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  • Born in Montichiari (Brescia), Italy, 10/09/1954
  • Married, two children




Laurea Degree, Computer sciences, University of Pisa, 1979




  • 2006-present, senior researcher, Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology (IAPS), INAF, Rome
  • 2004, visiting professor, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Mitaka (Tokyo)
  • 1987-2007, staff researcher, Institute for Space Astrophysics (IASF), INAF, Rome
  • 1984, temporary position, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Munich (Germany)
  • 1979-1982, research associate, National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), Rome




  • 2015-present, leader of the task “Small Bodies” in the EC project Europlanet 2020 RI
  • 2012-present, senior scientist at the Italian Space Agency Data Centre (ASDC)
  • 2009-2012, coordinator of the Work Package IDIS (European Planetary Virtual Observatory) Service Activity of the EC FP7 project Europlanet-RI
  • 2007-2009, president of the Steering Committee of the International Planetary Data Alliance
  • 2007-2008, co-coordinator of the task N7 IDIS (European Planetary Virtual Observatory) of the EC FP6 project Europlanet CA
  • 1996-1998, Chief of the Department of Planetary Sciences of the Institute for Space Astrophysics (IASF), CNR, Rome




  • 2014-present, member of the Council of the Institute IAPS (Consiglio di Struttura)
  • 2014-present, vice-chair of the COSPAR Commission B on Space Studies of Earth-Moon System, Planets and Small Bodies of the Solar System
  • 2010-2014, chair of the COSPAR Sub-Commission B1 on Space Related Studies of Small Bodies in the Solar System
  • 2006-2010, vice-chair of the COSPAR Sub-Commission B1 on Space Related Studies of Small Bodies in the Solar System


  • 1997-2003, member of the Organizing Committee of the Commission 15 of the International Astronomical Union (IAU)
  • Asteroid 39336 Mariacapria named in honour




  • Member (representing the Italian Space Agency) of the Steering Committee of the International Planetary Data Alliance (IPDA)
  • 2007-present, member of the Italian National COSPAR Committee





  • Member of the Commission 15 of International Astronomical Union (IAU).
  • Member of the Commission B of COSPAR





  • Comet thermal evolution modelling

Development of models of the thermal evolution and differentiation of comet nuclei, used for:

  • the simulation of the activity of real comets
  • the study of cometary activity at great distances and the possible sublimation mechanisms
  • the simulation of the properties of comet matter
  • Asteroid thermal evolution modelling

Development of thermal models for dry bodies, used for:

  • the derivation of thermal inertia
  • the derivation of surface and internal temperatures.
  • Kuiper Belt Objects modelling

Development of models of the thermal evolution and differentiation of icy bodies, used for                 the study of the activity of Centaur object Chiron and of the internal differentiation and long term evolution of KBOs in general.

  • High resolution spectroscopy of comets

Observing program of high resolution visible spectroscopy of cometary comae; analysis of spectra of various comets (including 1..P/ Ikeya-Zhang and 9P/Tempel 1), with the aim of catalogue and identify emission lines; analysis of atomic oxygen emission lines.




  • Virtual Observatory

Development of protocols and services for a virtual_observatory-like access to planetary data

  • Data management and exploitation

Techniques for a better organization and exploitation of planetary data, both from ground-based and space-based instruments.





  • Bepicolombo (ESA mission to Mercury to be launched in 2015): deputy co-PI of the experiment STC-SIMBIOSYS (imagers and spectrometer). Main responsibilities include science operation planning and the study of the properties of the surface of Mercury.
  • Dawn co-investigator (NASA mission to Vesta and Ceres): main responsibilities include the study of the thermal properties of the surfaces and the data archiving of the instrument VIR (image spectrometer)
  • Rosetta (ESA mission to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko): co-investigator of the experiment VIRTIS (image spectrometer). Principal responsibilities include the thermal evolution modelling of the targets and data archiving.
  • 2008-2009, member of the ESA-NASA Joint Tandem Science Definition Team (proposed mission to Titan)






  • 2008-2014, Member of the Editorial Board of Space Science Reviews




  • Many invited talks at international meetings
  • Experience as a referee for many manuscripts submitted to international journals
  • Experience as a referee for many proposals and requests for funding at international level
  • Experience as a congress organizer:
    • European Planetary Science Congress, Rome, 2010
    • European Week of Astronomy and Space Studies, Rome, 2012




106 peer-reviewed publications (31/12/2014).


Number of papers: 106

Total reads: 20122 (ADSABS)

Total citations: 1868 (ADSABS), 1795 (Scopus), 1819 (Web of Science)

H-index: 24 (Scopus, Web of Science)

Average citations per item: 14.10 (Web of Science)