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Keiko Messenger

Planetary Scientist

Contact Information

Phone: 281.244.5027
Fax: 281-483-1573

ARES Keiko Messenger


Keiko Nakamura-Messenger is a planetary mission research scientist within the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division at the Johnson Space Center. After receiving her Ph.D. in material science from Kobe University in Japan, Nakamura-Messenger joined the ARES division as a postdoctoral fellow. She is currently the lead of the Sampling Site Science Working Group and the deputy curation lead for NASA's asteroidal sample return mission OSIRIS-REx. She is NASA's sample curator for JAXA's asteroidal sample return mission Hayabusa2. Nakamura-Messenger is the Deputy Principle Investigator for the NASA New Frontiers CAESAR (Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return) mission. She has extensive experience with the curation and analysis of extraterrestrial materials, including Stardust mission samples, interplanetary dust particles and primitive meteorites. She is the lead discoverer of two new minerals, Brownleeite (MnSi) and Wassonite (TiS). Asteroid 7862 Keikonakamura (1981 EE28) is named after her for her work that revealed the existence of organic globules in meteorites, furthering understanding of organic material in the solar system.

Selected Publications

Nakamura-Messenger, K. (2014) Organic Nanoglobules:  The Study of Organic Molecules in Small Primitive Bodies, Now and the Future: III. Journal of Japanese Society for Planetary Sciences, in press (Japanese)

Nakamura-Messenger, K., et al. (2012) Wassonite: A New Titanium Monosulfide Mineral in the Yamato 691 Enstatite Chondrite, American Mineralogist, 97, 807-815.

Nakamura-Messenger, K., et al. (2011) Experimental Aqueous Alteration of Cometary Dust, Meteor. Planet. Sci.46: 843-856.

Nakamura-Messenger, K., et al. (2011) Nanometer-scale Anatomy of Entire Stardust Tracks, Meteor. Planet. Sci. 46: 1033-1051.

Nakamura-Messenger, K., et al. (2009) Brownleeite: a New Manganese Silicide Mineral in an Interplanetary Dust Particle, American Mineralogist 95: 221-228.

Zolensky, M.E., Nakamura-Messenger, K., Fletcher, L.A., See, T.H. (2008) Curation. Spacecraft Recovery and Preliminary Examination for the Stardust Mission: A Perspective From the Curatorial Facility, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 43: 5-21

Zolensky, M.E., et al. (2008) Comparing Wild 2 Particles to Chondrites and IDPs,  Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 43, p.261-272

Nakamura-Messenger, K. and NASA STARDUST Science Team (2007) STARDUST Mission- Microscopic View of Comet dust samples. Journal of Japanese Society for Planetary Sciences 16: 274-278.

Brownlee, D.E. et al. (2006) Comet 81P/Wild 2 Under a Microscope, Science, 314, 1711-1716

Zolensky, M.E., et al. (2006) Mineralogy and Petrology of Comet 81P/Wild 2 Nucleus Samples, Science, 314, 1735-1739.

Flynn, G.J. et al. (2006) Elemental Compositions of Comet 81P/Wild 2 Samples Collected by Stardust, Science, 314, 1731-1735.

Keller, L.P., et al. (2006) Infrared Spectroscopy of Comet 81P/Wild 2 Samples Returned by Stardust, Science, 314, 1728-1731

Horz, F., et al. (2006) Impact Features on Stardust: Implications for Comet 81P/Wild2 Dust, Science, 314, 1716-1719.

McKeegan, K.D., et al. (2006) Isotopic Compositions of Cometary Matter Returned by Stardust, Science, 314, 1724-1728.

Nakamura-Messenger, K., et al. (2006) Organic Globules In the Tagish Lake Meteorite: Remnants of the Protosolar Disk, Science, 314: 1439-1442.