white space ship and brown planet

MarbleMedia & Mezo Entertainment Team for Generation Mars (TVKids.com)

marblemedia and Robert C. Cooper’s Mezo Entertainment are co-developing the new live-action sci-fi adventure series Generation Mars, based on the books by Douglas D. Meredith.

The series centers on 12-year-old Cas, the first human born on Mars. “Doug wrote an edge-of-your-seat thriller of a novel, and we can’t wait to build out this story for TV audiences of all ages with Rob Cooper and the contribution of an impressive panel of experts,” said A.J. Trauth, VP of kids/family development at marblemedia.

Cooper (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective AgencyStargate) will showrun. Dr. Tanya Harrison, who has a Ph.D. in geology with a specialization in planetary science and exploration, will serve as a consultant to ensure scientific credibility of the story world.

Read more: MarbleMedia & Mezo Entertainment Team for Generation Mars by Jamie Stalcup

marblemedia and Mezo Entertainment Find Life on Mars with Sci-Fi Adventure Series, Generation Mars (marblemedia)

Award-winning writer and producer Robert C. Cooper (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Stargate) joins as Showrunner  

 Power line-up of esteemed Mars experts are attached to consult, including space exploration non-profit, Explore Mars; NASA Mars mission operations specialist, Dr. Tanya Harrison; and twenty-one-year-old astronaut-in-training and STEM-influencer phenom, Alyssa Carson. 

Los Angeles/Toronto/ Vancouver – (May 26, 2022) – marblemedia and Mezo Entertainment announced today they are in development on a live-action sci-fi adventure series, Generation Mars (10×60’). Helmed by creator Robert C. Cooper (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Stargate) the series is based on the popular books of the same name by Douglas D. Meredith.  

Generation Mars chronicles humanity’s perilous extraterrestrial endeavour from the unique point of view of an extraordinary family. It’s an optimistic heart-pounding thrill ride based on hard science that will inspire adventure-seekers of all ages. 

Read more: marblemedia and Mezo Entertainment Find Life on Mars with Sci-Fi Adventure Series, Generation Mars (press release)

China Finds Recent Water Flows on Mars, with Big Implications for Alien Life (Inverse)

Mars was once wet enough to cover its entire surface with an ocean of water hundreds to thousands of feet deep, holding about half as much water as the Atlantic Ocean. However, the most recent epoch of Martian history, known as the Amazonian — the past 3 billion years of the Red Planet— is often considered cold and dry.

Now, in a new study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, China’s first rover on Mars finds evidence of water there potentially within the past 700 million years.

“Liquid water may have been around underground much more recently in Mars’ history than previously thought,” planetary scientist Tanya Harrison, the director of Strategic Science Initiatives at Planet Labs, did not participate in this research, tells Inverse. “That’s exciting from an astrobiological standpoint because on Earth, anywhere there’s liquid water, there’s generally something that has managed to survive there. So, it gives the potential for a small habitable environment on Mars in the geologically recent past.”

Read more: China Finds Recent Water Flows on Mars, with Big Implications for Alien Life by Charles Q. Choi

Eyes on the Arctic: Satellites reveal changing conditions at northern latitudes (SpaceNews)

When Iceye co-founders Rafal Modrzewski and Pekka Laurila began looking for promising markets for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data, they focused exclusively on the Arctic.

It was a natural fit for the Finland-based SAR constellation operator founded in 2014. Eight years later, the Arctic remains a key market for Iceye due in part to its lack of terrestrial infrastructure.

“The only way to monitor it is through satellites,” Modrzewski said.

As Arctic sea ice dips to new lows, economic activity in the region is picking up. Meanwhile, soil under the Arctic tundra is thawing while some vegetation above is flourishing. To track the changes, companies and academic researchers often turn to satellite-based data products.

Spire Global, for example, is developing datasets to help people make decisions about what to do as the Arctic region evolves over time, said Kevin Petty, Spire vice president of weather and Earth intelligence.

With a fleet of more than 110 satellites, Spire tracks the movement of ships and airplanes through the region in addition to gathering atmospheric temperature, pressure and moisture data by noting how signals from GPS and other Global Navigation Satellite Systems change as they pass through the atmosphere.

By observing how the same signals reflect off Earth’s surface, Spire also can provide customers with data on soil moisture levels and sea ice.

Planet is shedding light on the Arctic with more than 200 satellites in polar orbit acquiring electro-optical imagery.

German researchers developed a deep learning model for PlanetScope, Planet’s daily global Earth imagery, to identify areas where the Arctic permafrost is thawing and releasing methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The research, led by Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research and the University of Potsdam Institute of Geosciences, maps small landslides that occur when permafrost thaws rapidly.

“This is a type of application that we’re starting to see pick up quite a bit because we have so much coverage both spatially and temporally across the Arctic,” said Tanya Harrison, Planet scientific strategy director.

For instance, Sarah Cooley, a University of Oregon assistant professor, applies machine learning to Planet imagery to track changes in hundreds of thousands of Arctic lakes in areas where the permafrost stores carbon.

“Her results are suggesting that the combined action of all of these small lakes is actually going to be quite a substantial greenhouse gas source moving forward,” Harrison said. “That research is only possible with a dataset like this, because she’s looking at subseasonal scale over a massive area of the Arctic.”

Read more: Eyes on the Arctic: Satellites reveal changing conditions at northern latitudes by Debra Werner

How Do Astronauts Sh*t in Space? (Lifehacker)

There’s a ton of space-related news dominating the headlines right now. Billionaires are engaged in a space race, celebrities are riding along in rockets, and 1,500 pages of UFO-related reports were just declassified by the government. The age of space tourism may soon be upon us, but the age of space curiosity is already quite firmly here. Whether you end up on a tourism rocket, living in a space station a la Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, or just reading about the cosmic goings-on from the relative comfort of Earth, you’ve probably already got a lot of questions. One might start with: How, exactly, do they go to the bathroom up there?

It could seem low-brow or immature to ponder this when the idea of space exploration is so complex and—with the climate catastrophe going the way it’s going—even vital, but we think it’s quite reasonable to wonder. Here’s your answer.

What is the primary barrier to traditional bathroom use in space?

At the heart of this issue is gravity, or rather, the lack of it out there in space. The concept of gravity is a simple one we all know and understand: There is a force that pulls things down to Earth. That’s physics. We all get it.

In space, where there is less gravity, you float. Everything floats. Whatever isn’t secured to a surface will be suspended, which is why we see videos of astronauts zipping themselves into little sleeping bag contraptions when it’s time to doze. Dr. Tanya Harrison, a planetary scientist, told Lifehacker that on the Space Station, astronauts exist in “microgravity.” They are still close enough to Earth to have a little gravity, but they’re essentially always in a state of “falling.” (Interestingly, she said, though their urine is basically “floating” inside their bladders, astronauts have reported that the sensation of needing to use the bathroom remains the same in these conditions.)

See more: How Do Astronauts Shit in Space? by Lindsey Ellefson

SGAC Space Law and Policy Group: Interview with Tanya Harrison (SGAC)

In 2021, members of the Space Law & Policy Human Rights Group spoke with Dr. Tanya Harrison about her role at Planet and the use of Earth-imaging to monitor climate change and human rights violations. Below is a subset of shortened responses from the conversation. 

Read more: 2021 Interview with Dr. Tanya Harrison by SGAC

How next-gen satellites are transforming our view of climate change (CNET)

As more frequent and more severe storms erode coastlines, mapmakers must adapt quickly.

For anyone living in areas less directly affected by the climate crisis, maps that show change over time provide a crucial bridge to understanding what’s really happening in other places, and how quickly. 

“By helping people visualize how the world is changing, maybe that will give them a better understanding of climate change as a whole,” says Tanya Harrison, director of science strategy at Planet, a private satellite imagery company. “How is your neighborhood being affected? How is your grandmother’s house being affected? Maybe she lives on the other side of the country or the other side of the world. In a way, that can kind of make this a little bit more personal.”

See more: How next-gen satellites are transforming our view of climate change by Megan Wollerton

SpaceX launch: Four citizen astronauts blast off on three-day journey, and will orbit Earth every 90 minutes (SkyNews)

The first all-civilian crew ever to orbit the Earth have blasted off on their historic mission.

The Dragon capsule containing the four citizen astronauts was launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

One of those aboard the mission, billionaire entrepreneur Jared Isaacman, paid an undisclosed fee to SpaceX for the chance to fly with three others.

During its three-day journey the capsule will orbit the earth once every 90 minutes at a speed of more than 17,000mph and an altitude of 360 miles – even higher than the orbiting International Space Station and Hubble Space Telescope.

See more: SpaceX launch: Four citizen astronauts blast off on three-day journey, and will orbit Earth every 90 minutes by Greg Milam

New Curiosity Rover Find Challenges a Fundamental Mars Theory (Inverse)

FOR MORE THAN NINE YEARS, A CAR-SIZED ROBOT has been roaming the Martian landscape in search of ancient life.

NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Gale Crater on August 6, 2012, and has been exploring the presumably dried-lake ever since. But a fresh look at Curiosity’s old data revealed that the ancient basin may not have been as wet as scientists once believed, possibly altering the history of water on Mars and the probability of the Red Planet hosting life during its past…

Tanya Harrison, a planetary scientist and director of science strategy for Planet Labs, who was not involved in the study, says that the reason Gale Crater was designated as the Curiosity rover’s destination is that Mount Sharp appeared to straddle that boundary between warm, hot Mars and cold, dry Mars.

“The crater was probably filled with water — that water evaporated and left the bottom half of Mount Sharp behind, which eventually eroded to the point that it’s at today,” Harrison tells Inverse. “At some point later, these wind-blown deposits were laid on top of that. Because the top half of Mount Sharp is not carved by any channels or anything that we can see, that suggests that it never interacted with water.”

See more: New Curiosity Rover Find Challenges a Fundamental Mars Theory by Passant Rabie

Wally Funk Is Defying Gravity and 60 Years of Exclusion From Space (The New York Times)

From The New York Times:

Wally Funk is finally going to space. When on Tuesday she crosses that arbitrary altitude that divides the heavens from Earth below, in a rocket built by Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin, she’ll be 82, the oldest person ever to go into space. But that is not what makes her so special.

Ms. Funk is one of the few people who has directly participated in both eras of human spaceflight so far — the one that started as an urgent race between rival nations, and the one that we are now transitioning into, in which private companies and the billionaires who finance them are in fierce competition for customers, comeuppance and contracts. That she was ultimately excluded from the first phase because she is a woman, and will now be included in the next one, also highlights difficult questions of whom space is for.

See more: Wally Funk Is Defying Gravity and 60 Years of Exclusion From Space by Mary Robinette Kowal