Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) • Director of Research Exceptional Class CNRS

Athena Coustenis is an Astrophysicist, Director of Research, with the French National Centre for Scientific Research, working at Paris Observatory in Meudon. She specializes in space exploration and works in the field of Planetology. Her research is devoted to the investigation of planetary atmospheres and surfaces, with emphasis on the outer solar system bodies, in particular icy moons of the giant planets. She also works on the characterisation of exoplanetary atmospheres. She has led many observational campaigns from the ground and contributes to the definition, development and exploitation of space missions, like the recently-ended Cassini-Huygens or the future JUICE and ARIEL missions of the European Space Agency and to the exploitation of the acquired data.

Her expertise in space missions has allowed her to Chair or to participate in several advisory groups within ESA and NASA and other European Institutions. A. Coustenis is currently President of the European Space Sciences Committee (ESF/ESSC); Chair of the Human Exploration and Science Advisory Committee (HESAC) of ESA ; Member of ESA’s Space Sciences Advisory Committee (SSAC) and of the Advisory Committee for Earth Observations (ACEO) of ESA; Member of the Space Studies Board (SSB) of the US National Academies of Science; Chair of the COSPAR Panel for Planetary Protection and member of the COSPAR Science Advisory Council; President of the Comité d’Evaluation sur la Recherche et l’Exploration Spatiales (CERES of CNES); Member of the Space Advisory Committee (SAC) of the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB) ; Member of the Outer Solar System Task Group (OSSTG) of the Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN) of IAU; Member of the Working Group on Global Coordination of Ground and Space Astrophysics (WGGCGSA) of the IAU Executive Committee; Vice-President of the EUROPLANET Society.

She has written more than 230 scientific papers. She has first-authored 3 books and several chapters of Encyclopedias, participated in many E/PO activities. She has delivered more than 600 science lectures. She has been recognised with several ESA and NASA Awards and others, in particular with the 2014 Masursky AAS/DPS Award for meritorious service to Planetary Science and the 2019 Al Seiff Memorial Award of the International Planetary Probe Workshop.


International Astronautical Congress 2021

25-29 October 2021

Dubai, United Arab Emirates


International Astronautical Congress 2018

1–5 October 2018

Bremen, Germany