Andrea Milani (1948-2018)
Andrea Milani, professor of mathematics at Pisa University, passed away unexpectedly last Wednesday while cycling near Pisa. With his deep knowledge and understanding on the Solar System dynamics, Andrea was a pioneer in a discipline started by him and a few others at the end of the past century: asteroid impact monitoring. His precursor activities at the end of the 1990s and beginning of this century were fundamental in establishing the first automated system to compute the probabilities that an asteroid could impact the Earth in the future. That information was made publicly available though the well known NEODyS service at the University of Pisa.
In line with those activities, he and some colleagues founded the SpaceDyS company in 2011, producing software for orbit determination and impact monitoring.
Shortly afterwards, Andrea promoted the creation at ESA of a centre to monitor NEOs, resulting in what today is our NEO Coordination Centre.
In the last 20 years, he has been a passionate advocate of the Planetary Defence discipline, in order to ensure that our society is prepared to face the threat posed by the near-Earth asteroids.
Sadly, our NEO community has certainly lost one of its key players.