Planetary Geology applies the techniques and skills that are typical of geological disciplines to the study of the formation and evolution of rocky bodies in the Solar System. The new "landing mission" with direct in situ measurements and high resolution images provide data that allow extremely detailed observations and an almost "field-like" approach. The correct interpretation of the information obtained from the measurement of the chemical and physical properties of planetary bodies depends on models developed in the context of classic "Earth" geology. The growing number of "Sample Return" missions requires the presence of a scientific community ready to study and understand the geological significance of the materials that are being brought to Earth.

Focusing on larger distances, the assessment of potential habitability of the many extrasolar planets recently discovered is an extremely challenging research field. IGG proposes itself as an aggregation point for the interdisciplinary skills focused on the study of extraterrestrial materials and bodies.

Main research activity are:

  • Classification and mineralogical, geochemical, isotopic, geochronological study of meteorites and cosmic dust.
  • Calibration of geothermometers based on the inter-crystalline exchange in pyroxene and modeling of the cooling rate of the parent bodies of meteorites;
  • Correlation between crystal chemistry composition and spectral response of mineral phases and meteorite hand samples.
  • Research and crystallochemical characterization of new mineral phases in extraterrestrial materials.
  • Stratigraphic and structural analysis of terrestrial analogues for the interpretation of the structures, and the evolution of planetary bodies.
  • Comparisons of extraterrestrial environments with terrestrial analogues for the validation of the analytical results obtained from prototypes and development of new investigation techniques.
  • Numerical simulations for the assessment of planetary habitability.

Coordinator: Gianfranco Di Vincenzo (Gianfranco.divincenzo(at)igg.cnr(dot)it)