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Aeronautical and astronautical engineering

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CNN

CNN’s Harmeet Kaur spotlights alumna Swati Mohan PhD ’10, who was the guidance and controls operations lead for NASA’s Mars 2020 mission and also served as the mission commentator. Kaur notes that Mohan, who first became intrigued by space while watching Star Trek as a child, was the “eyes and ears” for the historic landing.

Mashable

Alumna Swati Mohan PhD ’10 served as the mission commentator who confirmed that the NASA Perseverance rover had touched down on Mars last week, reports Mashable. “Mohan led the attitude control system of Mars 2020 during operations, and was the lead systems engineer throughout development. The attitude control system points the vehicle where it needs to be and helps figure out where the spacecraft is oriented in space.”

The Boston Globe

Speaking with Charlie McKenna of The Boston Globe, Michael Hecht, associate director of MIT’s Haystack Observatory, describes the elation he felt when the NASA Perseverance rover landed on Mars. “I would have expected … just a huge sigh of relief, but no, this was like somebody just scored the winning touchdown on a Hail Mary pass in the Super Bowl,” says Hecht. “It just was time to whoop and holler. It was extraordinary and every part of this was extraordinary.”

USA Today

USA Today reporter Elinor Aspegren highlights alumna Dr. Swati Mohan, who led guidance, navigation and controls operations for the NASA Perseverance landing on Mars.

WHDH 7

WHDH reporter Aisha Mbowe spotlights how the MIT-designed Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) is onboard NASA’s Perseverance rover.

CBS Boston

Profs. Tonja Bosak and Jeffrey Hoffman speak with CBS Boston about the successful landing of the NASA Perseverance rover on Mars. Hoffman says of the MIT-designed Mars MOXIE experiment: “we are going to demonstrate how to make oxygen on the surface of Mars…we want to learn how to produce that on the surface of Mars and that’s what Moxie is going to demonstrate for the first time.”

The Boston Globe

Michael Hecht, associate director of MIT’s Haystack Observatory, speaks with Charlie McKenna of The Boston Globe about the MIT-designed Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE). “If we could plant a tree on Mars, it would do what MOXIE is doing. But we can’t, so we build a machine to do it,” he said. “If we’re serious about having a presence on Mars and having a research base, we need a way to make oxygen.”

El Pais

Prof. Dava Newman speaks with Esther Paniagua of El País about her goals for her new role as director of the MIT Media Lab. “We want to accelerate positive change for people,” says Newman in this interview, which is in Spanish. “Trying to answer the big questions: equity, justice, inequality, climate and sustainability, people and communication, and education and learning.”

The Real

Alumna Tiera Fletcher ’17, a structural design engineer working on building NASA’s Space Launch System, and her husband Myron Fletcher speak with the hosts of The Real about what inspired them to pursue careers in aerospace engineering and their organization Rocket with the Fletchers, which is aimed at introducing underprivileged youth to the field of aerodynamics.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Devin Coldewey writes that Prof. Dava Newman has been selected as the new director of the MIT Media Lab. Coldewey notes that Newman is "starting off the job by emphasizing one of the best qualities a leader should have: listening to the people she’ll be leading.”

WBUR

Prof. Dava Newman speaks with WBUR’s Max Larkin about being selected as the new director of the MIT Media Lab. Larkin highlights how Newman, an aerospace engineer and former deputy administrator of NASA, “comes into the role with a stellar resume.” Newman remarks that “superstars and genius come in all forms and shapes.” As director, she says she hopes to celebrate the lab’s “‘infinite diversity in infinite combinations.’”

CBS News

CBS News reporter Sophie Lewis spotlights NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli '05 and Kate Rubins, a former researcher at MIT’s Whitehead Institute, noting that they are training for the upcoming Artemis missions, which will "send the first woman to walk on the moon."

Scientific American

Writing for Scientific American, Rebecca Boyle highlights how Prof. Dava Newman and graduate student Cody Paige are developing next-generation spacesuits from advanced materials. Boyle writes that Newman explains “future space suits have to be lightweight, easy to move in, and better at protecting astronauts from hazards such as micrometeorites and radiation.”

The Boston Globe

When NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft touched down on the asteroid Bennu, onboard was the REgolith X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS), a device built by students from MIT and Harvard, write Breanne Kovatch and Andrew Stanton for The Boston Globe. “We as scientists feel the drive of curiosity and the thrill of exploration and it’s humbling and satisfying to think that we can share that sense of exploration with the world,” explains Prof. Richard Binzel, a co-investigator for the mission.

Popular Mechanics

A new study by MIT researchers finds that St. Elmo’s Fire could help protect airplanes from lightning strikes, reports Caroline Delbert for Popular Mechanics. The researchers found that “the special kind of electrical charge can be used to place a protective and preemptive charge around airplanes in flight, and wind affects flying versus grounded vehicles in opposite ways.”