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Professional Martian and Proud Space Nerd

Professional Martian and Proud Space Nerd

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.

Are you a #ProudSpaceNerd? Tell us why on Twitter or Instagram using that hashtag!

Tanya Harrison
Director of Research
Dr. Tanya Harrison is the Director of Research for Arizona State University's NewSpace Initiative. Her background lies in all things Mars, as a former mission operations team member for NASAs Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Curiosity rover, and current team member for the Opportunity and as-yet-unnamed 2020 rover. She is also an avid science communicator, working to make Space digestible and exciting for all.


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