Book presentation with Dr Paolo Ferri: “The challenges of Mars – Stories of exploration of a difficult planet”

16.06.2023, 18:30

The physicist, author and guest lecturer in Space Science and Technology presents his new book The challenges of Mars – Stories of exploration of a difficult planet (Raffaello Cortina, 2023).

Since the beginning of the space age, Mars has been the main focus of the Solar system exploration. But it has also been the scene of many spectacular failures. The book goes through the history of Martian missions, explaining why Mars, despite being a relatively close and Earth-like planet, represents such a difficult objective, to the extent that half of the space missions sent to it have failed. The stories are told from the point of view of the author, who has experienced firsthand the flight operations of all European missions to Mars. Through many personal anecdotes, the reader is exposed to the emotions, successes and failures experienced by Ferri and his team in the control rooms on Earth, from which the space probes are piloted when flying hundreds of millions of kilometers away. In the final chapter the book looks at the future, to the missions to Mars already planned for the next few years, and to the dream of sending one day, perhaps within a few decades, the first humans to the surface of the red planet.

Dr Paolo Ferri is a physicist who worked for almost forty years for the European Space Agency (ESA) in Darmstadt. He headed the Agency’s Mission Operations Department and was responsible for various space missions, including Rosetta, Mars Express and ExoMars. Currently he deals with training and education activities and collaborates as a guest lecturer with the Technische Universität Dresden and the Julius Maximilian Universität in Würzburg. He was the first Italian to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the International Astronautical Federation and in 2020 he received the honor of Cavaliere of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. This is his third book for the general public, after The Comet Hunter. Journal of an Adventure in Outer Space (2020) and The Dark Side of the Sun. The space exploration of our star (2022), both published in Italy by Laterza.

Moderation: Isabella Bufacchi (IlSole24Ore) – Michele Santoriello (Culture office Italian Consulate General in Frankfurt)

The event is free of charge and will be held in English and Italian.

The book presentation by Dr Paolo Ferri takes place in cooperation with the Italian Consulate General in Frankfurt and is part of the Galileo Galilei Science & Space Festival event series.

Please register for the event via email francoforte.culturale(at) with the booking code “Ferri02”.

The number of participants is limited.