The 2nd Annual John S. MacDonald Outer Space Lecture was hosted on September 24, 2023 at the Cecil Green Park House, UBC. Our guest speaker was Jan Chodas, former Director for Planetary Science at NASA. The event was moderated by Dr. Tanya Harrison, planetary scientist and fellow of the Outer Space Institute (OSI). The lecture and Q&A centred on Jan’s time at JPL, where she held both technical and management positions during her 40-year career there. Jan discusses the challenges and breakthroughs on both the technical and management side of science missions that she oversaw, including Juno, which remains in orbit about Jupiter, and the Europa Clipper, a mission to the Jovian moon (launch 2024). This event was sponsored by the Outer Space Institute (OSI) and MDA Space.
A nerd, a scientist, an actor, and a planetary scientist review and react to the first episode of “Star Trek Prodigy” on Netflix. Watch the First is Falling Tower’s new podcast, where we watch, review, and share our reaction to the first (pilot) episode of our favorite and your favorite television shows. Star Trek Prodigy is now on Netflix, as of Christmas, 2023.
From the Cold War space race and humanity’s first steps on the moon to science fiction and the Star Trek frenzy, space travel has transcended contemporary history books and pop culture. But today, it seems more relevant than ever. As we stand on the precipice of irreversible climate change, continuous war, and energy crisis, space travel and the possibility of inhabiting new planets seem to many as a necessary step forward for humanity. For others, space travel holds the risks of serving as luxury tourism for the elites as well as a competitive playground for the world’s commercial giants. What are the prospects and implications of space travel and how will it affect us all? The SNF Dialogues discuss with Dr. Tanya Harrison, planetary scientist, Mars expert, and Co-founder/Director of the Earth and Planetary Institute of Canada, seeking answers to the above questions.
Mars looms large in the scientific imagination, as well as in fiction. Of all the worlds of the solar system, it’s the only one Earth-like enough for exploration with Earth-like tools: Its atmosphere is thin and transparent, its surface is dry and cold, and it’s close enough for regular study. From telescope eyepieces, we’ve probed the Red Planet for centuries. And over the past 50 years, we’ve even sent instruments for a closer look.
However, in geological terms, that’s just a sliver of time. Mars’s deep history remains a mystery.
At the second Annual John S. MacDonald Outer Space Lecture on September 18, UBC welcomed an acclaimed Canadian-born NASA researcher to discuss her decades-long career at the forefront of space exploration.
Jan Chodas is a NASA icon. She’s enjoyed a successful 40-year career at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and a stint as the Director of Planetary Science before retiring this year. Her leadership as project manager was integral to several NASA projects, including the Juno mission to Jupiter and the Europa Clipper mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa.
The Outer Space Institute welcomed her to UBC with space tech company MDA.
Tanya Harrison, a fellow Canadian astrophysicist and Outer Space Institute fellow, moderated the talk as Chodas reflected on her out-of-this-world career, shared her hopes for the future and answered audience member’s burning questions about the great beyond
Read more: UBC welcomes former NASA Director of Planetary Science Jan Chodas by Sophia Russo
In the era of AI, connecting people with your message through writing needs to be more than just spewing Google-able facts. This talk will go over how sharing your personal story will help you to attract and retain loyal readers to make them want to read more from you through storytelling of my own experience as a scientist and science communicator. Through getting personal, you can build a reader base that will keep coming back for more, while building resiliency in your work against the threat of AI-generated content.
Follow Tanya Harrison on Medium: https://medium.com/@tanyaofmars
Last weekend, over 10,000 of you came together to celebrate the power of human storytelling. Here are a few highlights.
We just hosted our first-ever virtual conference: Medium Day.
Like Medium itself, the day was full of stories worth telling and listening to. Authors shared authentic, personal points of view. Publication editors gathered their communities for inspiration and collaboration. Readers and writers learned about everything from humor writing to software development to cartooning to space exploration. Illustrators drew live cartoons. Scientists shared original research. Entrepreneurs offered practical wisdom. And so much more.
Most of all, Medium Day was a celebration of the communities you all have built with each other. In the words of writer Amy Sea, “My initial takeaway from Medium Day was we’re storytellers above everything else, but we’re also a community. The only way we can get better is to honor that.”
Read more: A huge thank you to everyone who showed up for Medium Day by Medium Staff
A Martian Environmentalist (Dr. Tanya Harrison, aka “Tanya of Mars”) and Earth Scientist (Dr. Raha Hakimdavar, formerly of NASA) will come together to delve into the connection between space exploration and Earth’s climate crisis. This session will reveal how exploring Mars and developing the technology required for humans to survive there can revolutionize our efforts in tackling climate change here on Earth, providing a unique perspective on the positive influence of space exploration and how investing in space science can lead us toward crucial breakthroughs in climate change adaptation and mitigation and creating a more environmentally sustainable society.
Vote for this fireside chat to appear at SXSW 2024 here: https://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/143992
New York, NY (February , 2023) — The Explorers Club today announced geologist, author, and Mars mission operation specialist Tanya Harrison, as one of its 50 People Changing the World That the World Needs to Know About, a group of scientists, educators and conservationists whose work will unlock the secrets of the oceans, advance conservation efforts, protect rare and endangered species, and take us further into space. Link to the full List of EC50 2023 members
Dr. Harrison has worked as a scientist and mission operations specialist on multiple NASA missions to Mars, including the Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance rovers, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Bridging the worlds of Mars and Earth, as well as academia and industry, she currently works as the Director of Science for Impact at Planet Labs, and was previously the Director of Research for Arizona State University’s NewSpace Initiative.
As a highly respected expert in the field, Tanya has made numerous TV appearances, including on National Geographic, CTV, and Al Jazeera English, and has written on space-related topics for outlets such as Astronomy magazine. She has also served as an author and editor on multiple Mars-related academic books. Her first non-academic book, For All Humankind, made the #1 release on Amazon’s Aeronautics and Astronautics book list. Committed to fostering the next generation in space, Tanya is active in many mentorships, education, and outreach initiatives and she serves on the Board of Advisors for Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), and co-founded the Zed Factor Fellowship to increase diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in aerospace.
The Explorers Club 50 (EC50) was established in 2020 to amplify the communication of science so that it is more inclusive and represents the many diverse voices in the global scientific community.
“We’re hoping to find or inspire the next Buzz Aldrin, Jane Goodall, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, or Kathy Sullivan. We see our EC50 members as being the next generation of individuals who will take us further into space, conserve our earth and oceans, and protect at-risk species worldwide,” said Richard Garriott de Cayeux, president of The Explorers Club. “At a time where science is often under attack, we need to ensure that this next generation of scientists and educators are given as many platforms and resources as possible to conduct and promote their work.”
The EC50 winners will receive membership in The Explorers Club, access to the Club’s worldwide network of explorers, will be promoted in a special Explorers Club’s EC50 Publication, lecture opportunities and more. The Explorers Club also allocates staff and resources to help promote and market past and present EC50 members, showcasing their achievements.
“These are individuals that have accomplished the extraordinary but are not yet household names, but that’s going to change. They are the future of exploration, and the world needs to know about them and their work.” said Richard Wiese, President Emeritus of The Explorers Club and founder of the EC50 Program. “This Explorers Club initiative is designed to reflect the diversity of both the individual and their accomplishments, and to bring the awardees together amplifying their voices through shared knowledge and experience.”
About The Explorers Club:
Since its inception in 1904, members of the Club have traversed the earth, the seas, the skies, and even the moon, on expeditions. First to the North Pole, first to the South Pole, first to the summit of Mount Everest, first to the deepest point in the ocean and first to the surface of the moon – all accomplished by Explorers Club Members. Notable members include Teddy Roosevelt, Neil Armstrong, Jane Goodall, Edmund Hillary, John Glenn, Sally Ride, Bob Ballard, and more. https://www.explorers.org/
For more information contact:
# # #
Dr. Tanya Harrison, aka @TanyaOfMars a bona fide former NASA Scientist and martian geomorphologist, answers your burning questions about our cold, red neighbor planet. Is that dust storm for real? How well did Ridley Scott represent those gullies? What about water?
We discuss Dr. Tanya’s groundbreaking work and this amazing movie.
Aired on WRIR: 11/18/21
Released in 2015 by 20th century fox, The Martian was directed by none other than Ridley Scott. Adapted by Drew Goddard from the book by Andy Weir, it stars Matt Damon as botanist Mark Watney, one of 6 intrepid astronauts collecting samples from the surface of the red planet.
Listen on Apple Podcasts: “The Martian” (2015) feat. TANYA OF MARS, Dr. Tanya Harrison (NASA, Planet Labs) by They Came From Outer Space
20 years ago today on on June 10, 2003, NASA’s Spirit rover lifted off from Cape Canaveral and began its 7-month journey to Mars. It left Earth one month before its twin, Opportunity as part of the collective “Mars Exploration Rovers” mission. At that time, only one rover had successfully operated on the surface of Mars*—the microwave-sized Sojourner, which arrived in 1997 onboard the Pathfinder lander. This landing was just months after the arrival of NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft in orbit. Beyond these two missions however, the 1990s/early 2000s weren’t kind to humanity’s attempts to get to the Red Planet.
Read more: The Legacy of Spirit: 5 Major Contributions to Mars Science by Tanya Harrison