Dr. Athena Coustenis
LESIA (Bat. 18)
Observatoire de Meudon
5, place Jules Janssen
92195 Meudon Cedex
Born in Athens, Greece.
French and Greek citizenship.
Professional status: Athena Coustenis is Director of Research 1st class with the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) of France, working at Paris Observatory in Meudon. Her specialty is Planetology (exploration and study of the Solar System from ground-based and space observations). She is currently the Chair of the European Science Foundation Space Science Committee (ESF-ESSC).
1986: Master in Astrophysics and Space techniques, Univ. Paris 7 (P. & M. Curie)
1987: Master in English Literature, Univ. Paris 3 (Nouvelle Sorbonne)
1989: PhD in Astrophysics and Space techniques, Univ. Paris 7 (P. & M. Curie)
1996: Habilitation to Direct Research (HDR), Univ. Paris 6 (P. & M. Curie).
Professional History :
Since Oct. 2013: Director of research, 1st class, CNRS, at LESIA, Paris-Meudon Observatory
Oct. 2008-Oct. 2013 : Director of research, 2nd class, CNRS, at LESIA, Paris-Meudon Observatory
1991-2008: Chargée de recherche (Senior researcher) at Paris-Meudon Observatory
1989-1991: Post-Doc at Paris Observatory
Areas of expertise :
Athena Coustenis is an Astrophysicist with a specialty in space exploration. She 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 like Titan and Enceladus, Saturn’s satellites, and Jupiter’s Ganymede and Europa, objects with high astrobiological potential. She also works on the characterisation of exoplanetary atmospheres. She has led many observational campaigns from the ground using large telescopes (CFHT, UKIRT, VLT, etc) and has used the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) to conduct planetary investigations.
A. Coustenis contributes to the definition and development of space missions and to the exploitation of the acquired data. She is Co-Investigator of three of the instruments (CIRS, HASI, DISR) aboard the Cassini-Huygens space mission to Saturn and Titan, in which she was involved from the beginning of the definition phase. She analyses and interprets the spectro-imaging data recovered since 2004 using her own radiative transfer codes and other analysis tools. She has contributed in or led several other proposals, studies and development phases for space missions to the outer solar system and the exoplanets. Since 2009, she was involved, as European Science co-Lead and then as member of the Science Working Team and Co-I of the JANUS camera, in the JUICE mission to study Ganymede and the Jupiter’s system, currently planned for launch by ESA as the Cosmic Vision programme L1 in 2022. In 2007 and 2008 she was the Lead European Scientist of the Titan/Saturn System Mission (TSSM) studied jointly by ESA and NASA. Her expertise in space missions has allowed her to Chair and to participate in several advisory groups within ESA and NASA and other European Institutions.
Current research management and functions
- President of the European Science Foundation Space Sciences Committee (ESF/ESSC) since Nov. 2014
- Member of the Space Sciences Advisory Committee (SSAC) of ESA since 2010.
- Member of the High-level Science Policy Advisory Committee (HISPAC) of ESA since 2015.
- Member ex-officio of the Human Exploration and Science Advisory Committee (HESAC) of ESA since 2010.
- Member ex-officio of the Space Science Board (SSB) of the US National Academies of Science since 2015.
- Member of the Comité d’Evaluation sur la Recherche et l’Exploration Spatiales (CERES) of CNES since 2010.
- Member ex-officio of the COSPAR European Academies Science Advisory Council since 2015.
- Member of the Space Research Advisory Committee (SRAC) of the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB).
- Member of the Working Group on Global Coordination of Ground and Space Astrophysics (WGGCGSA) of the IAU Executive Committee
- Deputy coordinator of the Horizon 2020 RI EUROPLANET: europlanet-2020-ri.eu
- Member Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA)
- Member Academician of the Royal Academy of Belgium
- Vice-Chair of the IUGG Union Commission on Planetary Sciences (UCPS)
- Member of the Outer Solar System Task Group of the Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN) of IAU.
- Chair of the EGU Jean Dominique Cassini Medal committee and member of the Copernicus medal committee
- Chair of the Honors and Awards committee of the IUGG.
- Councilor of International Society for the Study of the Origins of Life (ISSOL)
- Member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Executive committee of Commission F.
- Faculty in Post-Master courses at Paris University and Ecole Doctorale Ile de France.
- Organiser/convener of Meetings and Planetary sessions in the International colloquia of : EGU (since 2000), IAMAS (since 2003), COSPAR (since 2010), AOGS (since 2004), DPS (since 2006), EPSC (since 2006), Goldschmidt Conference (since 2007) and IPPW (since 2006) and others.
- Head Guest Editor for special issues of Planetary and Space Sciences.
- Member of the Editorial Board of:
- Astronomy & Astrophys. Reviews
- Astronomy Astrophysics Library
- Philosphical Transactions A
- Acta Astronautica
Past research management and functions
- President of the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences (IAMAS) of the IUGG 2011-2015.
- Member of the Science Council of Paris Observatory.
- Chair of ESA’s Solar System and Exploration Working Group (SSEWG), 2010-2013.
- Secretary of the Committee of the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), 2010-2014.
- President of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the European Geophysical Union (EGU), 2009-2013.
- Member of the Executive committee of ISSI (International Space Sciences Institute) 2014-2017.
- President of the International Commission for Planetary Atmospheres and Environment (ICPAE) if IUGG (2003-2011).
- Member-at-large of the Observing Program Committee for the selection of proposals for the ESO/Very Large Telescope (2001-2003) and chair of Panel C (“Stars, planets and ISM”) until 2006.
- Member of the National Committee of CNRS (Jury Section 17) until 2012.
- Member of the Executive committee of the Astrobiology Society
- The NASA Group Achievement Award for the Cassini Programme Huygens Atmospheric Structure Instrument (HASI)
- The NASA Group Achievement Award for the Cassini Program Descent Imager Radiometer Spectrometer (DISR)
- The NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award for the Huygens Atmospheric Structure Instrument (HASI)
- The NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award for the Descent Imager Spectrometer radiometer (DISR)
- The ESA Award for making an outstanding contribution to the Huygens Probe.
- The 2012 Trophy for Feminine Success of the French Mediterranean Association.
- The 2014 Masursky AAS/DPS Award for meritorious service to Planetary Science.
Scientific production and Outreach :
She has written more than 230 scientific papers (H=42), with about 130 in peer-reviewed journals. 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 (more than 150 invited).
Some significant publications :
- Coustenis, A., Bézard, B. 1995. Titan’s Atmosphere from Voyager Infrared Observations: IV. Latitudinal Variations in Temperature and Composition. Icarus 115, 126-140.
- Coustenis, A., Salama, A. Lellouch, E., et al., 1998. Evidence for water vapor in Titan’s atmosphere from ISO/SWS data. Astrophys. 336, L85-L89.
- Coustenis, A., Gendron, E., Lai, O., et al., 2001. Images of Titan at 1.3 and 1.6 microns with adaptive optics at the CFHT. Icarus 154, 501-515.
- Coustenis, A., Salama, A., Schulz, B., et al., 2003. Titan’s atmosphere from ISO mid-infrared spectroscopy. Icarus, 161, 383-403.
- Moutou, C., Coustenis, A., Schneider, J., Queloz, D., Mayor, M., 2003. Search for the HeI absorption feature in the transmission spectrum of HD209458. Astroph. 405, 341-348.
- Coustenis, A., Hirtzig, M., Gendron, E., et al., 2005. Maps of Titan’s surface from 1 to 2.5 micron. Icarus 177, 89-105.
- Coustenis, A., Negrao, A., Salama, A., et al., 2006. Titan’s 3-micron spectral region from ISO high-resolution spectroscopy. Icarus 180, 176-185.
- Negrao, A., Coustenis, A., Lellouch, E., et al., 2006. Titan’s surface albedo from near-infrared CFHT/FTS spectra: modeling dependence on the methane absorption. Space Sci. 54, 1225-1246.
- Coustenis, A., Achterberg, R., Conrath, B., et al., 2007. The composition of Titan’s stratosphere from Cassini/CIRS mid-infrared spectra. Icarus 189, 35-62.
- Coustenis, A., 2007. Titan. In the Encyclopedia of the Solar System, Second Edition, P. R. Weissman, L.-A. McFadden, T.V. Johnson, Eds., Academic Press.
- Coustenis, A., Taylor, F.W., 2008. Titan : Exploring an Earth-like World. World Scientific Press, Singapore.
- Lavvas, P. P., Coustenis, A., Vardavas, I. M., 2008. Coupling photochemistry with haze formation in Titan’s atmosphere. Part II: Results and Validation with Cassini/Huygens data. Space Sci. 56, 67-99.
- Coustenis, A., Atreya, S., Balint, T., and 142 co-authors, 2008. TandEM: Titan and Enceladus mission. Experimental Astronomy, DOI: 10.1007/s10686-008-9103-z.
- Coustenis, A., Jennings, D., Jolly, A., et al., 2008. Detection of C2HD and the D/H ratio on Titan. Icarus 197, 539-548.
- Lebreton, J-P., Coustenis, A., Lunine, J., Raulin, F., Owen, T., Strobel, D., 2009. Results from the Huygens probe on Titan. & Astrophys. Rev., 17, 149-179.
- Coustenis, A., Jennings, D. E., Nixon, et al., 2010. Titan trace gaseous composition from CIRS at the end of the Cassini-Huygens prime mission. Icarus 207, 461-476.
- Bampasidis, G., Coustenis, A., et al., 2012. Thermal and temperature structure variations in Titan’s stratosphere during the Cassini mission. J. 760, Issue 2, article id. 144, 8 pp.
- Tinetti, G., Encrenaz, Th., Coustenis, A., 2013. Spectroscopic characterization of exoplanets. Astrophys. Rev., 21 :63, DOI 10.1007/s00159-013-0063-6.
- Coustenis, A., Encrenaz, Th., 2013. Life beyond Earth: the search for habitable worlds in the Universe. Cambridge Univ. Press (book). ISBN: 9781107026179.
- Grasset, O., Dougherty, M.K., Coustenis, et al., 2013. JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE): an ESA mission to orbit Ganymede and to characterise the Jupiter system. Space Sci. 78, 1-21.
- Solomonidou, A., Coustenis, A., et al., 2015. Temporal variations of Titan’s surface with Cassini/VIMS. Icarus, sous presse, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.05.003.
- Coustenis, A., Jennings, D. E., Achterbergh, R. K., Bampasidis, G., Lavvas, P., Nixon, C. A., Teanby, N. A., Anderson, C. M., Flasar, F. M., 2015. Titan’s temporal evolution in stratospheric trace gases near the poles. Icarus, sous presse, DOI:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.08.027.
- Coustenis, A., 2014. « Titan ». In Encyclopedia of the Solar System, Third Edition, T. Spohn, D. Breuer, & T. V. Johnson (Eds.), Elsevier (pp. 831–849), ISBN 9780124158450.
- Coustenis, A., Raulin, F., 2015. “Titan Astrobiology”. Chapter in the Encyclopedia of Astrobiology, 2nd edition, Gargaud, R. Amils, J. Cernicharo, H. J. Cleaves II, K. Kobayashi, D. Pinti, M. Viso (Eds), Springer, 2550 p., ISBN 978-3-662-44184-8.
- Coustenis, A., 2015. “The Cassini-Huygens mission”. Chapter in the Encyclopedia of Astrobiology, 2nd edition, Gargaud, R. Amils, J. Cernicharo, H. J. Cleaves II, K. Kobayashi, D. Pinti, M. Viso (Eds), Springer, 2550 p., ISBN 978-3-662-44184-8.
- Coustenis, A., Jennings, D. E., Achterbergh, R. K., Bampasidis, G., Lavvas, P., Nixon, C. A., Teanby, N. A., Anderson, C. M., Flasar, F. M., 2016. Titan’s temporal evolution in stratospheric trace gases near the poles. Icarus 270, 409-420
For a full list of publications and communications see: