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Aeronautics and Astronautics

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Stat

Emily Calandrelli SM ’13 speaks with STAT reporter Pratibha Gopalakrishna about her work aimed at getting children interested in science, the importance of representation in the STEM fields, and her new Netflix show. “I don’t shy away from the science because I think kids are very clever and know way more than a lot of people give them credit for,” says Calandrelli.

USA Today

Institute Prof. Sheila Widnall, the first woman to lead the Air Force, and Linguistics alumna Jessie “Little Doe” Baird, an indigenous language preservationist, are two of the 10 accomplished women chosen to represent Massachusetts in USA Today’s Women of the Century series, reports Nicole Simmons. Baird was also included in the paper’s nationwide list of 100 Women of the Century.  

Forbes

Writing for Forbes, Prof. David Mindell highlights a new report by MIT researchers that explores the future of automation. “We can imagine cities jammed with single-occupant autonomous cars, or we can imagine flexible, high-throughput mixed modal systems that benefit from autonomous technologies,” writes Mindell. “What comes to pass is up to us, and will be shaped by policy choices we make today.”

WGBH

In this WGBH documentary, Prof. Jeff Hoffman, a former astronaut, discusses what inspired him to pursue a career in space exploration and recounts his experiences voyaging in space. “There is something very, very powerful about looking at the Earth from the outside,” says Hoffman. “It’s a different place than when you are actually standing on it.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Darrell Etherington writes that MIT researchers have developed a system that can predict a perso's trajectory. The tool could allow “robots that typically freeze in the face of anything even vaguely resembling a person walking in their path to continue to operate and move around the flow of human foot traffic."

HealthDay News

HealthDay reporter Robert Preidt writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that long stays in space can cause spinal muscles to shrink and become fatty. “As NASA plans for future missions to Mars and beyond, these results can be used to guide future countermeasures,” says graduate student Katelyn Burkhart.

Space.com

Prof. Dava Newman highlighted the potential concrete benefits and cultural impact of successfully landing on Mars during her commentary before a Senate subcommittee, reports Meghan Bartels for Space.com. “We get humans there with all our great science, it will just lift us up,” said Newman.

CNN

Aerobotics, a startup by MIT alumnus James Paterson ’14 aims to optimize crop yields and reduce costs for farmers by using an app to analyze images of the land. “Satellite footage is used to highlight longer-term trends, while drones are flown at specific points during the season to get more detailed information,” write Eleni Giokos and Mary McDougall for CNN Tech.

PBS NewsHour

In this PBS NewsHour article and video, Nsikan Akpan spotlights Prof. Paulo Lozano’s work developing tiny satellites equipped with ion thrusters that could eventually help researchers explore asteroids or Mars. Prof. Kristina Lemmer of Western Michigan University notes that Lozano’s system, “is probably the frontrunner for the possibility for deep space missions.” 

Science

Prof. Warren Hoburg speaks with Jeffrey Mervis of Science about his decision to leave MIT to join NASA’s 2017 class of astronauts. He explains that he is working on ensuring his students can continue their research. “I think we have a bunch of ideas that are really powerful, and I want to set up my students to continue that research.”

Essence

Paula Rogo of Essence writes that MIT senior Tiera Guinn, who currently works as a Rocket Structural Design and Analysis Engineer for NASA, is making history before she graduates. “She is showing us that you can aim for the stars, literally,” writes Rogo. 

The Huffington Post

Before she even graduates from MIT, senior Tiera Guinn is working for NASA’s Space Launch System, writes Zahara Hill of The Huffington Post. Guinn, who designs and analyzes parts for the rocket that will transport people to Mars, advises young girls with similar aspirations to “look forward to your dream and you can’t let anybody get in the way of it.”

The Wall Street Journal

In an article for The Wall Street Journal, Jo Craven McGinty highlights a study by researchers from MIT and Harvard that calculated the damage caused by Volkwagen cheating on emissions standards tests. “We estimated the vehicles affected were driven 40.5 billion kilometers from 2008,” explains Prof. Steven Barrett. 

WGBH

Alvar Saenz-Otero, director of the Space Systems Laboratory, speaks with WGBH Radio’s Edgar Herwick about the problem of space debris. Otero and his team are “refining a system that would enable a spacecraft to match the spin of a piece of space junk, capture it, and haul it out of orbit.”

Wired

Wired reporter Sarah Zhang reports on how MIT researchers developed a new computer model that they used to examine the public health impacts of Volkswagen cheating on emissions standards tests. Zhang explains that the researchers’ model “allows scientists to estimate the impact of extra NOx in any 50 km by 50 km square of the world.”