Author Archives: Athena Coustenis

About Athena Coustenis

Athena Coustenis is a planetologist working at Paris-Meudon Observatory and studying the outer solar system, the giant planets, their satellites and the exoplanets. She is also interested in future space exploration of the external solar system."

Good-bye Cassini

I was at Caltech in California on September 15 2017, with 1500 other people, colleagues, friends and their families, to witness the «end-of-mission» event for Cassini. Early in the morning, at 2 am, I got up and drove to the site, ...

My New Book, Life Beyond Earth: The Search for Habitable Worlds in the Universe

By A. Coustenis and Th. Encrenaz Cambridge University Press It all started with Therese and I getting interested in exoplanets, the (still) new field in astronomy dealing with the planets discovered (about 1000 by now) around other stars than our Sun. And ...

GRAVITY : The Journey To And From Earth

I’m sure you’ve all seen the movie GRAVITY, otherwise you’re not really so interest in space or such rocket-freaks as I am. If you haven’t, what follows includes spoilers… Some of my friends who saw it said it was excellent but ...

The Day the Earth Smiled at Saturn

On 19 July 2013, my favorite space mission, Cassini, turned its cameras and took a picture of the Earth, of us, of all of us fitting us in a pixel. This has happened before a couple of times, but this ...

About Athena Coustenis

  Athena Coustenis was born in Athens, Greece and grew up in a garden suburb by the Saronic Bay before moving to France where she earned two Masters degrees and one PhD in Astronomy and Space Techniques (she started another PhD ...

The job of being an astronomer

  How does one become an astronomer?   What is it like in every day life once you’ve finished your studies and managed to get a job as a researcher in this field?   I recently contributed to a short movie by O. Borderie, @tmosphere ...

Funny things happening around Saturn

    We all know by now that Titan is fantastic...  But did you know that other wonderful worlds are evolving around the Lord of the Rings (Kronos, Saturn, whatever you want to call the giant planet). Just a few days ago, my ...

A Montgolfière for 40000 pounds…

    You know by now that I’m very interested in hot-air balloons (or Montgolfière as they were called by reference to their inventors, the Montgolfier brothers who lived during the second half of the 18th century in France). I imagined them ...

Titan exploration into the future

    We have finally recently found out which way things are planned to go for future exploration into the Outer Solar System. The decision from the two agencies (NASA and ESA) was posted on: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/20090218.html   As an extract: “National Aeronautics and Space Administration and European ...

Busy times for Outer solar system exploration

            As you can see from my feature article, I am very much involved in the preparation studies for future space explo-ration of our Solar System. Besides Pluto (recently demoted to a dwarf planet to be studied NASA’s mission New Horizons), ...