Artist's rendition of NASA's Perseverance rover landing on Mars beneath its skycrane

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Lands on Mars (CBC)

From Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

The United States, the only country to safely put a spacecraft on Mars, saw its ninth successful landing on the planet, which has proven to be the Bermuda Triangle of space exploration.

Since 1960, more than half of the world’s 45 missions there burned up, crashed or otherwise ended in failure, according to information from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

“You’re sending something toward a moving target where both the rover and Mars are moving in different directions, and you’re trying to land inside, basically doing a hole in one,” said Tanya Harrison, director of science strategy with Earth-imaging company Planet Labs.

Read more: NASA’s Perseverance Rover Lands on Mars by Stephanie Dubois

Future Astronauts Could Phone Home with Lasers (Scientific American)

From Scientific American:

Harrison is mapping Mars by satellite and has been frustrated with the limitations of radio transmissions. Radio data currently travel from Mars to Earth with all the speed and fidelity of an early-1990s modem. A satellite orbiting the Red Planet, Harrison says, “can take an order of magnitude more data than it’s able to actually send back. Basically we could be doing a lot more science if we had optical communications.”

Read more: Scientific American: Future Astronauts Could Phone Home with Lasers by Joanna Thompson

(Also available in the March 2021 print edition, available at your local store where magazines are available!)

Book takes Earth-bound look at Moon landing (Western University)

From Western News:

They want you to feel what it was like to be on Earth when humans first touched another world.

Written by Tanya Harrison, PhD’16, and Danny Bednar, PhD’19, For all Humankind tells the story of the Apollo 11 Moon landing through the eyes of eight ‘regular’ observers from around the globe.

An estimated 600 million people worldwide watched the Moon landing live – nearly one-fifth of the planet’s population at the time. To reflect that scope, Harrison and Bednar set out to present the moment as an inclusive event in human history.

“To fully capture the representation of humanity in this historic event, we made the decision to change the wording of this book’s title from the original quote ‘for all mankind’ to ‘for all humankind’ so that everyone reading this will know that space is for them,” Harrison wrote in the preface. “Space is for everyone. We all belong to the universe, and together we can all be awed and inspired by what is possible.”

Read more: Book takes Earth-bound look at Moon landing (Western University)

Women and GIS, Volume 2 (ESRI, Book)

From ESRI:

Thirty inspiring stories of diverse women using geospatial technology to advance science and help resolve important issues facing the world.

Like the first volume, Women and GIS, Volume 2: Stars of Spatial Science tells how 30 women in many different STEM fields applied themselves, overcame obstacles, and used maps, analysis, imagery, and geographic information systems (GIS) to contribute to their professions and the world. Sharing the experiences of their childhoods, the misstarts and challenges they faced, and the lessons they learned, each story is a celebration of a woman’s unique life path and of the perseverance, dedication, and hard work it takes to achieve success. This book includes multicultural women at various points in their careers such as:

  • Barbara Ryan — Dedicated to open spatial data for everyone
  • Cecille Blake — Growing GIS capacity in Jamaica and for North and South American countries
  • Rhiannan Price — Advocating to make a difference for vulnerable populations
  • Veronica Velez — Fighting for social and racial justice in education
  • Tanya Harrison — Bringing Mars to the masses

From planetary scientists to civil engineers, entrepreneurs to urban planners, the strong, passionate women in Women and GIS, Volume 2: Stars of Spatial Science serve as guiding stars to motivate readers who are developing their own life stories and to inspire their potential to meaningful achievements.

The e-book of Women and GIS, Volume 2: Stars of Spatial Science, 9781589485952, $19.99, will be available at most online book retailers.

Read more: Women and GIS, Volume 2 (Book) (ESRI)

Scientists Eulogize the Opportunity Rover’s 15 Years of Service (Discover Magazine)

From Discover Magazine:

“After some 15 prolific years on the martian surface, NASA’s Opportunity rover has gone silent. It took a whopping planet-wide dust storm to fell the solar-powered robot, but, in February, the space agency officially ended the mission. We talked with NASA scientists about their experiences working on the golf-cart-sized rover and what Opportunity meant to them. Their eulogies for the lost rover, originally intended to last just three months on Mars, are below.”

Read more: Scientists Eulogize the Opportunity Rover’s 15 Years of Service (Discover Magazine)

First active fault zone found on Mars (National Geographic)

From National Geographic:

Millions of miles away, a robot geologist stands alone on the dusty surface of Mars, listening for faint seismic echoes in the ground below. Its finger on the red planet’s pulse is sensitive enough to pick up the whoosh of wind, the drone of dust devils, the creak of tectonic cracks, and many other rumbles ricocheting though the planet’s insides.

While most of these signals have been indistinct murmurs, two have stood out loud and clear, allowing scientists to trace them back to their source: the first active fault zone yet found on the red planet.…

“It’s a huge deal for Mars science,” Harrison says. “It’s totally mind blowing.”

Read more: First active fault zone found on Mars (National Geographic)

Marsquake! The Red Planet Trembles (YoungZine)

It may seem mind-boggling to realize that we are not the only planet that can have natural disasters like earthquakes!

About a year ago, NASA scientists equipped its Insight Planet Lander with an extremely sensitive seismometer which was deposited on the Martian surface. Since, then, it has waited to sense any seismic movement – even the tiniest bit.

Read more: Marsquake! The Red Planet Trembles (YoungZine)

First ‘marsquake’ detected by NASA lander (National Geographic)

From Maya Wei-Haas and Michael Greshko, National Geographic:

NASA’s InSight Mars lander has recorded its first “marsquake,” making waves among Earthling seismologists tens of millions of miles away and kicking off a new era in our study of the red planet.

The faint signal, which came on April 6, is the first tremble that scientists believe comes from the Martian interior, rather than from surface forces, such as wind. But researchers are still studying the data to pin down the quake’s precise source.

…Regardless of what InSight finds, every bump and buzz it feels will add to our knowledge of the red planet, says Tanya Harrison, Mars scientist at Arizona State University. “It’s helping paint the picture that Mars is still an active place—and I think that’s a very different view than what we had even in the Viking days,” she says, referring to the 1970s missions that landed on the surface of Mars. “We’ve just been building incrementally onto this story.”

Read more: First ‘marsquake’ detected by NASA lander (National Geographic)

NASA Just Released One Final Panorama From the Mars Opportunity Rover (Discover Magazine)

From Jake Parks, Discover Magazine:

Last June, space exploration enthusiasts from across the world collectively held their breath as a global dust storm enveloped Mars. They did so not because our view of the Red Planet’s surface was obscured, but instead because a go-kart-sized rover named Opportunity, which had been roaming the Red Planet for nearly 15 years, fell silent as the storm intensified. After eight months of fruitless attempts to resurrect “Oppy,” which was only slated for a mission lasting 90 days, on February 13, NASA scientists finally declared: “Mission complete.”

However, although Opportunity is now forever resting in peace, just before the massive martian storm struck, the tenacious rover managed to capture one final panorama of the Red Planet — and it’s glorious.

…Despite the fact that Opportunity is clearly not a living creature, its official demise last month sent ripples of sadness echoing through the astronomical community. However, according to Tanya Harrison, Director of Research for the “NewSpace” Initiative at ASU and Science Team Collaborator on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity, the rover’s tireless efforts to explore the Red Planet will not soon be forgotten.

Read more: NASA Just Released One Final Panorama From the Mars Opportunity Rover (Discover Magazine)

Is the end near for Mars Odyssey? Trump’s proposed 2021 budget could doom long-lived mission (Space.Com)

NASA’s longest-running Mars mission may be on the chopping block.

While President Donald Trump’s 2021 budget request clearly threatened NASA missions like the jet-borne telescope SOFIA, another potential shutdown was tucked inside the request. Proposed cuts to the 2001 Mars Odyssey program would bring its budget to a scant million dollars a year, effectively terminating the mission. The budget request is just that, a request; Congress makes the ultimate decision about budgets and can choose to continue funding the mission. Nevertheless, the threat has Mars scientists anxious about the mission’s future.ADVERTISING

“I can’t think of any situation where you would say, OK, let’s just turn it off,” said Tanya Harrison, a planetary scientist who studies Mars and has relied on Odyssey observations. “You never know what you’re going to find if you keep going with these missions.”

Read more: Is the end near for Mars Odyssey? Trump’s proposed 2021 budget could doom long-lived mission (Space.Com)

Opportunity, the overachieving Mars rover, finally says goodbye (MacLean’s)

From Shannon Proudfoot, Maclean’s:

“Tanya Harrison was an undergraduate student when the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) named Opportunity landed on the red planet in 2004. She was studying astronomy and physics at the University of Washington at the time, and she hoped that in her future career, she might get to work on a rover like Opportunity.

The rover and her twin, Spirit, were designed for 90-day missions, collecting images and performing geological analysis on the fourth planet from the sun, but instead, Opportunity trundled along for an astonishing 15 years (Spirit’s mission ended in 2010).”

Read more: Opportunity, the overachieving Mars rover, finally says goodbye (MacLean’s)