Dr. Tanya Harrison

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: https://medium.com/@tanyaofmars

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: https://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/143992

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. https://www.explorers.org/

For more information contact:

Joe Orlando

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“The Martian” (2015) feat. TANYA OF MARS, Dr. Tanya Harrison (They Came From Outer Space Podcast)

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

The Legacy of Spirit: 5 Major Contributions to Mars Science (Medium)

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

Starts With A Bang Podcast #93 – Mars from the ground (Big Think)

One of the most exciting possibilities for life beyond Earth doesn’t require us going very far. While Mercury and the Moon have no atmosphere and Venus is an inferno-esque hellscape, Mars offers a tantalizing possibility for a new line of life, independent of Earth, here in our Solar System. With the same raw ingredients and more than a billion years of a watery, wet past, Mars could have had, or might even still have today, some form of life on its surface.

Part of the reason Mars is so exciting for us is that we’ve been there: at least, robotically, with a series of orbiters, landers, and even rovers. We’ve seen and learned so much about the red planet, including some tantalizing hints of what might be biological activity. But there’s so much more to learn, and we’re reaching the limits of what we can accomplish without having human beings walk on the Martian surface.

On this episode of the Starts With A Bang podcast, we’re joined by Mars expert Dr. Tanya Harrison, who’s worked on three generations of Mars Rovers and is a strong advocate for a variety of future missions to Mars. Join us for this fascinating conversation where she lays out what we know, what remains uncertain, and what we’ll need to do if we want to take those next, critical steps. (And, as a bonus, she corrects one or two of my misconceptions along the way!)

Read more: Starts With A Bang Podcast #93 – Mars from the ground by Ethan Siegel

SpaceX rocket explosion illustrates Elon Musk’s ‘successful failure’ formula (Reuters)

LOS ANGELES, April 20 (Reuters) – The spectacular explosion of SpaceX’s new Starship rocket minutes after it soared off its launch pad on a first flight test is the latest vivid illustration of a “successful failure” business formula that serves Elon Musk’s company well, experts said on Thursday.

Rather than seeing the fiery disintegration of Musk’s colossal, next-generation Starship system as a setback, experts said the dramatic loss of the rocket ship would help accelerate development of the vehicle.

Planetary scientist Tanya Harrison, a fellow at the University of British Columbia’s Outer Space Institute, said clearing the launch tower and ascending through a critical point known as maximum aerodynamic pressure were major feats on the first flight of such a large, complex launch system.

“It’s part of the testing process,” she said in an interview. “There are a lot of accidents that happen when you’re trying to design a new rocket. The fact that it launched at all made a lot of people really happy.”

She said the risks of a single flight test were small in comparison to the ambitious gains at stake.

“This is the biggest rocket that humanity has tried to build,” she said, adding that it is designed to carry “orders of magnitude” more cargo and people to and from deep space than any existing spacecraft.

Whereas NASA is working on a mission to retrieve samples of Martian soil and minerals measured in kilograms being collected by the Mars Perseverance rover, Starship will carry back many tons of rock, as well transport dozens of astronauts and entire lab facilities to and from the moon and Mars, Harrison said.

Read more: SpaceX rocket explosion illustrates Elon Musk’s ‘successful failure’ formula by Steve Gorman and Arlene Eiras

Mega rocket Starship could enable new types of astrophysics (Nature)

SpaceX’s massive Starship vehicle, meant to provide a way for astronauts to visit the Moon and Mars, is preparing to launch for the first time. If successful, the flight will make Starship the most powerful rocket ever to leave Earth’s surface. No people will be on board for the first full test, which was scheduled for 17 April but has been delayed for at least 48 hours because of a frozen pressure valve.

Scientists say that as well as ferrying astronauts into deep space, Starship could enable new types of astrophysics and planetary science — because it can launch scientific payloads, such as telescopes and interplanetary spacecraft that are heavier than other space vehicles can manage.

Scientific missions using Starship could include robotic spacecraft to map ice beneath the Martian surface as a resource for future explorers, or instruments that are designed to search for signs of life on Mars, says Jennifer Heldmann, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. “We could do those quickly and take advantage of Starship’s capabilities,” she says.

Starship could also pull off endeavours such as bringing rocks back from Mars, which NASA and the European Space Agency are currently planning to do with several spacecraft in a complex system over many years. “Starship could enable you to do that in one go,” says Tanya Harrison, a planetary scientist at the Outer Space Institute who is based in Seattle, Washington. “It’s really a whole new way of being able to think about the possibilities of what you could do on Mars.”

Read more: Mega rocket Starship could enable new types of astrophysics by Alexandra Witza

Exploring the Salty Secrets of Mars (Tidal Salt)

The possibility of life on other planets has been a subject of fascination for centuries. As we explore the universe and search for signs of life on other planets, the question of whether there is sea salt on Mars has become an intriguing topic for researchers.

Sea salt is a common substance found on Earth, and it plays a significant role in our lives. It is used in food preparation, as a preservative, and as a key ingredient in many skincare products. But is there sea salt on Mars?

Some researchers believe that there may be traces of sea salt on Mars, based on data from the Curiosity rover. In 2013, Curiosity discovered evidence of a dry lakebed on the surface of Mars that contained deposits of salts, including calcium sulfate and sodium chloride. While these salts are not the same as the sea salt found on Earth, they are an indication that there may be a history of water on Mars.

To gain more insight into the presence of sea salt on Mars, we reached out to Dr. Tanya Harrison, a planetary scientist and expert in Martian geology.

Read more: Exploring the Salty Secrets of Mars: Insights from Planetary Scientist Dr. Tanya Harrison by Tidal Salt