Meet the Planet Four Team: Anya Portyankina

Inspired in part by the Meet the Team on the Daily Zooniverse, we’re planning a series of posts to help you get to know better some of the people behind Planet Four. Our first Meet the Planet Four Team entry is  devoted to Anya Portyankina from the Science Team.


Image credit: The Planetary Society

Name: Ganna (Anya) Portyankina

What is your current position and where/institution?

I am currently a Research Associate at LASP (Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics) at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Where are you originally from/where did you grow up

I was born in the USSR but grew up in Ukraine.

What are your research interests/what do you work on?

I am interested in different active processes in our Solar System that involve ices. Ice-covered comets, polar regions of Mars, icy satellites of giant planets – in all these worlds interactions of ice with atmospheres, sunlight and other heat sources bring to life exciting exotic phenomena.

In 3 lines explain your PhD thesis?

My PhD thesis is about interaction of Martian polar ices with the atmosphere. The large part of it is about observations and modeling of cryo-venting – exactly what Planet Four is about. Another part is about polar clouds that are created at times when seasonal polar caps sublimate in spring.

Why are you interested in Mars?

I find Mars exciting because despite it is an alien and still mostly unknown world it it similar enough to our home planet and it can be reached by humans in not too remote future. Feels nice to work towards that goal.

What is your favorite movie?

“Into the wild” directed by Sean Penn

What is your favorite book?

This one is the toughest questions for me! I can probably reduce my absolute favorites to 3: “Definitely Maybe” by Strugatsky brothers (Soviet time SciFi novel), “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov, and “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel García Márquez. They are so different that it is hard even to compare them, not speaking of ranking…

What is the song you currently can’t get out of your head?

“Rock’n’roll Nerd” by Tim Minchin

What three albums would you bring with you to a desert island?

Something jazzy, like Jeff Healey “Among friends”, something with a swing like Robbie Williams “Swing when you are winning”, and something good for dancing on the beach like DLG’s “Gotcha!”, but I’d rather have a radio!

Favorite cocktail or beverage?

Since I have moved to Boulder – definitely beer.

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