Karen J. Meech is an astronomer at the Institute for Astronomy in the University of Hawaii. Meech specializes in planetary astronomy, in particular the study of distant comets and their relation to the early solar system. She is also very active in professional-amateur collaboration and science teacher education and was the founder of the Towards Planetary Systems (TOPS) high-school teacher / student outreach program that helps educate science teachers in the Pacific islands. She received her Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences in 1987 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.S. from Rice University in Houston in 1981, and has received several awards in her career, including the Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy in 1988 and the American Astronomical Society's H. C. Urey Prize in 1994. She was a co-investigator on the Deep Impact mission and current co-investigator on the NASA Discovery missions EPOXI and Stardust-NExT. For all three of these missions she has coordinated the world's Earth-based and space-based observing programs. She is the PI of the University of Hawaii NASA Astrobiology Institute lead team which focuses its research on "Water and Habitable Worlds". She is currently the President of the International Astronomical Union Division III (Planetary Systems Science).
Asteroid 4367 Meech, discovered by Schelte J. Bus on March 2, 1981, is named in her honor.