Sebastien Besse

BepiColombo Operation Scientist


Main Research Fields

Planetary scientist at the European Space Agency at ESAC, I am supporting the scientific operations of the BepiColombo mission. I am doing active research on the Moon's and Mercury's surfaces, as well as cometary surfaces. As a geologist/spectroscopist, I am interested in ROCKS although ices and volatiles are pretty cool as well!

  • what are their current characteristics: What is the mineralogical composition, what are the grains/rocks arrangement ?
  • how do they evolve: How has the surface that we see today changed, how to account for that in the observations we have ?
  • how do they form: How do we merge the characteristics we see today with our best guess for the surface evolution to understand the initial formation conditions ?

One of the focal point of all those questions is Volcanism. I study visible to near infrared volcanism to decipher its composition, properties, characteristics, to eventually understand how we get to the point we see today.
Another aspect that help you to understand how we get to the point we see today is Morphology. And If you look at morphology of comets, you can, maybe, see morphologies that are characteristics of the formation of the Solar System.


  • Planetary surfaces
  • Moon
  • Mercury
  • Comets
  • VIS/NIR spectroscopy
  • Mineralogy, volatiles
  • Geomorphology


Ongoing collaborations

  • J. Sunshine, (University of Maryland, USA)
  • Aurelie Guilbert-Lepoutre (Lyon, France)
  • A. Dorresoundiram (LESIA, Paris, France)
  • J-B. Vincent (DLR, Germany)
  • M. Kueppers (ESAC, Spain)
  • J. Benkhoff (ESTEC, Netherlands)
  • R. Klima, N. Izenberg (APL, USA)
  • Joern Helbert, Alessandro Maturilli (DLR, Germnay)
  • Bernard Charlier (Liege, Belgium)


Check my last paper on Volcanism on Mercury

Spectral Properties and Physical Extent of Pyroclastic Deposits on Mercury: Variability Within Selected Deposits and Implications for Explosive Volcanism


Other publications are available at this link



Project/mission at ESA

BepiColombo Science Operation Scientist

My website for more information