Piero D’Incecco

On Mount Etna, Italy (January 2021)

Piero D’Incecco, planetary geologist

Me and my planetary science

I’m a planetary geologist, particularly focused on surface morphology of terrestrial bodies.

As a member of the Geology Discipline Group of the NASA MESSENGER team, I had the opportunity to study the surface spectral properties of Mercury. Starting from the elaboration and analysis of remotely sensed data achieved from MDIS and MASCS instruments (Mercury Dual Imaging System, and Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer, respectively), my work focuses on realizing a geologically supervised spectral investigation of the shallow crust of Mercury, using impact craters as a key into the subsurface of the planet.

Using one micron surface emissivity data from the VEX-VIRTIS instrument (Visible InfraRed and Thermal Imaging Spectrometer on Venus Express) and high-resolution radar images from the NASA Magellan mission, my work has been focused on analyzing location, size and extent of recently active lava flows on a volcanic structure of Venus. This was possible by combining morphologic mapping on Magellan SAR images with 1 micron emissivity modeling.

I currently work in the Planetary Emissivity Laboratory group at DLR in Berlin under Dr. Joern Helbert. I’m also a PhD student at the Department of Astronomy of the University of Oulu, supervised by Prof. Juergen Schmidt.

Previously I focused on global and local scale comparison between terrestrial and Venusian calderas. This was done during my Master’s thesis (at University G. D’Annunzio in Chieti/Pescara, Italy, and the NASA Nordic Regional Planetary Image Facility (NRPIF) at the University of Oulu, Finland).


  • International Research School of Planetary Sciences (IRSPS), Pescara, Italy, 2019–present
  • Arctic Planetary Science Institute, 2016–present
  • Past:
    • German  Aerospace  Center  (DLR) , Berlin, Germany, 2011–2017
    • University of Oulu, Department of Physics, Oulu, Finland: 2008, 2010, 2014–2017
    • Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA, 2011, 2012
    • Università degli studi G. D’Annunzio, Department of structural geology and geodynamics of the Earth and planets, Chieti, Italy: 2002–2010

Top five publications

Other achievements, positions of trust, etc.

  • DLR/DAAD Fellowship Award, German Aerospace Center, Berlin, Germany, 2011–2015
  • European Geoscience Union  (EGU) Outstanding  Student  Poster (OSP) Award, 2014