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Aeronautical and astronautical engineering

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The Hill

The Venus Life Finder (VLF) developed by scientists at MIT will be launched on a Rocket lab Electronic in May of 2023 to search for life in the upper atmosphere of Venus, reports Mark R. Whittington for The Hill. “When it plunges into Venus’ atmosphere it will use an instrument called the ‘autofluorescing nephelometer’ that will use a laser to illuminate organic molecules that may or may not exist 50 kilometers above the planet’s surface,” writes Whittington.

Los Angeles Times

Prof. Dava Newman, director of the MIT Media Lab, speaks with Los Angeles Times reporter Samantha Masunaga about the delay of the Artemis 1 moon mission. “We don’t take chances, especially on such a huge, powerful rocket,” said Newman, a former NASA deputy administrator. “Everything has to work perfectly.”

CBS Boston

Prof. Paulo Lozano speaks with CBS Boston about the Artemis 1 moon mission and the reasons behind the recent launch delays. "It's very exciting because the last time we were on the moon was during the Apollo years and we didn't stay. Our current generation has just a vague memory of that," says Lozano. "All we learn by going to the moon we can apply to go to other places in the solar system."

The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Pranshu Verma highlights how MIT researchers have demonstrated that the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) can convert carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen on Mars. “It’s what explorers have done since time immemorial,” explains Prof. Jeffrey Hoffman. “Find out what resources are available where you’re going to and find out how to use them.”

The Boston Globe

MIT researchers have used the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) to successfully generate oxygen on Mars, reports Martin Finucane for The Boston Globe. “This is the first demonstration of actually using resources on the surface of another planetary body and transforming them chemically into something that would be useful for a human mission,” says Prof. Jeffrey Hoffman. “It’s historic in that sense.”

The Guardian

MIT researchers’ Mars Oxygen in-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) has been successfully generating breathable oxygen on Mars, reports The Guardian. “It is hoped that at full capacity the system could generate enough oxygen to sustain humans once they arrive on Mars, and fuel a rocket to return humans to Earth,” writes The Guardian.

VICE

The MIT MOXIE experiment, which traveled to Mars aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover, has been able to create oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, reports Sarah Wells for Vice. “This experiment is also the first to successfully harvest and use resources on any planetary body, a process that will be important not only for Martian exploration but future lunar habitats as well,” writes Wells.

CNN

CNN reporters Katie Hunt and Ashley Strickland spotlight how the MIT-led Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) has been successfully generating oxygen on Mars during seven experimental test runs in a variety of atmospheric conditions. “A scaled up MOXIE would include larger units that could run continuously and potentially be sent to Mars ahead of a human mission to produce oxygen at the rate of several hundred trees,” they write. “This would allow the generation -- and storage -- of enough oxygen to both sustain humans once they arrive and fuel a rocket for returning astronauts back to Earth.”

Bloomberg

Bloomberg News reporter Martine Paris writes that the MIT MOXIE experiment has been converting carbon dioxide from the Martian environment into oxygen since the Perseverance rover landed on Mars. “Seven times last year, throughout the Martian seasons, Moxie was able to produce about six grams (0.2 ounces) of oxygen per hour,” writes Paris.

New Scientist

During day and night, in the wake of a dust storm and in extreme temperatures, the MIT-led Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) was able to generate about 100 minutes of breathable oxygen in 2021 on Mars, reports Jacklin Kawn for New Scientist. “At the highest level, this is just a brilliant success,” said Michael Hecht, principal investigator of the MOXIE mission at MIT’s Haystack Observatory.

The Boston Globe

Reporting for The Boston Globe, Hanna Kreuger highlights a graph documenting the atmospheric conditions of the exoplanet WASP-96b, which NASA included in its first release of images from the James Webb Space Telescope. Describing it as “perhaps the image that showcases Webb’s greatest triumph,” Krueger notes that the graph was created using an equation developed by Prof. Sara Seager. Seager and her team will use the telescope to peer into TRAPPIST-1e, an exoplanet widely considered to be potentially Earth-like and habitable, adds Krueger.

Fast Company

Ariel Ekblaw, director of the Space Exploration Initiative and founder of the Aurelia Institute, speaks with Fast Company reporter Rachael Zisk about accessibility needs for human spaceflight and the next generation of space stations. “The goal of democratizing access to space is to allow more people around the world to see themselves in that future,” says Ekblaw. 

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater spotlights multiple MIT research projects, including MIT Space Exploration Initiative’s TESSERAE, CSAIL’s Robocraft and the recent development of miniature flying robotic drones.

WBZ Radio

The new Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel at MIT, which is capable of reaching wind speeds of up to 230 miles per hour, provides a controlled environment to measure the aerodynamics of an object, reports Matt Shearer for WBZ. "Everybody turns into a little kid when they get into a wind tunnel," says Prof. Mark Drela.

The Washington Post

William E. Stoney Jr. ’49, MS ’62, an aeronautical engineer who made great contributions in developing early rockets during NASA’s space race and lead engineering on the Apollo program died at the age of 96 on May 28, 2022, reports Emily Langer for The Washington Post. Stoney “served in top engineering roles during the Apollo program, whose signal accomplishment was the moon landing by astronaut Neil Armstrong in 1969,” writes Langer. “That year, Mr. Stoney received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for his work on the Apollo mission.”