ESSC Members

Michel Viso

Senior scientific advisor at Innovaxiom

Research Interests

Astrobiology, Exobiology

MICHEL VISO retired from CNES mid 2021 as well as from the other institutions of which he was an employee. He is currently senior scientific advisor at Innovaxiom, a company specialised in scientific and technical communication. He was trained as a veterinarian and practiced this profession for a few years. He joined CNES in 1985 after being selected as a French astronaut by CNES.

Then he is dedicated to the preparation of the Rhesus project in cooperation with NASA. He is “Project scientist” for France and with his NASA counterpart, he organizes the scientific activities of the thirty French and American scientific teams involved. The whole project was to carry out three successive flights aboard the space shuttle. In 1993, due to the reorganization of its objectives, NASA suspended and then cancelled the project. Michel Viso became programme scientist of space experiments in animal physiology or biology. Proposed by French scientists, space experiments were developed in cooperation with the United States. Russia or other European or international partners. It was during this period that the “Fertile” instruments, the Aquarius, IBIS, ICE first etc. experiments were conducted. He participated directly in around twenty space experiments. Michel Viso did not however have the opportunity to carry out a space flight himself.

In 1999 he was oriented towards planetary protection in preparation for the Mars sample return program then conducted bilaterally between France and the USA. In 2004, he became program manager for the Exobiology theme at CNES. In this capacity, he is involved in the European Exomars project, experiments on board the International Space Station (ISS) and future solar system exploration missions such as Mars sample return projects in the 2030s. He supervises and organises the French experiments or contributions carried out in cooperation with NASA, JAXA, CNSA etc. He was deeply involved, among others, in the French contributions to Mars 2020, Dragonfly. He is also responsible for space programs for research and study of exoplanets including international or ESA space missions (JWST, PLATO, ARIEL…). From 1998 until his departure from CNES, he acted as French participant and then as a representative of France in international bodies COSPAR, IMEWG, ESA PPWG…) or partner agencies institutions dealing with planetary protection.

He has contributed numerous articles in connection with the programs he has overseen. He is the originator and co-editor of the Encyclopaedia of Astrobiology (Springer). He is currently preparing as co-editor a book on Martian exploration in the coming decades.