She was born on September 28th 1961, in Athens, Greece. In 1980 she began studying both Physics and English Literature in Paris. She earned a Master Degree in Astrophysics and Space techniques and a second Master Degree in English Literature and in 1989 she earned a PhD in Astrophysics and Space techniques from University 7 in Paris. Later, she completed a Post-Doc at Paris Observatory.
The Greek scientist participated in European Space Agency’s (ESA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) space missions and was heavily involved in the Cassini-Huygens mission as well as into the preparation of future space missions to Jupiter and Saturn planets.
She has been awarded many times by both NASA and ESA. In 1996, she was awarded with the Diploma of Management Research in Astrophysics and Space Technology by the University 7 of Paris, which is the highest academic eminence in France. In 2012, she got the award of «Prix pour la réussite au Feminin»
The American Astronomical society announced that Athena Coustenis will be honoured with the award “Harold Masursky” for her outstanding service to planetary science and exploration. According to the American Astronomical Society, Athena Coustenis has an impressive scientific research career and has made major contributions to planetary science in the spirit of the Harold Masursky award. The prize will be awarded to her in November 2014, in Arizona, USA.
She is President of the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences and of the Planetary Sciences Division of the European Geosciences union and a life member of the Air Academy of Greece. She is also member of the American Astronomical society, she is executive director of Asia Oceania Geosciences Society, French Astronomical union, International Astronomical union and American Geophysical union.
Athena Coustenis is married to Franck Darin and has a daughter, Callista.