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Tanya Harrison - Outer Space Institute. Vancouver, BC, CA

Tanya Harrison Tanya Harrison

Fellow | Outer Space Institute

Vancouver, BC, CANADA

Professional Martian who has worked on rocks and robots on the Red Planet.





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“Professional Martian” Dr. Tanya 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 has worked as the Director of Science for Impact at Planet Labs and the Director of Research for Arizona State University’s NewSpace Initiative. She is currently a Fellow of the University of British Columbia’s Outer Space Institute and the Aurelia Institute.

As a highly respected expert in the field, Tanya has made numerous TV appearances, including on National Geographic and The Weather Channel, and has written on space-related topics for outlets including Slate, Canada’s The Globe and Mail, the Houston Chronicle, and Astronomy magazine. Her first non-academic book, For All Humankind (2019, Mango Publishing) highlights international memories of the day of the Apollo 11 Moon landing and made the #1 release on Amazon’s Aeronautics and Astronautics book list.

Committed to fostering the next generation of space professionals, Tanya is active in mentorship, education, and outreach initiatives. She serves on the Board of Advisors for Explore Mars and Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), and the Board of Directors for the American Geophysical Union. She is also a co-founder of the Zed Factor Fellowship, an initiative to increase diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in the aerospace sector through paid internship opportunities, mentorship, and community engagement for those from historically excluded backgrounds in STEM.

Tanya holds a Ph.D. in Geology with a Specialization in Planetary Science and Exploration from the University of Western Ontario, a Masters in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Wesleyan University, and a B.Sc. in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Washington. Her honours include two NASA Group Achievement Awards, the Amelia Earhart Fellowship for women in aerospace and the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Canada’s most prestigious doctoral award. She was also named one of Via Satellite’s Young People to Watch of 2018, and a Future Space Leader in 2019.

You can find her prolifically tweeting about all things Mars, space, and Canada on Twitter as @tanyaofmars.

Industry Expertise (4)





Areas of Expertise (19)

Space and Astrophysics

Climate Change

Satellite Based Remote Sensing of the Earth/atmosphere System

Earth Science

Women in STEM Careers

Women in STEM

Women in Science and Engineering

Women in Science




Remote Sensing


Mission Operations

Space Exploration


Earth Sciences

Satellite Design


Accomplishments (14)

Via Satellite's Young People to Watch List (professional)



Geological Society of America Paul Pellas-Ryder Award (professional)


Award given for the best student paper in planetary science published in 2015

Amelia Earhart Fellowship (professional)

2014 and 2015; Ph.D. fellowship for women in aerospace fields (2-time awardee)

Geological Society of America On to the Future Award (professional)


University of Western Ontario Research Western Award (professional)


Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (professional)

2014; Canada's most prestigious doctoral scholarship

NASA Group Achievement Award (professional)

2013; Presented to the Mars Science Laboratory Mast Camera, Mars Hand Lens Imager, and Mars Descent Imager instruments team

Lunar and Planetary Institute Career Development Award (professional)


NSERC CREATE Technologies and Techniques for Space Exploration Ph.D. Fellowship (professional)


NSERC CREATE Canadian Astrobiology Training Program Ph.D. Fellowship (professional)


University of Western Ontario Graduate Research Scholarship (professional)


NASA Group Achievement Award (professional)

2011; Presented to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Context Camera and Mars Color Imager science team

NASA Connecticut Space Grant Scholar (professional)


Washington Promise Scholar (professional)


Education (3)

University of Western Ontario: Ph.D., Geology (specialization in Planetary Science and Exploration) 2016

Wesleyan University: Master of Arts, Earth and Environmental Sciences 2008

University of Washington: Bachelor of Science, Astronomy and Physics (Dual Major) 2006

Affiliations (5)

  • Owner, Professional Martian LLC
  • Board of Advisors, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS)
  • Board of Advisors, Explore Mars
  • Partner, NASA Harvest
  • Board of Directors, American Geophysical Union

Languages (2)

  • English
  • French

Media Appearances (20)

Extraterrestrial Remote Sensing

Geospatial Frontier  online


Dr. Tanya Harrison gives us a look at extraterrestrial remote sensing with w focus of studying Mars and how that compares with looking at Earth from Space. Check out her Amazing presentation!

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Tanya of Mars

Project Geospatial  online


In this episode, we have the honor of interviewing Dr. Tanya Harrison, aka Tanya of Mars. Tanya is a planetary scientist and she gives us great insight into several interesting topics.

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Tanya Harrison

The Blunt Report  online


Tanya Harrison is a Former Mission Operator with the Mars Rovers and a Planetary Scientist Focusing on Martian Geomorphology and both Martian and Terrestrial Imaging. http://tanyaofmars.com/

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Tanya Harrison on Space Exploration 50 Years After Apollo

Future Fossils  online


This week’s guest is Tanya Harrison, a Mars geologist, author, and infectious banner-waving space enthusiast. We talk about For All Humankind, her new book with Danny Bednar on the legacy of the Apollo missions, as both a planetwide accomplishment and also a high bar against which we have since not seemed to measure up.

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Mars: One Day on the Red Planet

National Geographic  tv


An epic journey around Mars revealing a planet you've never seen before.

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Secrets of the Solar System: Mars

CuriosityStream  online


The dramatic, moving and powerful story of humanity’s conquest of Mars, told by the people who risked entire careers to explore the red planet. Did we find evidence for life back in the ’70s? Some believe we did.

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For All Humankind

Friday Night Book Club  online


Tanya and Danny stop by to talk about their new book: For All Humankind: The Untold Stories of How the Moon Landing Inspired the World. Dr. Tanya Harrison calls herself a “professional martian.” She has spent over a decade working as a scientist and in mission operations on multiple NASA Mars missions, including the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers. Dr. Danny Bednar is a geographer of space, with an interest in how satellites are helping in the fight against climate change. Their book looks at the impact of the moon landing on people across the globe. They also talk about the ongoing impact and what might be next for humans in space. It is really fascinating stuff.Buy the book: For All Humankind

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New ASU Exhibit Explores What It Would Be Like To Live On Mars

KJZZ  radio


The sci-fi genre is full of tales of humans exploring Mars, often to learn something that could change the scope of the universe or, at the least, colonize it for Earth. But there are many real scientists today working on ways to get us to Mars and prepare us for living on the extraterrestrial world once we get there. A project at ASU — the Mars Exploration Mobile Unit — aims to create an exhibit that will get the public as close as possible to what it would be like to live and work on Mars. To do this, the project brought together a variety of disciplines.

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Dr. Tanya Harrison

Mission Even Podcast  online


Dr. Tanya Harrison is a manager of science programs at Planet. Her undergraduate degree is in Astronomy; her Masters and Ph.D. are in Geology with a specialty in Mars. She's an Earth and Martian photographer, a Trekkie, and the youngest member of the National Space Society's Board of Government. She makes space swag, works with 150 satellites "that are adorable", is an advocate for science communications, the disabled, and an all-around awesome role model for women who want to trail-blaze the industry.

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Stories From a Mars Rover Specialist

TMRO  online


This week Dr Tanya Harrison joins us to talk about the science of Mars and her experiences working on various Mars missions such as Opportunity, Curiosity, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the upcoming Mars 2020 rover.

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FLying Around Mars Imaging aNd Geography Observatory

Off-Nominal Podcast  online


Tanya Harrison joins Jake and Anthony to discuss the James Webb Space Telescope delays, planetary missions and their ability to stay under budget and on time, and the benefits and drawbacks of decadal surveys.

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We Need Space: Federal Partnerships In Space Exploration

Federal News Network  online


Tune in to the July 20th FedTalk to hear about the changing face of federal space exploration and research, including the increased reliance on public/private partnerships with academia and private organizations such as Boeing and SpaceX. Joining host Ben Carnes will be Dr. Tanya Harrison, Director of Research at Arizona State University’s Space Technology and Science Initiative, and lead of the “Five Senses of Space” project; Peter McGrath, Director of Global Sales and Marketing for Boeing Space Exploration; and Mat Kaplan of The Planetary Society. The show airs live on Friday, July 20, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. ET on Federal News Radio 1500, but you can stream online anytime via the Federal News Radio player. FEDtalk is a live radio talk show produced by Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C., a federal employment law firm. Bringing you the insider’s perspective from leaders in the federal community since 1993. FEDtalk is sponsored by Long Term Care Partners who administers the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) sponsored Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP). Start planning for the future. Take the next step and visit LTCFEDS.com today.

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Mars Researcher Takes A Journey To The Red Planet — Through Her Family Tree

KJZZ  radio


“I’d always been interested in space. I grew up watching a lot of Star Trek with my parents. But in 1997 when the Mars Pathfinder mission landed, NASA released a little animation of photos of the Sojourner rover driving off the lander onto the surface of Mars,” Harrison recalled. “And I remember seeing that and thinking, we’re driving a robot on another planet tens of millions of miles away. And my brain just couldn’t comprehend how awesome that was. And so that kind of shifted my focus from just kind of general space to — I really want to work on Mars.” So she did. Not literally, but as close as anyone can get right now. Every image she sees from the rover unravels another little mystery about the red planet. Then last year, her mom made a discovery. “So my mother is really into genealogy,” Harrison said. “And she told me at one point recently that she had come across my great great uncle, whose name is Ira Sweet Bunker. And she found out from his obituary, of all things, that he had written a story called: ‘A Thousand Years Hence; Or, Startling Events In The Year 3000.’” Subtitle: “A Trip To Mars, Incidents By The Way.” Turns out, an interest in Mars runs in the family. But this story was published in 1903, and had since been lost. It didn’t seem to be anywhere online, except for references to it.

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WX Geeks: Weather on Mars

The Weather Channel  tv


We had to explore Martian weather on The Weather Channel’s Weather Geeks. We like to take the weather that we all love and examine it from the angles you might not otherwise get. Sunday’s show brings Dr. Tanya Harrison to the show. She knows Mars, trust me. And she is one of the best space and astronomy follows on social media.

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Children of This Universe

Western Worlds (University of Western Ontario)  radio


Co-host Alyssa Gilbert talks to Tanya Harrison of Western University. Join co-hosts Raymond Francis, Alyssa Gilbert, Zhengyi Hu and Parshati Patel in the round table discussion after the interview.

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Gullies on Mars

WeMartians  online


Increasingly, Mars is appearing to us as a living, breathing world with dynamic features. One such feature that has captivated planetary scientists around the world is the occurrence of Martian Gullies, channels carved into the surface as if by water, in a world where flowing water is not exactly common. We talk with Tanya Harrison, a planetary scientist and geologist from the University of Western Ontario. She tells us all about gullies on Mars, how they might be formed, and what scientists are doing about it to learn more in the search for life on Mars.

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Can We Really Colonize Mars?

Techdirt  online


Elon Musk got plenty of attention recently for announcing his plans to colonize Mars. But that's not exactly a new idea—so we wondered if it was really a different, exciting and realistic plan, or just a reiteration of the standard far-flung dream. To answer that question, we brought in three experts: Amy Shira Teitel (a space and flight historian and creator of YouTube's Vintage Space videos), JPL's Fred Calef (a Mars geologist and "keeper of the maps" for Mars rovers), and the New Space Initiative's Tanya Harrison (who worked on Curiosity and several other Mars missions). The result was a fascinating discussion about Mars and whether or not we're actually headed there any time soon.

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Students controlling practice space mission

106.9 The X  online


A group of students from across the country ran a Mars rover simulation mission at Western University. Made up of 35 students, ranging from undergraduates to Post Doctoral Fellows contributed to the analogue mission.

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Western University preps for Mars

CHCH News  tv


Next month NASA will start taking applications for astronauts looking to be the first to set foot on the planet Mars. Meanwhile, a joint program between the Canadian space agency and Western University has made London Ontario ‘Mission Control’ for a simulated mission to the red planet.

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Live Interview about Mars

AM650 CKOM  radio


Not available online

Event Appearances (36)

What Does 'New Space' Really Mean? - Panelist

Via Satellite's ON ORBIT Podcast LIVE  Washington DC, USA


AI & Robotics for In-Orbit Satellite Servicing - Moderator

Satellite 2020  Washington DC, USA


What's Up on Mars? - Invited Talk

NASA Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex  Titusville, FL, USA


More Than Martians

Ignite@AGU  San Francisco, CA, USA


Finding Your (Non-Linear) Career Path - OPENING KEYNOTE

SpaceVision 2019  Phoenix, AZ, USA


Science Applications of Planet Data - Invited Talk

NASA Goddard Engineering Colloquium  Greenbelt, MD, USA


What's Up on Mars? - Invited Talk

Phoenix Public Library  Phoenix, AZ, USA


Roving Robots on the Red Planet - Invited Talk

Amazon re:MARS  Las Vegas, NV, USA


Mars Exploration - Panelist

VivaTech 2019  Paris, France


Emigration of Life from Earth - Panelist

Breakthrough Discuss  Berkeley, CA, USA


Cloudy With a Chance of Dust Storms - Invited Talk

Rose City Astronomers  Portland, OR, USA


Effective Science Communication Strategies in the Digital World - KEYNOTE

University of Toronto Scarborough Graduate Career Day  Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Surviving Mars - Panelist

PAX West  Seattle, WA


What's Up on Mars? - Invited Talk

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Chapter Meeting  Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Cloudy With a Chance of Dust Storms - Invited Talk

Ontario Science Centre  Toronto, Ontario, Canada


The Current State of Water on Mars - KEYNOTE

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada General Assembly  Calgary, AB, Canada


Photographing the Galaxy and Citizen Science



More Than Martians - Invited Talk

SGx  Washington DC, USA


The Emerging Role of Commercial Spaceflight in Earth Remote Sensing Science

Canadian SmallSat Summit  Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Cloudy With a Chance of Dust Storms - KEYNOTE

Steamboat Weather Summit  Steamboat Springs, CO


The Past and Present of Water on Mars - Invited Talk

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Chapter Meeting  Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Mars Missions Roundup - Invited Talk

Idaho Star Party  Mountain Home, ID, USA


The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Curiosity Rover: Perspectives on Whether Mars is Habitable - KEYNOTE

Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference  New Orleans, LA, USA


The Importance of Science Outreach - Invited Talk

March for Science  Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission Operations - Invited Talk

Planet  San Francisco, CA


Gullies on Mars - Invited Talk

University of Texas at El Paso Departmental Colloquium Presentation  El Paso, TX


Cloudy With a Chance of Dust Storms - Invited Talk

Lucasfilm  San Francisco, CA


Finding Your Career Path - KEYNOTE

Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) Canada Ascension  London, ON, Canada


Gullies on Mars - Invited Talk

Zonta International Meeting  Stratford, ON, Canada


Invited Speaker

University of Western Ontario Staff and Leaders Conference  London, ON, Canada


Invited Speaker

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) Meeting  London, ON, Canada


Invited Speaker

University of Western Ontario Curiosity Rover Landing Event  London, ON, Canada


Invited Speaker

San Diego Astronomy Association Meeting  San Diego, CA


Invited Speaker

CascadiaCon  Seattle, WA


Invited Speaker

VikingCon  Bellingham, WA


Invited Panelist

Norwescon 22  Seattle, WA


Sample Talks (1)

Cloudy With a Chance of Dust Storms

Mars is far from a dead planet! It has quite active weather, including massive dust storms, wispy water ice clouds, and changes throughout the seasons. This talk covers the weird and wonderful weather of the Red Planet.



  • Keynote
  • Moderator
  • Panelist
  • Workshop Leader
  • Host/MC
  • Author Appearance


0 to 5000 *Will consider certain engagements for no fee

Partnerships (1)

Proud Space Nerds

Honeywell Aerospace 

Wrote the scripts, aided in storyboarding, and hosted an educational series for Honeywell Aerospace shot on location at their offices across the U.S. and Canada in 2018–2019.

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Articles (41)

Academia is a Pyramid Scheme


Tanya Harrison

When it comes to space, academia isn’t the only game in town.

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After Working on Mars, I’ll Never See Earth the Same Way


Tanya Harrison


For over a decade, I went to work on Mars. Now I work for an Earth observing company.

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Monitoring Martian Weather, Part 1: On the Ground


Tanya Harrison


NASA’s InSight lander has been making a splash in the news thanks to its capable weather station—but it’s not the first robotic meteorologist we’ve had on Mars.

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The Night NASA Said Goodbye to Oppy


Tanya Harrison


I was in the room for the final transmission to Opportunity. It was emotional to say the least.

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Inspirational Women in Space: Peggy Whitson


Tanya Harrison


Late last year I gave a lightning talk at an event hosted by Thinkful for Ada Lovelace Day celebrating inspirational women in tech. As this wasn’t a space-centric audience, I took the opportunity to showcase an astronaut perhaps non-space-folk wouldn’t be familiar with.

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The Top 5 Things to Look Forward to on Mars in 2019


Tanya Harrison


The past year was an exciting one for the Red Planet: Opportunity and Curiosity passed major operational milestones, the InSight lander joined the robotic fleet on the surface, and big discoveries like a possible underground lake were announced. What does the coming year have in store for us?

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What is Winter Like on Mars?


Tanya Harrison


With it being winter in the northern hemisphere here on Earth and on Mars, what is martian winter actually like?

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Arizona State University Team's Lip Balm Recreates Outer-Space Smells

Now This is News


You can now wear lip balm that smells just like the Milky Way. Tanya Harrison, a researcher at Arizona State University, is using her lab to recreate smells from Earth and space alike. Her team eventually plans to recreate the aromas of the moon and Mars.

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Dusty Skies for Opportunity


Tanya Harrison


This month, a dust storm engulfed Mars and cut off contact with the Opportunity rover. What does this mean for the rover and for Mars, and how do we monitor martian weather?

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Mars Phoenix Lander, 10 Years Later


Tanya Harrison


A reflection on NASA's Mars Phoenix lander mission 10 years on.

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Galileo Proves Old Data Can Still Yield New Tricks


Tanya Harrison


Despite being 20 years old, data from NASA's Galileo mission to Jupiter is still revealing new information about the largest planet in our Solar System.

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Professional Martian and Proud Space Nerd

Honeywell Aerospace

Tanya Harrison


I’m Dr. Tanya Harrison, and I like to call myself a “Professional Martian.” Over the past 10 years, I’ve worked on rocks and robots on the Red Planet, including in mission operations for three NASA missions to Mars. Back here on Earth, I’m also the Director of Research for Arizona State University’s Space Technology and Science (“NewSpace”) Initiative. In this role, I help ASU and companies like Honeywell collaborate for innovation in orbit and beyond. Science communication is something that’s very important to me. Space-based assets like GPS and weather satellites are intimately ingrained in our daily lives. Understanding how satellites work and why we use them is therefore not only cool, but also practical. (And from an entirely selfish standpoint, I want everyone to love Space as much as I do!) This is where the idea of the video series “How to Build a Spaceship” grew from, part of Honeywell’s Proud Space Nerds campaign. Each episode will focus on a different component of a satellite or human Space mission, explaining things like how we keep astronauts comfortable, and how we point and steer in microgravity. When many people hear “Honeywell,” they might not immediately think of Space, but Honeywell builds many different components for spacecraft, including technology used on the International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope, and satellites that have travelled throughout the Solar System! They are also currently working on the Orion Mission to Mars, James Webb Space Telescope and smallsat constellations, so stay tuned! You can read more about Honeywell’s activities in Space here, and keep an eye on social media for our Proud Space Nerds videos.

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Water on Mars (Cover Article)

Astronomy Magazine

Tanya Harrison


A brief overview of all of the ways we've discovered water on Mars. (Cover article of the July 2017 edition of Astronomy Magazine)

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How Mars 2020 Became The Last Defense Of The Martian Past


David W. Brown


Interview with Tanya Harrison about the Mars 2020 rover landing site selection process.

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Tanya Of Mars Gets Real About Rocks, Research, And Women In STEM


Shannon Stirone


Dr. Tanya Harrison, also known on Twitter as “Tanya of Mars,” lists herself as a professional Martian, and she sort of is in a way. Tanya is a planetary scientist currently studying the changing geological features on the surface of Mars. She’s also working at Arizona State University’s NewSpace Initiative, a program designed to help budding commercial space companies learn how to explore the solar system. At ASU NewSpace, Tanya works with lead investigator Jim Bell, consulting on prospective space missions to the Moon and of course, Mars.

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13 Things That Prove You Shouldn’t Mess With Women In Science


Kelly Oakes


A response to the #girlswithtoys Twitter movement.

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Gullies on Mars: Wet or Dry (Ice)?

The Planetary Society

Tanya Harrison


Martian gullies were in the spotlight last week thanks to a NASA press release stating they were "likely not formed by liquid water." The release concerns the publication of a new paper by Nuñez et al. in Geophysical Research Letters, which looked at spectral data of gullies from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM). In their study, Nuñez and his colleagues looked at over 100 gullied locations on Mars. They found no evidence of minerals that would be expected to form in the presence of water. Rather than water, they point to sublimation of seasonal carbon dioxide frost as the main culprit behind gully formation on Mars. Other people have proposed a similar model to explain present-day activity in gullies, which appears to happen during periods of active defrosting. But this process has been a topic of debate among the Mars gullies community, and was a big discussion point at the "Martian Gullies and Their Earth Analogues" workshop in London back in June. Can this dry process explain both the initial formation of gullies and gullies' modern-day activity?

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Will the real culprit behind Mars' gullies please stand up?

Astronomy Magazine

Tanya Harrison


A NASA press release recently suggested Mars' gullies were formed solely by carbon dioxide. The truth is much murkier.

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LPSC 2016: Martian Geomorphology

The Planetary Society

Tanya Harrison


Scientists showcased a wide range of features and processes on Mars' surface at this year's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

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Why do Earthlings care so much about Mars?

The Globe and Mail

Tanya Harrison


Appeared in both the print and online Globe and Mail outlets.

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A Workhorse at Mars

The Planetary Society

Tanya Harrison


The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Context Camera (CTX) is almost a silent star at Mars. The latest MRO data release brought the total number of available CTX images to over 70,000, covering well over 90% of the Red Planet at a stunning resolution of 6 meters per pixel.

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Gullies on the Wall of an Unnamed Crater in Utopia Planitia

University of Arizona

Tanya Harrison


Mars captioned image release

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Help Map Mars' South Polar Region!

The Planetary Society

Tanya Harrison


The science team of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter wants your help in mapping out the weird and wonderful features of Mars' south polar region!

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Female scientists spark #GirlsWithToys campaign to highlight STEM careers & combat gender stereotypes


Cat DiStasio


You don’t mess with women in science. Someday, people will learn that. In an interview with NPR that took place earlier this month, Caltech astronomer Shrinivas Kulkarni made a casual comment that scientists are “boys with toys,” and that notion has gotten the attention of many women working in fields of science and engineering. Within just a few days, the hashtag #GirlsWithToys was trending on Twitter, featuring female scientists, engineers, astronomers, and the like showing off the “toys” they use to perform amazing feats of science. Here, Tanya Harrison shows off her toys, tweeting: "I play with Mars rovers. #girlswithtoys"

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Ofte var jeg den eneste jenta på tech-treff og fikk spørsmål om jeg var "kjæresten til noen”


Marte Glanville


Interview about the #girlswithtoys movement, published in Norwegian

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#GirlsWithToys Celebrates Women In STEM Fields, Sharing Stories Of Ladies Who Slay At Science


Emma Lord


There have been a lot of strides for women in STEM fields in the last decade. I get to see it all the time in my computer wizard sister, who not only codes for a living, but was fully operational on the desktop computer before she could speak in full sentences. But girls who were not as fortunate to have support in their calling need all the encouragement they can get, which is why the trending hashtag #GirlsWithToys is so important. Its aim is to fire back at the notion of male scientists as "boys with toys," and celebrate the women with successful STEM careers as well.

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The Canadian Women Who Rule The #GirlsWithToys World

The Huffington Post Canada

Rebecca Zamon


In the highly reactive world of the Internet, it's easy for outrage to overtake education. But every once in a while, something sparks a social movement that makes you feel like you're really learning something. And if you start looking through the hashtag #girlswithtoys, it's impossible not to come away inspired.

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Astronomer calls scientists “boys with toys,” gets schooled by the Internet

New York Times


“Many scientists, I think, secretly are what I call ‘boys with toys’.” Astronomer and Cal Tech professor Shrinivas Kulkarni probably had no idea what an Internet firestorm he started with an off-the-cuff remark during an NPR interview on Saturday. While his remarks were probably not ill-intentioned, they served as a reminder of the difficulties women face in STEM fields, and how their achievements and contributions are often casually ignored or dismissed. So Twitter decided to teach the professor a friendly lesson. Using the hashtag #GirlsWithToys, female scientists across the globe tweeted photos of themselves with their “toys” – i.e., the incredible scientific equipment they helped develop or operate every day.

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#girlswithtoys: women remind Twitter they are scientists too


Katie Collins


Female scientists from all over the world have taken to Twitter to post pictures of themselves with tools and equipment from their workplaces alongside the hashtag #girlswithtoys. The pictures are being posted in response to an unfortunate, off-the-cuff comment made by CalTech professor Shrinivas Kulkarni during an NPR interview. "Many scientists, I think, secretly are what I call 'boys with toys'," said Kulkarni, a professor of astronomy and planetary science. While the comment was a blunder by Kulkarni rather than a targeted attack, for many it also exposes the ingrained sexism that goes unacknowledged in the science and technology industries. If nothing else it perpetuated the myth that science and tech are men's pursuits. To remind Kulkarni and the rest of the world that scientists are not just "boys with toys", however, the female scientists of Twitter struck back using the #girlswithtoys hashtag as their calling card. The resulting slew of pictures serves as a reminder of the role women are playing in science and technology, but also provides an insight into some of the awesome toys they do get to play with.

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Powerful #GirlsWithToys Campaign Proves Once And For All That Women Have A Place In STEM

The Huffington Post

Kimberly Yam


Here’s yet another reminder that women totally kick ass in any field they want. Shrinivas Kulkarni, astronomy and planetary science professor at the California Institute of Technology, was featured in an interview with NPR on Saturday. While speaking on astronomers, the professor said, “many scientists ... are what I call ‘boys with toys.’ I really like playing around with telescopes. It’s just not fashionable to admit it.” The comment, which failed to acknowledge his female counterparts in the field, didn’t go unnoticed. Women took to the Internet to remind Kulkarni that “boys” aren’t the only ones in STEM. Using the #girlswithtoys hashtag, female scientists and engineers shared pictures of themselves or others with tools and equipment. Some posed next to rovers, while others took selfies with their lab equipment. A few were pictured next to some “toys” that were a little beyond our understanding. The #girlswithtoys campaign is stunning, powerful and will make you want to bust out the Bunsen burner.

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Women around the world prove science isn't just for 'boys with toys’


Seth Fiegerman


Female scientists have joined together to disprove one astronomer's thesis: science is just "boys with toys." Shrinivas Kulkarni, an astronomer who teaches astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology, made waves this weekend after he was quoted by NPR as saying, "Many scientists, I think, secretly are what I call 'boys with toys.'" That casual remark, included in an otherwise unremarkable interview, quickly set off a powerful reaction from women (and men) in the science community who took to Twitter to highlight how tone deaf it is to continue talking as though women have no role in the field. Using the hashtag #girlswithtoys, scientists from around the world shared dozens of images of women "playing" with microscopes, telescopes, Mars rovers, water pumps and more.

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17 Amazing Reasons to Why We Should Be Excited About Space

Brown Spaceman


What NASA or space project are you most excited about and why?

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Vanier celebrates the nation’s finest

University of Western Ontario News

Jason Winders


Seven Western graduate students have been named among 166 nationwide recipients of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, each receiving $50,000 annually for up to three years. Vanier scholars are selected based on leadership skills and high standard of scholarly achievement in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, engineering and/or health sciences.

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Canadian Mars Analogue Mission: Field Report, Week 2

The Planetary Society

Tanya Harrison


Tanya Harrison wraps up the final week of Mars sample return analogue mission operations at the Canadian Space Agency.

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Canadian Mars Analogue Mission: Field Report, Week 1

The Planetary Society

Tanya Harrison


Tanya Harrison reports on Canada's efforts to simulate a Mars sample return mission here on Earth.

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MAVEN Launches!

The Planetary Society

Tanya Harrison


MAVEN launched flawlessly and pretty much exactly on schedule. Congratulations to NASA, the MAVEN team, and United Launch Alliance for a picture perfect launch!

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MAVEN NASA Social: Day 2

The Planetary Society

Tanya Harrison


Bright and early this morning, we NASA Social folks met at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex for a tour of the space shuttle Atlantis. This is the first shuttle I've seen in person, and it was a stunning sight to see.

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MAVEN NASA Social: Day 1

The Planetary Society

Tanya Harrison


I am at the MAVEN launch at Kennedy Space Center for a "NASA Social" event. These events are geared towards space enthusiasts of all backgrounds who are active on social media to increase public awareness and excitement about NASA.

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Proof! Bio Station Alpha is Just an Image Artifact

Universe Today

Nancy Atkinson


It’s time for another episode of “Conspiracy Theory of the Week.” This one involves a supposed secret space station on Mars. The You Tube video showing “Bio Station Alpha” went viral and was even reported on some mainstream media outlets. The station is supposedly a 700 ft x 150 ft structure on Mars and by some accounts is colored white with blue and red stripes. It was found on Google Mars by an “armchair astronaut” and breathless conspiracy bloggers have touted this as the most important discovery on Mars yet, and “proof!” that NASA is hiding their activities. In reality, this is not a space station, a Mars base or any type of structure – created or natural — on the surface of the Red Planet.

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Tanya Harrison: Being proactive helps you stand out from the crowd

Women in Planetary Science

Susan Neibur


Tanya Harrison discusses her career path in planetary science.

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CTX and MARCI—The OTHER Cameras on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

The Planetary Society

Tanya Harrison


"What?" you might say, "There are cameras other than HiRISE?" Yes indeed, there are. There are two other cameras aboard MRO: the Context Camera (CTX) and Mars Color Imager (MARCI).

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