IAPS (Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology) is an Instiute within INAF (National Institute for Astrophysics). It is located in the scientific area in Tor Vergata, and can be considered one of the most important italian institution conducting research in astrophysics.
IAPS is born in January 2012 from the merging of two historical Institutes in the roman scientific area: the Institute of Space Astrophysics and Cosmic Physics (Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica, IASF) and the Institute of Physics of Interplanetary Space (Istituto di Fisica dello Spazio Interplanetario, IFSI).Both the Institutes started their activity in the late 60s in the scientific area of Frascati: IASF was initially funded by Livio Gratton and was named “Laboratorio di Astrofisica Spaziale” (“Space Astrophysics Laboratory”), while IFSI was created by Edoardo Amaldi, following the suggestion by Bruno Rossi about a “Research and technology laboratory for interplanetary plasma studies” (“Laboratorio di ricerca e tecnologia per lo studio del plasma interplanetario”). The Institutes, subsequently incorporated to CNR, were moved to the Tor Vergata research area in 1998, and in 2005 converged in INAF, the national institution merging together italian observatories and institutes conducting scientific research in astrophysics.
IAPS coordinates the activity of about 200 researchers and is one of the leading actors in the international astrophysical research scene, thanks to the fruitful collaboration with the international space agencies (NASA, ESA, ASI, JAXA, etc) and other institutions within the field, boht national and international.
The main scientific activities carried out by IAPS are: planning and realizing space missions in the field of relativisitic astrophysics and solar system exploration; theoretical and experimental research; advanced technology and intrument development; observations from the Earth. Among the scientific objectives of IAPS is particularly relevant the understanding of the structure of the Universe, from its birth through its evolution, by means of the study of celestial bodies and their emission in several bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. Great attention is given to the study of the Solar System, from planets formation and evolution to relations between our planet and the Sun, the study of star formation, to the tests of Relativity and Universal Gravitation law of motion.