Master's degree theses


In order to apply for any of the following theses or internships, the candidate must have no more than 3 exams left.

Re-analysis of legacy Galileo Doppler data (late 1990s) employing modern orbit determination techniques

to infer relevant geophysical information and improve our current understanding of internal structure and formation history of the four Jupiter Galilean satellites. The discovery of inner water oceans on Europa and Ganymede, thanks to the original Galileo experimental campaign, was one of the most important discoveries of modern astronomy and paved the way to the current strong interest by the main space agencies for new exploration missions of these moons.

Cassini Doppler data analysis and orbit determination

to perform orbit determination analises for the Cassini spacecraft during fly-bys of Saturn's moon Enceladus, aimed to the development of an internal structure model. Enceladus is one of the only four celestial bodies (including Earth) in the Solar System with a confirmed active volcanism: one of the most important discoveries of Cassini is the observation of liquid water plumes ejected from the south pole of Enceladus. A deeper understanding of the geological mechanisms fueling this phenomenon is of upmost importance in the search for potential habitable worlds outside the Earth.

Cassini Doppler data analysis and orbit determination

The aim is to perform orbit determination analyses for the Cassini spacecraft during fly-bys of Saturn's moon Titan, focusing in particular to the estimation of the tidal periodic deformations along the orbit. Tidal deformations can provide crucial evidence in the search for the speculated global ocean of water beneath the moon crust. Such a massive water reservoir provides an environment with potential to harbor extraterrestrial life.

Modeling of light-curve observables for the Hera mission

Light-curves observables (i.e. time-varying magnitude of radiation flux received by an observer) are typically used to determine periods of rotation and/or revolution of target celestial bodies, provided a rough knowledge of their shape and size is available. This thesis aims to perform a detailed literature review of the mathematical models required to compute the light-curves for a target body and to implement these tools via Python (or C++) codes. The candidate will then apply these tools for the estimation of some key physical parameters of the binary asteroid system Didymos (target of the Hera mission), comparing the obtained results with those in the literature.

Uploaded: 24 Feb 2023/RLM