Patrick Michel

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) • Hera Mission Principal Investigator

Dr. Patrick Michel is an international expert of asteroids born in the famous village Saint-Tropez in France. He is Director or Research (PhD) at CNRS (French Scientific Research National Center) and leads the team TOP (Theories & Observations in Planetology) of the Lagrange laboratory at the Côte d’Azur Observatory (Nice, France). With more than 200 publications in international peer-review journals (including the highlight journals Science and Nature, and their covers), he develops numerical simulations of the impact process between asteroids and of asteroid surface behaviors in conditions that are very different than those on Earth. He is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the space mission Hera, under development at ESA in the Space Safety Program, for launch in 2024 which will contribute to the first test of deflection of a potentially hazardous asteroid with the NASA DART mission by investigating the binary asteroid target and the impact outcome in great details. He is also co-coordinator of the AIDA cooperation in support of both DART and Hera missions. He is co-Investigator of the two asteroid sample return space missions, Hayabusa2 (JAXA) and OSIRIS-REx (NASA). He is co-PI of the CNES-DLR rover onboard the Phobos sample return MMX mission (JAXA) that will be launched in 2024 and Deputy Lead of the Martian Moons Surface Science Working Group. He is also coordinating the NEO-MAPP project funded by the H2020 program of the European Commission (2020-2023), involving 15 laboratories and 2 industries to study asteroid deflection. He is the lead Editor of the book Asteroids IV (University of Arizona Press, 2015), which reviews asteroid knowledge. He is the President of the Near-Earth Object Working Group of the International Astronomical Union and is a member of the Steering Committee of the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN). He was awarded the NASA Silver Achievement Medal, the Carl Sagan Medal by the Division of Planetary Science of the American Astronomical Society for Excellence in Public Communication in Planetary Science, the Prize Paolo Farinella 2013 for his contribution to our understanding of the collisional process, the Prize Young Researcher of the French Society of Astronomy and Astrophysics (SF2A), the Medal of Excellence of Université Côte d’Azur and the asteroid (7561) Patrickmichel is named after him.