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Karen Meech is an astronomer at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy. Her scientific interests include several areas of cometary science: evolution and aging processes in comets, observations of distant comets, Kuiper belt comets and astrobiology.  Other scientific interests include planetary formation and the search for extra-solar planetary systems, archaeoastronomy and variable stars.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in Physics at Rice University in 1981, and her PhD in planetary astronomy at the MIT in 1987.  Karen has been a Co-Investigator on the NASA Deep Impact mission, in charge of coordinating the world?s observing.  She is playing a similar role for NASA?s EPOXI and StardustNExT Missions. She has been an active member in the international astronomy community and is currently the president of Division III Planetary Systems Sciences of the International Astronomic Union.  Karen is keenly interested in issues related to the origin of water on Earth and habitable planets.  She’s also very active in teaching and outreach. Karen apparently does not know what free time is, but if she had any she very much enjoys camping, hiking, swimming, scuba diving, piano playing and reading (in the hadean epoch of her career she actually practiced some of these things). She is one of the co-organisers of this summer school. For more information check her homepage.


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