Photo of the 2017 Great American Eclipse from an Alaska Airlines flight, taken by Tanya Harrison

Airlines Operating Special Solar Eclipse Flights To Give Passengers a 30,000-Foot View of Phenomenon (Airline Geeks)

Some airlines are offering special flights to see April’s total solar eclipse, giving passengers a unique opportunity to witness the astronomical event from 30,000 feet.

The April 8 eclipse — when the moon passes between the Earth and sun, blocking out the sun’s rays — will pass over North America, and those in the right place will spend about 4-and-a-half minutes under the cloak of darkness. A lucky few will have the opportunity to observe the eclipse’s totality for longer as they soar through the sky chasing the early night.

Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines are operating flights that will follow the eclipse’s path of totality in America. The Delta flight was so popular among astronomy enthusiasts that the flights sold out in 24 hours, prompting the airline to add a second. This next total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States won’t occur until 2044.


Alaska Airlines in 2017 operated a special invitation-only flight that gave passengers an unreal look at the eclipse. Although the airline isn’t offering flights that chase this year’s eclipse, it’s offering flights to destinations that fall in the eclipse’s path of totality to get space nuts in the right place.

Tanya Harrison, a planetary scientist who works at the Earth and Planetary Institute of Canada, was one of the experts on the 2017 flight who took in the eclipse from the skies. She has also witnessed a nearly total eclipse in Arizona and said viewing it from an airplane “was hands down probably the coolest thing I’ve ever gotten to do, including working on Mars Rovers.”

“There’s something about space that fascinates everyone,” she said. “The sky is a shared experience. We can all look up and see what’s going on.”

Read more: Airlines Operating Special Solar Eclipse Flights To Give Passengers a 30,000-Foot View of Phenomenon by Brinley Hineman

SpaceBound 2023: Earth Observation Commercial Opportunities (CPAC)

Space Canada hosts its annual conference in Ottawa, where leaders in the space industry gather to discuss how to strengthen the Canadian space sector. James Slifierz (Co-Founder and CEO of SkyWatch), Michael Carter (chief technology officer of SpaceAlpha), Tanya Harrison (CEO and director of the Earth and Planetary Institute of Canada) and Nick Kellett (founder and CEO of Deploy Solutions) discuss the commercial opportunities with satellite earth observation data. Corinne Havard moderates the panel.

Watch here: SpaceBound 2023: Earth Observation Commercial Opportunities by CPAC

CultureLab: What would life on Mars be like? The science behind TV series For All Mankind (NewScientist)

Freezing temperatures, dust storms, radiation, marsquakes – living on Mars right now would be hellish. And getting there remains a multi-year journey. But what if we could make it habitable? Could we one day build settlements on the Red Planet or send human scientists to search for life?

That’s the premise of the TV series For All Mankind, which explores a future where the space race continued after the moon landing and humanity kept spreading out across space. But in the name of a good story, real science occasionally took the backstage. 

In this episode, TV columnist Bethan Ackerley speaks to NASA Astronaut Garrett Reisman, who was also a consultant on the show, as well as planetary scientist Tanya Harrison who’s worked on multiple NASA missions to Mars. Between them, they explore how far off we really are from living on Mars, what it would take to surmount the remaining challenges – and why it’s still a dream worth pursuing in the real world.

Listen here: CultureLab: What would life on Mars be like? by Bethan Ackerley

2nd Annual John S. MacDonald Outer Space Lecture featuring Jan Chodas (Outer Space Institute Society)

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.

Watch the First “Star Trek Prodigy” with Tanya Harrison & Rico E. Anderson (Falling Tower)

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.

To Infinity and Beyond: Space Travel, Mars and Ethics (SNF Dialogues)

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. 

Listen here: To infinity and beyond: Space Travel, Mars and Ethics by SNF Dialogues (Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou)

Five Martian Mysteries That Have Scientists Scratching Their Heads (AGU Eos)

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.

Read more: Five Martian Mysteries That Have Scientists Scratching Their Heads by Matthew R. Francis

UBC welcomes former NASA Director of Planetary Science Jan Chodas (The Ubyssey)

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

The Perks of Getting Personal (Medium Day 2023)

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:

A Huge Thank You to Everyone Who Showed up for Medium Day (Medium)

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

Solving Earth’s Climate Crisis Through Exploring Mars (SXSW 2024 Panel Picker)

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:

Geologist, NASA Mars Mission Operation Specialist, Tanya Harrison Named to Explorers Club’s “50 Individuals Changing the World” (The Explorer’s Club Press Release)

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.

For more information contact:

Joe Orlando

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