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Introduction: Italian planetology today

The study of planetary bodies is currently in one of the most exciting periods in its history.
The discovery of hundreds of extra solar planetary systems has broadened the frontiers of modern astrophysics, making the scientific community re-consider the Solar System as a peculiar case within a wide variety of possible solutions. This discovery has given birth to a new multi-disciplinary science, bioastronomy, whose main goal is the study of the origin, evolution and spread of life in the Universe. In the international context of planetological studies, Italy has played a very central role for years, thanks to the efforts of the active and dynamic scientific community, that has managed to define itself leading roles in activities that go from pure theoretical research to remote observations from the ground and space, to laboratory experiments, and the construction of essential instruments that have flown, and are flying, on-board the main planetary exploration space missions. In fact, it is important to note that the planetology which is developing in recent years, uses space exploration as a primary instrument to obtain data for any attempt of
interpretation, analysis and modeling of the planetary bodies. These activities are, by their nature, financed principally by the "Agenzia Spaziale Italiana" and/or ESA. Involvement in space activities is also to be considered an obvious development of basic theoretical, observational and laboratory based research, that find a natural source of funding in INAF, and are the result and expression of a long tradition that has resulted in Italy having many of the world experts in the field of planetology.

Light in Astronomy 2017

Nov 14, 2017

Light in Astronomy 2017 Light in Astronomy, organized by INAF in collaboration with the Italian Astronomical Society-SAIt, will be a week (13-19 November) dedicated to satisfying curiosity about the Universe thanks to the opening in Italy of INAF premises, including the astronomical observatories.

Marsis radar reveals that on Mars all that echoes is not ice

Oct 28, 2017

Marsis radar reveals that on Mars all that echoes is not ice The low dielectric constant of the Meridiani Planum deposits is consistent with a thick layer of ice-free, porous, basaltic sand. This study is fundamental to identify techniques that may help find the planet’s areas with accessible water ice.

A 3D step towards sorting out the Gamma-Ray Bursts zoo

Oct 13, 2017

A 3D step towards sorting out the Gamma-Ray Bursts zoo A powerful tool for characterizing and classifying gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) to allow their use as tracers of the expansion history of the universe has recently been presented by an international team of researchers led by Dr. Maria Dainotti