Welcome to Luciano Iess's Homepage

On the left: the BepiColombo spacecraft, the MORE - Mercury Orbiter Radioscience Experiment - logo and team. BepiColombo is an ESA mission dedicated to the exploratcion of Mercury. Launch: 2014.



**** Space Missions and Systems 2018/2019 - Challenge

The text will be published on Friday 26 April at 10:00


NEW: Fellowship opportunities in North America for master degree students (8/4/2019):



NEW: Work and stage opportunities - see link on the left. (27/3/2019). 


**** Space Missions and Systems 2018/2019 - Homework #1:


Click here to download the test (zip file). 

The solution (a pdf file) and the source code must be emailed by Wednesday  3 April 23:59:59 UTC to luciano.iess@uniroma1.it  AND gael.cascioli@uniroma1.it AND daniele.durante@uniroma1.it.  


Suggestions and remarks: Be concise and go right to the point. Plots convey information very effectively. Including a working source code is mandatory. This is a pass/fail test.

Should you need clarifications, send me an email. I will answer only through the website.


1) As explained on the side, the angle lambda_0 shown in the figure is arbitrary (generic).

2) How shall I treat the lack of continuity in the data (multiple emails)? Answer: Nobody can expect that tracking data are continuous in a real situation. Address the lack of continuity to the best of your knowledge.

3) Only upper limits are given on range and range rate (differently from previous homeworks). Answer: This should not be a problem, as we discussed many time how to find the real measurement accuracy and use it. (Obviously, homeworks are different from each other.)

4) "Compute and plot the orbital energy of the spacecraft orbit over time". We have not specified a time interval. It's your choice. Make it interesting!  



Please read the Exams section (link on the left) for important changes in the Multiple Choice Test (26 February 2018)







**** Homework #2 (2017/2018) and admission to the exam in easy mode

UPDATED LIST of students admitted to the exam in "easy mode".

Note: Student with ID 1452735 is admitted in easy mode. He was erroneously missing from the list. 

Students whose name is associated with a (*) must contact the teacher. They will need to take the multiple choice test prior to the oral exam.



**** Space Missions and Systems 2017/2018 - Homework #1:

Results (Pass/Fail - pdf file)  (updated 19 April 00:05) 

Download an example of a well written solution report.

You find here the matrices H and Htilde for range (first four columns) and range rate observables (last four columns). The structure of the files is therefore:

[time, drho/dx, drho/dy, drho/du, drho/dv, drhodot/dx, drhodot/dy, drhodot/du, drhodot/dv] 

This may help you spotting the errors in your code.


- A code using Matlab's numerical integrator ODE113 has been posted in the page Class Notes 


*** Plumbing the depth of Jupiter's winds 

Here is the link to the recent paper on Nature and some of its echoes in the news:

Iess et al. "Measurement of Jupiter's asymmetric gravity field", Nature, 555, 220-222 (2018)   

Nature Editorial

Nature Research highlights 


International coverage

NASA web site 

Scientific American (really good) 


New York Times 

Los Angeles Times 

Fox News 


America Space 

ABC News - MSN 

The Hindustan Times (India)

IFL Science 


Coverage in Italy


La Repubblica 

Le Scienze 

Il Tempo


Sapienza University of Rome



Challenge 2016-2017: Results

Benedicter 3 pt

Di Stefano 2 pt

Moscianese 2 pt

Cascioli 1 pt

De Grossi 1 pt

Frezza 1 pt

The challenge is considered as a valid replacement for HW#1 for Capozzi, Foschi, Kappers, and Trinca.

Congratulations to all participants! 


*** Short course on Matlab:  Download the full zip file here 

(This is all the material shown in both days).



Luciano Iess: "The Attraction of Gravity" - Jean Dominique Cassini Medal Lecture at the European Geosciences Union - Vienna, April 25, 2017. Video recording



*** New supporting material:

Matlab codes for batch and sequential estimation (spring-mass system) in Class Notes - Supporting Material


*** Second home test 2016 (updated lists!!):


Students admitted to the exam in fast mode


*** Challenge 2016 - Winners 

- Martini: 2 pt

- Cappuccio: 1 pt

Congratulations to all participants! 


*** An interesting link: Cassini behind the scenes


**** Space Missions and Systems

Matlab code for the coherent demodulator





For updated information you may follow me on Twitter (luciano_iess)


*** Seminars at Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications Technology (BITTT):

Seminar 1: Deep Space Navigation Systems: Where Do We Stand?

Seminar 2: The European Delta-DOR Correlator

Seminar 3: BepiColombo, the ESA Mission To Mercury; MORE: Geodesy, Geophysics, Navigation

Seminar 4 and 5: The Scientific Use of Deep Space Tracking Systems; Radio Science in Deep Space Missions

***Tour of Robledo's DNS facilities. The visit to the Robledo and Cebreros tracking complexes was an interesting and profitable experience for all of us. Follow the link to see some photos. 


Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

Rainstorms on Titan