January 8, 2019
Nature reporter Alexandra Witze highlights the TESS satellite’s success in uncovering new exoplanets outside our solar system. Senior research scientist George Ricker feels, “TESS works better than team members had dared to dream,” Witze writes, adding that “its four cameras can see objects 20% fainter, and focus more sharply, than originally expected.”
Writing for Forbes, research affiliate Thomas Davenport examines the feasibility of robot taxation based on a debate at MIT Technology Review’s Emtech Next conference. “At some point we may need to replace the tax revenue from human jobs lost to automation,” writes Daveport. “If that day ever comes, I hope that the tax revenues issue is the most critical one we have to deal with.”
Axios reporter Eileen Drage O’Reilly highlights how Prof. Feng Zhang and his colleagues have developed a new system that uses “jumping genes” to improve the accuracy of gene editing. “This is filling a gap we couldn't address before, to be able to insert DNA into the genome," says Zhang of the ability to insert large genomes in a directed way.
Researchers from MIT and other institutions have developed a new model for autism research that could enable new therapies and treatments, reports the Xinhua news agency. The model could “provide a basis for a deeper understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms of autism and the development of more transformative therapeutics.”
In an article for Fast Company, Charles Fishman explores how MIT researchers pioneered the use of integrated circuits, technology that is an integral component of today’s digital technologies, in the Apollo 11 computer. “MIT, NASA, and the race to the Moon laid the very foundation of the digital revolution, of the world we all live in,” writes Fishman.
Boston Globe reporter Martin Finucane writes that a team of scientists, including MIT researchers, has uncovered evidence of a large mass, which could be the metallic core of an asteroid, under a crater on the dark side of the moon. “The results of this study provide new information on the violent history of our nearest celestial neighbor,” explains Prof. Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research.
Daily Beast reporter David Axe spotlights graduate student Guillermo Bernal’s work developing virtual reality avatars that can convey realistic human emotions. “As this medium moves forward, this and other tools are what will help the field of virtual reality expand from a medium of surface-level experience to one of deep, emotionally compelling human-to-human connection,” Bernal explains.