Physical & Life Sciences

Dr. Tanya Harrison

Planetary Scientist, Science Communicator, & Consultant


Dr. Tanya Harrison calls herself a “professional martian.” She has spent the last decade working as a scientist and in mission operations on multiple NASA Mars missions, including the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers. Her specialty lies in geomorphology: the study of a planet’s evolution based on its surface features. Before Mars however, Tanya had her head in the stars as an astronomer studying the metal content of star clusters and recurring novae systems. She holds a Ph.D. in Geology 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.

Currently she is the Manager of Science Programs at Planet Federal, the federal arm of Planet Labs. Tanya is also an advocate for advancing the status of women in science and for accessibility in the geosciences. You can find her prolifically tweeting about the Red Planet as @tanyaofmars.

Dr. Graham Lau

Director of Communications and Marketing/ Astrobiologist & Science Communicator

Blue Marble Space

Dr. Graham Lau is an astrobiologist and communicator of science. With an academic background spanning biology, chemistry, astrophysics, and geology, Dr. Lau is an expert on how living things affect the environment around them and how we search for alien life beyond the Earth. He serves as the Director of Communications and Marketing for Blue Marble Space, as a Research Scientist with the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, as the Director of Logistics for the University Rover Challenge, and as the Host of the NASA-funded show “Ask an Astrobiologist”. He’s also a member of the Network for Life Detection (NfoLD).

Morgan Irons

Chief Science Officer

Deep Space Ecology, Inc.

Morgan Irons is the Founder and Chief Science Officer of Deep Space Ecology Inc., a space and agricultural business startup working to solve the challenges of food security on Earth and in deep space. Her work concentrates on “quasi-closed”, agroecological systems” for sustainability in extreme environments and long duration space habitation. Morgan is also a Soil and Crop Sciences PhD student in the Lehmann Lab at Cornell University, where her research focuses on microbial- and organo-mineral adhesion mechanisms in soil aggregates and their effects on soil organic carbon sequestration.

Morgan is a 2020 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, a Carl Sagan Institute Fellow, a Norfolk Institute Fellow, the 2019 Ken Souza Memorial Spaceflight Award recipient, and a 2017 Brooke Owens Fellow.

Julia DeMarines

PhD Student

UC Berkeley, Earth and Planetary Science Department

Julia DeMarines is an Astrobiologist and science educator. She is currently a PhD student in UC Berkeley’s Earth and Planetary Science department doing joint research with the Berkeley SETI Research Center and the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science on a project attempting to determine what we “sound” like to an alien observer. She also teaches with the international team of scientists/educators called the Ad Astra Academy. She is a 2019 AGU Voices for Science advocate, a National Geographic Explorer and 2018 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow. She holds a Masters degree in Space Studies from the International Space University and a Bachelor’s in Astronomy from the University of Colorado. Her research involves biosignature and technosignature detections, the ethics behind messaging extraterrestrials, and the impact of educational activities. 

Julia also runs her own outreach events called “Space in Your Face!” – a space variety show involving comedy, local artists, and cover songs. When she’s not doing science and communication she can be found cracking Uranus jokes, trying not to kill her plants, trail running, and hanging with her cat, Bella.