Planetary Scientist; Stardust, Hayabusa, Space-Exposed Hardware Curator | NASA
Planetary Scientist; Stardust, Hayabusa, Space-Exposed Hardware Curator
Michael Zolensky is both an astromaterial curator and researcher. He is curator of NASA Stardust, Hayabusa and spacecraft microimpact samples. He works on the characterization of the chemical weathering record of asteroids and their associated meteorites, and the primitive mineralogy of comets. He is currently leading efforts to locate and characterize aqueous fluid inclusions in astromaterials. He has led or participated in successful meteorite recovery expeditions on five continents and developed techniques for characterization of meteoroid and space debris impact features on spacecraft. Zolensky led the effort to characterize the impact record of the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) satellite. He led sample analysis teams for the Stardust comet coma dust return mission, and the Hayabusa asteroid regolith sample return mission. Now he is on the Hayabusa2 mission science team, and the Sample Analysis Working Team for the Mars Moons eXploration Mission. Mike is a past president of The Meteoritical Society and an awardee of that society’s 2020 Leonard Medal. He was the recipient of the 2023 ISAS award from the Institute for Space and Astronautical Science. He is a Fellow of the Meteoritical Society, the Mineralogical Society of America and the American Geophysical Union. Mike is the namesake of minor planet 6030/Zolensky and the mineral Zolenskyite.