3D reconstruction of the South Polar Layered Deposits in Ultimi Scopuli (Mars). He will use the MARSIS radar data and DTMs from different sources. Another project deals with the analysis of superficial features and process in the equatorial area of Triton. He also will investigate the possibility to link them with the internal processes of the satellite.

Davide Sulcanese
Junior Scientist

Mafalda's study background includes a bachelor's degree in Geological Sciences and subsequent master's degrees in Planetary Sciences. Her current skills are based on observation by remote sensing, imaging spatial data processing and geological cartography of the surface of planetary bodies using GIS software. Her current research focuses on the study of Ganymede''s surface and related geological cartography, with particular attention to tectonic reconstructions and relative chronology of events.

Mafalda Ianiri
Junior Scientist

Elettra got a Bachelor degree in Geology at the Università Milano Bicocca and a Master degree in Planetary Sciences at UdA. She is pursuing a post graduate internship at Universitè Lyon 1 Claude Bernard for the European FlyRadar project led by IRSPS. Her current research activities focus on the development of Virtual Reality using photogrammetry (satellite and rover images from Mars), and the study of methane on Mars based on radar dataset.

Elettra Mariani
Junior Scientist

Claudio is a planetary geoscientist with a master degree in “Planetary Sciences". His background includes: Gis software for geological mapping, ISIS for planetary images processing and field trips. His thesis' work studies the double ridges on Europa icy moon. The goal is to understand theirs possible formation processes through mapping. Now, he does part of the FlyRadar project.

Claudio Orlanducci
Junior Scientist

Hall of fame

This page is dedicated to people who stayed at IRSPS for a considerable time and contributed to our activities.

Vilmos Steinmann (Ph.D. student visiting)

Back to his place: Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest (Hungary)

Period: July 2021 – August 2021

Gene Schmidt (Ph.D. student)

Moved to: Università Degli Studi Roma Tre (Italy)

Period: November 2016 – March 2020

Trishit Ruj (Ph.D. Student)

Moved to: University of Tokyo (Japan)

Period: November 2014 – April 2018

M.A. de Pablo Hdez (Visiting scientist)

Back to his place: Universidad de Alcala, Madrid (Spain)

Period: May-June 2007

Hanna Lahtela (Visiting scientist)

Back to her place: University of Oulu, Oulu (Finland)

Period: July – December 2005

Giuseppe Mitri (Ph.D. student)

Moved to: Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson (USA)

Period: December 2001 – March 2005

Paul Geissler (Visiting scientist)

Moved to: USGS, Flagstaff (USA)

Period: June 2002 – June 2003

Jens Ormö (Post-Doc)

Moved to: Centro de Astrobiologia – Madrid (Spain)

Period: September 1999 – February 2002

Bob Strom (Visiting scientist)

Back to his place: Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson (USA)

Period: January 1997 – June 1997

Akos Kereszturi (Visiting Scientist)

Back to his place: Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest (Hungary)

Period: July 2021 – August 2021

Veronica Camplone (Master student)

Moved to: Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale/ASI

Period: October 2017 – May 2019

Alessandra Cofano (Ph.D. Student)

Moved to: Università degli Studi di Trento (Italy)

Period: November 2014 – April 2018

Dennis Reiss (Visiting scientist)

Back to his place: DLR, Berlin (Germany)

Period: 24 July – 31 August

Graziella Caprarelli (Visiting scientist)

Back to her place: University of Technology, Sidney (Australia)

Period: April – June 2005, September – December 2006

Angelo Rossi (Ph.D. student)

Moved to: ESTEC, European Space Agency, Noordwijk (The Netherlands)

Period: March 1998 – December 2004

Aki Karna (Research fellow)

Then at: University of Oulu, Oulu (Finland)

Period: May 2002 – August 2002

Laura di Russo (Secretary)

Moved to: Ufficio Stampa – Provincia di Pescara

Period: 1998 – 2000

Claudia Mosangini (Master student)

Moved to: DLR, Berlin (Germany)

Period: June 1995 – June 1997

Ángel García-Arnay (Ph.D. student visiting)

Back to his place: University of Zaragoza (Spain)

Period: May 2021 – July 2021

Pietro Matteoni (Research Fellow)

Moved to: Freie Universität, Berlin (Germany)

Period: March 2018 – May 2019

David Vaz (Visiting scientist)

Back to his place: Universidade de Coimbra (Portugal)

Period: April 2007 – April 2010

M.A. de Pablo Hdez (Visiting scientist)

Back to his place: Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid (Spain)

Period: April – July 2006

Mihaela Glamoclija (Ph.D. student)

Moved to: Indiana University, Bloomington (USA)

Period: December 2001- March 2005

Anna Simoventi (Research fellow)

Then at: Joint Research centre of the European Union, Ispra (Italy)

Period: March 2003 – June 2003

Fiorella Coliolo (student)

Moved to: ESA HQ, Paris Research Fellow (France)

Period: October 2000 – March 2001

Ester and Petri Muinonen (Research fellows)

Moved to: Organizazzione & Informatica s.p.a. Torino

Period: May 1998 – December 1998