EPEC Profiles – Melissa Mirino
In this new series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.
Melissa Mirino is the current Chair of the Europlanet Early Career Network.
Melissa Mirino is currently a Postdoctoral researcher at University of Padova, in Italy, where she started to be involved with the ESA-JAXA BepiColombo mission in 2022 by collaborating with the team of SIMBIO-SYS instrument and the BepiColombo Surface and Composition Working Group. Her current project is focused on characterising the different aspects of the candidate sources of later volcanism by studying the variation in tectonic regime linked to formation and later-reactivation of basins structures.
She obtained her PhD in the field of planetary science at the Open University (UK). For her doctoral dissertation, she studied ancient river systems on Mars called inverted channels.
Since she was an undergraduate student at the University of Rome 3, Melissa’s main research interests have focused on the application of remote sensing in the geological study of rocky bodies in the Solar System. After pursuing her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Geology, she took up many opportunities to study abroad, winning several scholarships and travel grants. As a result, she has collaborated with local and international research institutes and universities to develop projects in the field of planetary science.
Melissa has worked with several kinds of datasets from the ESA Mars-Express, NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and NASA Dawn missions, analysing features on Mars, Vesta and Ceres in collaboration with the Italian institute INAF-IAPS and Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany. In 2017 she took part in an internship at the European Space Agency (ESA/ESTEC) to work with both radar and spectral data from the North Polar Cap on Mars.
Melissa has also collaborated in international projects related to:
- Astronaut Analogue Simulations (in collaboration with ESA, the Space Generation Advisory Council and Lunares).
- A stratospheric balloon project (promoted by the International Space University and the University of South Australia)
- Rover trials (as part of the OU team and Exo-fit simulation in support of the Exo-Mars rover mission).
Melissa has a personal interest in inspiring the next generation to pursue careers in science. As an undergraduate student she worked in a museum and planetarium located in Rome (Museo Geopaleontologico Ardito Desio, Italy) and in Trento (MuSe, Museo delle scienze, Italy) to engage students with topics related to geology and astronomy. She worked as PhD tutor for the Brilliant Club, an award-winning charity that works with schools and universities across the UK to increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to leading universities. As a PhD tutor, she developed and delivered tutorials about planetary geology (see Europlanet Inspiring Story-April 2021).
She was part of the organising team for the Space Rendezvous in Rome to organise informal meetings to discuss space-related topics with space enthusiasts (see Europlanet Inspiring Story – July 2019). She also acted as Co-Chair of the Communications Working Group (from 2018 to 2023). Currently, she is supporting EPEC’s activities as the Chair of the Europlanet Early Career Network.
More info about Melissa Mirino: https://it.linkedin.com/in/melissa-mirino-616730121
If you are an Early Career member of the Europlanet Society and would like to be featured in an EPEC Profile, find out more about how to submit your profile.