Dr. Harrison is known widely in the planetary science and research industry as Tanya of Mars. Why?
Tanya is the founder of Professional Martian LLC, a company focused on science and sci-fi consulting, communications, and outreach in ways to break space out of the echo chamber to reach broader audiences.
Currently, she is the Manager of Science Programs at Planet Federal in Washington DC, the government-focused arm of Planet Labs. In this role, she helps scientists understand the utility of—and how to access, process, and use—Planet’s incredible daily imaging of the entire landmass of the Earth and its coral reefs.
Tanya was the Director of Research for Arizona State University’s Space Technology and Science (“NewSpace”) Initiative where she worked on commercial-academic space partnerships and martian geomorphology research. She was the Science Team Collaborator on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity and the upcoming Mars 2020 sample caching rover.
Tanya received her Ph.D. in Geology with a specialization in Planetary Science and Exploration from the University of Western Ontario’s Centre for Planetary Science and Space Exploration (CPSX). From 2008 until 2012, was on the science operations team for NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Context Camera (CTX) and Mars Color Imager (MARCI) at Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS).
In Tanya’s own words: For CTX, I chose what the camera takes pictures of in a given week and then analyze those images from a geologist’s standpoint. For MARCI, I wrote weather reports for the general public, as well as a few times for the Spirit and Opportunity rover teams to alert them of any impending storms that could threaten the rovers. I was also a science team collaborator for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Mast Cameras (Mastcam), Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), and Mars Descent Imager (MARDI). While this work was exciting, I made the decision after 4 years to return to graduate school and get my Ph.D.
My undergraduate degree is in astronomy and physics from the University of Washington, and I did my graduate work in geology (well, “Earth and Environmental Sciences”) at Wesleyan University. Areas of interest include martian geomorphology and terrestrial analogues, spectroscopy, and glaciology. My work in astronomy has involved cooling mechanisms of interstellar dust clouds, diffuse interstellar bands, the metallicity of the old, metal-rich cluster NGC 6791, and the metallicity and lithium abundances of the recurrent novae T Coronae Borealis and RS Ophiuchi.
I have also been active in education and public outreach, getting involved with organizations such as The Planetary Society, Expanding Your Horizons, Girl Scouts, Norwescon, The Mars Society, and The National Space Society.
In my spare time, I am a professional photographer and the owner/photographer behind Station Toronto.
Where to find Tanya: http://tanyaofmars.com and email@example.com