CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall kicked off the meeting with a recap of the rich harvest of successes in the final quarter of the year, accomplished with key contributions from the French scientific community. Last Monday, the InSight mission landed triumphantly on Mars with the French SEIS seismometer that is now set to help scientists significantly advance our understanding of the red planet. On 7 November, MetOp-C was sent into orbit with the Argos and IASI-3 instruments designed to improve weather forecasting. On 29 October, the CFOSat satellite was launched to study with China winds and waves at the surface of the oceans. On 19 October, BepiColombo departed on its journey to gain new insights into Mercury and study its magnetic field and magnetosphere. And on 3 October, the MASCOT rover landed on asteroid Ryugu to analyse its surface composition. He also mentioned the remarkable results of the Microscope mission, now in the process of being de-orbited in line with the requirements of the French Space Operations Act (FSOA).
Other items on the agenda at this meeting of the CPS included the progress of Universe science and Earth science programmes, and recommendations from the CERES space research and exploration committee and the TOSCA Earth, oceanography, land surfaces and atmosphere programme served to conduct a status check on the bedrest campaigns that are working to better understand how astronauts’ bodies respond to long-duration spaceflights.
A full progress report was also given on CNES efforts to tackle climate change, in particular through the Space Climate Observatory (SCO) initiative and its national, European and international ramifications.
CPS Chair Jean-Loup Puget and his colleagues then addressed preparations for the Science Survey Seminar to be held in Le Havre from 8 to 10 October 2019, one of the main events in next year’s calendar for CNES. Jean-Yves Le Gall stressed the fundamental importance of this forward-looking exercise, as shown by the last quarter of accomplishments, as it enables the agency to set its sights beyond the horizon of projects currently underway and prepare for the future.