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The Atlantic

Prof. Jack Wisdom and his colleagues have found that Saturn’s rings are comprised of debris from its former moon, reports Marina Koren for The Atlantic. “The researchers say the moon’s demise was mostly Titan’s fault. The big moon jostled the smaller one, putting the object on a very elongated track around Saturn,” writes Koren.


Prof. Jack Wisdom and his colleagues have found that “Saturn’s rings are a result of a moon that was torn apart by the planet’s tidal forces about 160 million years ago,” reports Jamie Carter for Forbes. “Wisdom and his co-researchers have dubbed the moon Chrysalis after the process of Chrysalis transforming into a butterfly,” writes Carter.


Reuters reporter Will Dunham writes that scientists from MIT and other institutions have found that the destruction of a large moon, called Chrysalis, that “strayed too close to Saturn would account both for the birth of the gas giant planet's magnificent rings and its unusual orbital tilt of about 27 degrees.” Prof. Jack Wisdom explained that "as a butterfly emerges from a chrysalis, the rings of Saturn emerged from the primordial satellite Chrysalis.”


A new study co-authored by MIT scientists proposes that Saturn’s rings could have been created when a lost moon of Saturn’s became unstable and crashed into the planet, reports Katie Hunt for CNN. “While the gas giant likely swallowed 99% of the moon, the remainder became suspended in orbit, breaking into small icy chunks that ultimately formed the planet’s rings,” writes Hunt.

New Scientist

Prof. Jack Wisdom and his colleagues have found that Saturn may have acquired its tilt and rings from a lost moon that was destroyed, reports Leah Crane for New Scientist. “Simulations using data from the Cassini spacecraft shows that an additional moon between Titan and Iapetus, destroyed between 100 million and 200 million years ago, could explain both of these long-standing mysteries,” explains Crane.

Popular Science

Prof. Jack Wisdom is the lead author of a new study that proposes “Saturn and Neptune’s gravity may have once been in sync, but Saturn has since escaped Neptune’s pull due to a missing moon,” reports Laura Baisas for Popular Science.

Scientific American

As the early images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) were revealed in July 2022, astronomers such as Hubble Postdoctoral Scholar Rohan Naidu were able to uncover numerous galaxies within them, reports Jonathan O’Callaghan for Scientific American. Naidu recounts how an algorithm he developed “sifted out an object that, on closer inspection, was inexplicably massive and dated back to just 300 million years after the big bang, older than any galaxy ever seen before,” writes O’Callaghan.

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.

The Daily Beast

Prof. Sara Seager and her team have organized three  missions to Venus to search for signs of life in the clouds surrounding the planet, reports David Axe for the Daily Beast. Each mission “would fling a probe into the toxic planet’s acidic atmosphere and collect data on the presence, or absence, of something resembling life,” explains Axe.


Scientists from MIT and other institutions have detected the longest-lasting and most regular radio signal in the night sky, reports Jamie Carter for Forbes. “Scientists think that the radio signal may be coming from a neutron star—what remains of the collapsed core of a giant star after it’s exploded as a supernova,” explains Carter.


Astronomers from MIT and elsewhere have discovered radio signals in space that they believe to be coming from a neutron star, reports Tim Marcin for Mashable. “Using the CHIME (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment) radio telescope, astronomers noticed a strange FRB, or radio burst, from a far-off galaxy billions of light-years from Earth.”


Scientists from MIT and elsewhere have detected a series of fast radio bursts from a distant galaxy, reports Samantha Cole for Vice. “This detection raises the question of what could cause this extreme signal that we’ve never seen before, and how can we use this signal to study the universe,” says postdoctoral scholar Daniele Michilli. “Future telescopes promise to discover thousands of FRBs a month, and at that point we may find many more of these periodic signals.”

USA Today

A team of astronomers have identified a mysterious radio burst from a far-away galaxy, reports Wyatte Grantham-Philips for USA Today. “Imagine a very distant galaxy. And sometimes, some huge explosions happen that emit huge blasts of radio waves,” explains Daniele Michilli, who led the study and is a postdoc in MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. “We don’t know what these explosions are, (but) they are so powerful that we can see them from across the universe.”


Postdoctoral scholar Daniele Michilli and members of the CHIME/FRB Collaboration have discovered radio bursts from a galaxy billions of light-years away, reports Ashley Strickland for CNN. “The research team will continue to use CHIME to monitor the skies for more signals from the radio burst, as well as others with a similar, periodic signal,” writes Strickland, noting the work “could be used to help astronomers learn more about the rate of the universe’s expansion.”


Astronomers at MIT and elsewhere have picked up repeated radio signals from a galaxy billions of light-years away from Earth, reports Ayana Archie for NPR. “Scientists have not been able to pinpoint the exact location of the radio waves yet, but suspect the source could be neutron stars, which are made from collapsed cores of giant stars,” writes Archie.