The 2024 David Bates Medal is awarded to Franck Montmessin for his key contributions to understanding the water cycle on Mars and his innovative instrumental development work.
Franck Montmessin, Research Director at the Laboratoire Atmosphères, Observations Spatiales from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Université Versailles-Saint-Quentin, France, has made groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of the water cycle on Mars and demonstrated his mastery of space instrumentation, contributing to an impressive development of the field.
Franck Montmessin’s research has been pivotal in unraveling the complexities of the Martian water cycle, shedding light on the planet’s climate and geological history. His work has spanned two decades and includes extensive publications. Through his research, he has provided critical insights into Mars’ atmospheric dynamics, particularly in relation to the water cycle. In addition to his modelling and observational research, Franck Montmessin has played a central role in instrumental development for space missions. Notably, as the Principal Investigator of the SPICAM (SPectroscopy for the Investigation of the Characteristics of the Atmosphere of Mars) instrument onboard Mars Express, his leadership has led to groundbreaking discoveries, such as the detection of carbon dioxide clouds in Mars’ mesosphere. His work on instruments like the Atmospheric Chemistry Suite (ACS) onboard the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has contributed unique data on the Martian atmosphere, including methane levels and the presence of chlorine compounds. Franck Montmessin’s expertise has extended beyond Mars, encompassing contributions to other planets, such as Venus and Earth.
A highly sought-after collaborator and a respected leader in planetary science, Franck Montmessin’s dedication to advancing our knowledge of planetary atmospheres is undeniable. His contributions have expanded the horizons of planetary science, paving the way for future discoveries.
In conclusion, Franck Montmessin’s pioneering contributions to unraveling the Martian water cycle and his innovative instrumental development work exemplify excellence in planetary science. His profound impact on the field speaks for itself, and as such, Franck Montmessin is highly deserving of the 2024 David Bates medal.