Tanya Harrison

Postdoc Rsrch Assoc FSC 2008
Post Doctoral Scholars
TEMPE Campus


Dr. Tanya Harrison is the Director of Research for the Space Technology and Science ("NewSpace") Initiative at Arizona State University. She works on commercial-academic space partnerships and martian geomorphology research. She is also a Science Team Collaborator on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity.

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, she 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). For CTX, she chose what the camera takes pictures of in a given week and then analyze those images from a geologist’s standpoint. For MARCI, she 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. Tanya 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, she made the decision after 4 years to return to graduate school and get her Ph.D.

Tanya holds a B.Sc. in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Washington, and a Masters in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Wesleyan University. Her areas of interest include martian geomorphology and terrestrial analogues, spectroscopy, and glaciology. Tanya's work in astronomy 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.

Tanya has 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 her spare time, Tanya is a professional photographer and the owner/photographer behind Station Toronto, a company celebrating the public transit system of Toronto.



Research Interests

Martian surface processes, with a focus on gullies and mass movement processes


  • Harrison, T. N., L. L. Tornabene, G. R. Osinski, and S. J. Conway. Thermal inertia variations from recent gully and mass wasting activity in Gasa Crater, Mars. Accepted to Geological Society of London Special Issue.
  • Suer, T., S. Padovan, J. Whitten, R. W. Potter, S. Shkolyar, M. Cable, C. C. Walker, J. Szalay, C. Parker, J. Cumbers, D. Gentry, T. Harrison, S. Naidu, H. Trammel, J. Reimuller, C. Budney, and L. L. Lowes, FIRE: Flyby of Io with Repeat Encounters: A conceptual design for a New Frontiers mission to Io. Accepted to Advances in Space Research.
  • Tornabene, L. L., W. Watters, G. R. Osinski, J. Boyce, T. N. Harrison, V. Ling, and A. McEwen, Revised Depth-Diameter Scaling Relationships Based on the Recognition of Best-Preserved and Deepest Martian Craters. Accepted to Icarus.
  • Guallini, L., M. S. Gilmore, L. Marinangeli, N. Thomas, X. Diot, T. N. Harrison, and V. A. Roloff, Ancient Martian Lakestands and Fluvial-Like Processes in Iani Chaos: Geology of Light-Toned Layered Deposits and Their Relationship to Ares Vallis Outflow Channels. Submitted to Icarus.
  • Osinski, G. R., R. Schwegman, L. L. Tornabene, and T. N. Harrison, A Comparative Morphologic and Morphometric Study of Double Layered Ejecta Craters in Volcanic Terrains on Mars. Submitted to Meteoritics and Planetary Science.
  • Harrison, T. N., Osinski, G. R., and Tornabene, L. L. (2015), Global Documentation of Gullies with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Context Camera and Implications for Their Formation. Icarus 252, 236–324.
  • Williams, R. M. E., Irwin III, R. P., Burr, D. M., Harrison, T. N., and McClelland, P. (2013), Variability in Martian Sinuous Ridge Form: Case Study of Aeolis Serpens in the Aeolis Dorsa, Mars, and Insights from the Mirackina Paleoriver, South Australia. Icarus 225, 308–324.
  • Harrison, T. N., M. S. Gilmore, and J. P. Greenwood (2012), Experimental VNIR Reflectance Spectroscopy of Gypsum Dehydration: Investigating the Gypsum to Bassanite Transition. American Mineralogist 97, 598–609.
  • Harrison, T. N., M. C. Malin, K. S. Edgett, D. E. Shean, M. R. Kennedy, L. J. Lipkaman, B. A. Cantor, and L. V. Posiolova (2010), Impact-Induced Overland Fluid Flow and Channelized Erosion at Lyot Crater, Mars. Geophysical Research Letters 37, L21201.
  • Byrne, S., C. M. Dundas, M. R. Kennedy, M. T. Mellon, A. S. McEwen, S. C. Cull, I. J. Daubar, D. E. Shean, K. D. Seelos, S. L. Murchie, B A. Cantor, R. E. Arvidson, K. S. Edgett, A. Reufer, N. Thomas, T. N. Harrison, L. V. Posiolova, and F. P. Seelos (2009), Distribution of Mid-Latitude Ground Ice on Mars from New Impact Craters, Science 325, 1674–1676.
  • Wallerstein, G., T. Harrison, U. Munari, and A. Vanture (2008), The Metallicity of Lithium Abundances of the Recurring Novae T CrB and RS Oph, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 120, 867, 492–497.


  • Geological Society of America Paul Pellas-Graham Ryder Award for Best Student Paper in Planetary Sciences, awarded for papers published in 2015 (2016)
  • Amelia Earhart Fellowship (2014 & 2015)
  • Geological Society of America On to the Future Award (2014)
  • University of Western Ontario Research Western Award (2014)
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (2014)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, presented to the Mars Science Laboratory Mastcam, MAHLI, & MARDI instruments team (2013)
  • Lunar and Planetary Institute Career Development Award (2013)
  • NSERC CREATE Technologies and Techniques for Space Exploration Ph.D. Fellowship (2012)
  • NSERC CREATE Canadian Astrobiology Training Program Ph.D. Fellowship (2012)
  • University of Western Ontario Graduate Research Scholarship (20122014)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, presented to the MRO MARCI/CTX science team (2011)
  • NASA Connecticut Space Grant Scholar (2008)
  • GSN Get Schooled Games Tour Seattle 529 College Savings Plan Winner (2004)


  • Editor, Geological Society of London Special Issue: Martian Gullies and Their Earth Analogues (201617)
  • Web Editor, The Planetary Society (2013present)

Professional Associations

" Geological Association of Canada Division of Planetary Sciences " Geological Society of America " International Association of Sedimentologists " Space Generation Advisory Council