Solar System

June 28, 2016 ASDC participation to high-school outreach program

In mid June 2016, twenty high-school students from Liceo Classico "Aristofane" and Liceo Classico "Giulio Cesare" of Rome, spent one week at the Headquarters of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) to participate to the "Alternanza Scuola-Lavoro" (School and Work synergy) project, according to the new indications of the Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research (MIUR) aimed at giving a real work experience to high-school students.
On June 17, 2016, the students used ASDC tools to analyze data coming from both Solar System exploration and Universe observation missions, under the guide of Stefano Ciprini, Dario Gasparrini, Fabrizio Lucarelli, Carlotta Pittori and Angelo Zinzi.
After a brief introduction by Ciprini and Pittori on the astrophysical observations of the Universe, and by Zinzi on the exploration of the Solar System, the students were divided into four groups of five persons each. The students chose their preferred field of analysis, so that two groups used planetology ASDC tools and the other two groups used Universe observation ASDC tools.

Stefano Ciprini and Carlotta Pittori introducing the subject of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) observations.

Angelo Zinzi talking about the use of infrared spectra for mineralogic analysis on asteroids.

The planetological analysis was carried out by looking at data acquired by VIR spectrometer onboard NASA Dawn mission over the asteroid Vesta. The search for the data was conducted using the ASDC tool MATISSE, whose output (in FITS format) was then passed on to the JS9 tool to evaluate the 1.98 μm band depth, on the basis of the work by Palomba et al. (2015) devoted to the characterization of dark units on Vesta.

Students working with planetological data

The groups of students who chose to use the Universe observation tools from ASDC had to replicate the analysis of a couple of exceptional bright flares seen in gamma-rays from the AGILE satellite from the two AGNs PKS 1510-059 and 3C 279. Starting from the AGILE Astronomer's Telegrams (ATels) #6366 and #7631, announcing the dramatic gamma-ray enhancements, they identified the period of AGN activity and searched the correspondent AGILE data from the MMIA Archive. For this special occasion, we provided the students with access to the AGILE LV3 online analysis tool accessible through the ASDC web pages (the tool will soon become public). They very easily familiarized with the tool and, by means of that, they were able to produce a sky map and a light curve of the two sources, showing the rapid increase in gamma-ray flux observed in correspondence of the period reported in the ATels.

At the end of the day, the students compiled a "Daily Log" with all the capabilities acquired during the work.

Students analysing AGN data

June 28, 2016 MATISSE on Astrobetter

A post about MATISSE, the ASDC web-tool for the exploitation of planetary exploration data, has been recently published on the Astrobetter blog.
Accordingly to the goal of Astrobetter to give "tips and tricks for professional astronomers", in the aforementioned post the main characteristics of MATISSE have been described together with an example of usage of the tool.
In particular the analysis of the thermal infrared part of the spectrum of asteroid Vesta acquired by VIR instrument aboard NASA Dawn mission has been shown. As these data are publicly available the example can be easily replicated by everyone accessing MATISSE.

May 23, 2016 The 4th Moon Mapping project Workshop

On May 10 and 11 2016 the 4th workshop dedicated to the Italian-Chinese project known as "Moon Mapping" took place at the ASI headquarters in Rome.
The event started with the joined signature of the Intellectual Property agreement by ASI President R. Battiston and COSE vice-president G. Xie.
More than 30 researchers and students from Italy and China involved in the study of the Moon by means of data acquired by instruments onboard the Chinese Chang'e 1 and Chang'e 2 missions participated to the meeting.
The main topics of the joint project (i.e., Map of the solar wind ion, Structure map of the Moon, Map of elements distribution and Establishment of 3D digital visualization system) have been actively discussed together with the presentation of external activities related to the exploration of the Moon and of the Solar System in general.
During the visit to Italy, the Chinese delegation also visited the INFN National Laboratories in Frascati and the facilities of Thales Alenia Space and ALTEC in Turin.
Detailed information about the Moon Mapping project can be found on

ASI President R. Battiston and COSE vice president G. Xie while signing the Intellectual Property agreement

Mar 16, 2016 MATISSE published on Elsevier's Astronomy and Computing

A paper describing both architecture and functionalities of the ASDC webtool MATISSE has been recently published on Astronomy and Computing journal.
The PDF of the paper can be downloaded for free until May 4 at

Article title: MATISSE: a novel tool to access, visualize and analyze data from planetary exploration missions
Full bibliographic details: Astronomy and Computing (2016), pp. 16-28
DOI information: 10.1016/j.ascom.2016.02.006

Mar 03, 2016 ASDC contributions to the Italian National Congress on Planetary Sciences

At the 13th Italian National Congress on Planetary Sciences, held in Bormio from 21st to 26th February 2016, the ASDC Solar System Exploration coordinator Angelo Zinzi illustrated the latest upgrades to the ASDC MATISSE tool and presented the Moon Mapping project, an example of successful cooperation between Italy and China, using the data from the Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2 satellites.

Oct 16, 2015 MATISSE v1.1 now online with major upgrades

A new version of MATISSE (Multi-purpose Advanced Tool for Instruments for the Solar System Exploration) has been released.
The most noticeable features introduced with the version 1.1 now online are:
  • access to public datasets do not require any registration to the tools: just go to the MATISSE homepage and make the query.

  • possibility to access and visualize data from MDIS-NAC camera onboard NASA MESSENGER mission to Mercury. This dataset is archived by PDS and is accessible through the NASA ODE REST API: therefore data do not reside directly in the ASDC storage. This new implementation could be expanded to other missions, instruments and targets on user request.

  • 2 new output formats, better suited for planetary geology studies, are introduced: GeoTIFF and ENVI (IMG+HDR) files, which are now included in the data downloadable from the final page of MATISSE.

  • users belonging to the MoonMapping project can now access Chang'E-2 50 meters per pixel resolution ortophoto maps. In this case the high-resolution 3D visualization for Paraview is created using LOLA 512 ppd (60 m/pixel) elevation maps.
Further info can be found in the user manual.

For any question or suggestion feel free to contact

The MATISSE output page, with the 3D view of Mercury and the 2D projected map of data selected

GeoTIFF image from Mercury created with MATISSE and viewed with QGIS

Apr 21, 2015 Lunar data ingested in ASDC's MATISSE tool

In the framework of the Chinese-Italian "Moon Mapping" project lunar data acquired by the Chinese mission Chang'E-1 are now accessible through the MATISSE tool at ASDC for the members of the collaboration.
The data comprise all 187 quadrangles in which the Moon has been divided for DEM (Digital Elevation Model) and DOM (Digital Ortophoto Map) and the 3 Element Abundance Maps (EAM), at a resolution of 5°x5° available at after registration and login.
MATISSE can visualize all the products on a 4 pixel per degree (ppd) model of the Moon and DEM and DOM can be downloaded as Paraview files at a resolution of 60 ppd (corresponding to the DEM one).

Feb 06, 2015 ASDC Solar System coordinator to present Italian Space Agency exhibition about Rosetta on 14 February 2015

On 14 February 2015 at 4:30 pm Angelo Zinzi (ASI Science Data Center - Solar System Exploration) wil present the exhibition "Rosetta cacciatrice di comete" ("Rosetta the comet chaser"), held in Faenza, at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Corso Mazzini, 92).
The exhibition will be open from 14 February to 1st March with free entrance and is the outcome of the cooperation between the Italian Space Agency and the Casa Museo 'Raffaele Bendandi'.

Opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm and from 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm (morning only on Thursday and Saturday).

For more info go to the Italian Space Agency press release here.

Jan 21, 2015 ASDC Solar System Exploration at the AGU Fall Meeting 2014

Global maps of albedo, VIS/IR slope and organics, computed with the VIRTIS instrument onboard ESA Rosetta mission, have been projected with a prototipal stand-alone Python software developed at ASDC on the 3D shape model of the comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko and shown in the oral presentation by Filacchione et al. at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting held in San Francisco on December 2014.
The video of the presentation can be watched here.

Jan 20, 2015 MATISSE v1.0 available

The new version of the tool can be considered the first stable one, including important features such as the full selection of data based not only upon geographical charateristics, but also on the phase, incidence and emission angles.
The visualization has been improved by using an arrow indicating the North, 4 marks indicating longitudes 0°, 90°, 180° and 270° and a grid superiposed over the shape model.
Furthermore a Paraview-formatted file for high-resolution analysis is included in the downloadable archive.
The tool is available at

Sep 09, 2014 MATISSE presented at EPSC 2014

On Thursday 11th September, in the session MTI5 of the EPSC 2014 presentely held in Estoril (Portugal), the new version of MATISSE will be illustrated. The talk will be presented by Angelo Zinzi in room Venus at 2 pm.
The abstract of the talk is downloadable at

Sep 09, 2014 The MATISSE hands-on tutorial video is online

The full video (abouth 90 minutes) of the hands-on tutorial of MATISSE, registered on 3rd June 2014, is now available for streaming and download on
Everyone interested to MATISSE is strongly encouraged to view the video in order to better know the tool.

Apr 30, 2014 A new version of the MATISSE tool and the Solar System web pages at ASDC.

System Exploration), has been deeply upgraded.
A new version (V. 0.6) provides:
- searchable database, including observations from the three instruments of the International Rosetta Mission (that recently woken up) with strong Italian participation: the visible camera OSIRIS, the infrared imaging spectrometer VIRTIS-M and the dust analyzer GIADA;
- multi-observation by means of which both averages (i.e., mosaics) and ratios between observations can be performed;
- user privileges functionalities to enable the use of proprietary data, accessible only to users belonging to specific groups.
Thanks to its modular structure the tool is ready to be further upgraded with other types of data and missions (i.e., NASA Dawn to asteroid Vesta and Ceres), without changing the code behind it.
To access MATISSE go to and click "Login": after the user set-up has been completed please send an email to to be added to the list of user that can access the tool. In the same email please also specify if you belong to one of the scientific teams, requiring access to proprietary data.
( more here).