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Boston Business Journal

MIT announced five projects "targeting the world's toughest climate riddles" that were selected following a rigorous two-year competition, reports Benjamin Kail for Boston Business Journal. “Climate Grand Challenges represents a whole-of-MIT drive to develop game-changing advances to confront the escalating climate crisis, in time to make a difference,” says President L. Rafael Reif.

EOS

A study conducted by Prof. Susan Solomon and her colleagues has found that unlike CFCs, smoke destroys the ozone in a more roundabout way, creating concerns due to the impact of the Australian bushfires of 2019-2020, reports Krystal Vasquez for EOS. “Because of the sheer scale of the event [the Australian bushfires] massive amounts of smoke penetrated the normally pristine upper stratosphere,” writes Vasquez.

Science

A campaign led by RRS Discovery, and Prof. Raffaele Ferrari has found that deep-ocean water rises due to the turbulence created by undersea mountains, reports Paul Voosen for Science. “The turbulence that was found tended to grow with depth. Like a spoon stirring milk into coffee, it was driving water down, not up, says Ferrari,” writes Voosen.

Wired

Prof. Sara Seager has been awarded one of NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) awards, which will help fund her project aimed at sending an orbiter that deploys an inflatable probe to Venus, as part of an effort to search for habitability or signs of life, reports Ramin Skibba for Wired. “This search for signs of life on Venus has been around for a long time, and now the stars are aligned to start taking it seriously,” says Seager.

The Wall Street Journal

Prof. Susan Solomon speaks with Wall Street Journal reporter Nidhi Subbaraman about her research and another recent study that provides evidence wildfire smoke poses a threat to the ozone layer. “It’s fair to say that, at least for a few months, these wildfires canceled out the last decade of all the efforts that we put in over the Montreal Protocol,” says Solomon. “I think there’s every reason to believe this is going to happen more often, and it’s going to act to slow down the recovery of the ozone depletion.”

Forbes

Forbes contributor David Bressan writes that a new study by MIT researchers proposes that oxygen began accumulating in early Earth’s atmosphere due to interactions between marine microbes and minerals in ocean sediments. The researchers hypothesize that “these interactions helped prevent oxygen from being consumed, setting off a self-amplifying process where more and more oxygen was made available to accumulate in the atmosphere,” writes Bressan.

The Hill

Smoke from Australian wildfires in 2019 and 2020 appears to have contributed to the breakdown of the ozone layer, according to a new study by MIT scientists, reports Sharon Udasin for The Hill. “The new study establishes the first direct link between wildfire smoke and ozone depletion,” writes Udasin. 

The Daily Beast

Daily Beast reporter Miriam Fauzia writes that a new study by MIT scientists finds that smoke particles from wildfires are slowing the recovery of the ozone layer.

BBC News

BBC News correspondent Helen Briggs writes that MIT scientists have found that increasing wildfires may slow the recovery of the ozone layer. "All the hard work that the world went to to reduce chlorofluorocarbons (ozone-depleting chemicals once used in aerosol sprays) is not paying off as well in the areas that experience extreme wildfires," explains Prof. Susan Solomon. "The best hope would be that we reduce global warming gases also and stop increasing the wildfires, but that's obviously more difficult."

The Guardian

A new study by MIT scientists finds that smoke emitted into the atmosphere from Australian wildfires in 2019 and 2020 resulted in depletion of the ozone layer, reports Donna Lu for The Guardian. The findings suggest “rising fire intensity and frequency due to the climate crisis may slow the recovery of the ozone layer.”

The New York Times

One year after NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars, scientists are preparing to investigate a dried-up river delta along the west rim of the Jezero crater to search for rocks and microscopic fossils, reports Kenneth Chang for The New York Times. If Perseverance undercovers fossils, “we have to start asking whether some globs of organic matter are arranged in a shape that outlines a cell,” says Prof. Tanja Bosak.

NBC News

Prof. Sara Seager speaks with Tom Metcalfe of NBC News about the Venus Life Finder missions, which will carry a robotic space payload partially funded by MIT alumni to Venus to search for signs of life in the planet's atmosphere. “Space is becoming cheaper in general, and there is more access to space than ever before,” says Seager. 

NBC News

Researchers from MIT and Princeton University have found that flooding events will become much more common by the end of the century, especially in New England, reports Evan Bush for NBC. “The researchers used computer modeling to stimulate thousands of ‘synthetic’ hurricanes toward the end of this century and in a scenario where greenhouse gas emissions are very high,” writes Bush.

Newsweek

TESS, a NASA mission led and operated by MIT, has discovered over 5,000 planets candidates outside of our solar system, reports Ed Browne for Newsweek. “This time last year, TESS had found just over 2,400 TOIs (TESS Objects of Interest),” says postdoctoral associate Michelle Kunimoto. “Today, TESS has reached more than twice that number – a huge testament to the mission and all the teams scouring the data for new planets.”

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Nikita Amir writes that a new study co-authored by MIT researchers finds has identified a chemical pathway by which life could make a home for itself in Venus’ toxic clouds by producing ammonia. “Life on Venus, if it exists, is not like life on Earth,” says research affiliate Janusz Petkowski. “It’s life as we don’t know it. The only question is, to what degree it is different?”