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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 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.

HuffPost

HuffPost reporter Mary Papenfuss writes that a team of archeologists and scientists, including Research Scientist Jahandar Ramezani, have uncovered evidence of social behaviors in dinosaurs. “The bones were segregated by age, with eggs in a common nesting ground,” writes Papenfuss. “Juveniles likely were left in ‘schools’ while adults foraged.”

Scientific American

Research scientist Jahandar Ramezani speaks with Scientific American reporter Christopher Intagliata about his new study that provides evidence early dinosaurs exhibited herding behavior. “This is a critical time in the evolution of dinosaurs. This is pretty early on,” says Ramezani. “So the idea is: this type of behavior, this social behavior, may have actually contributed to the evolutionary success of dinosaurs.”

Forbes

Forbes contributor Bruce Dorminey writes that a new study by MIT scientists finds that the surfaces of carbonaceous asteroids may be much more rocky than previously thought. “This news is important for planetary science because we need to sample asteroids to answer fundamental questions such as how the solar system formed and how life came to be on Earth, says postdoctoral fellow Saverio Cambioni.

GBH

Prof. Taylor Perron, a recipient of one of this year’s MacArthur fellowships, speaks with Callie Crossley of GBH’s Under the Radar about his work studying the mechanisms that shape landscapes on Earth and other planets. “We try to figure out how we can look at landscapes and read them, and try to figure out what happened in the past and also anticipate what might happen in the future,” says Perron of his work as a geomorphologist.

Popular Science

Researchers from MIT and other institutions have uncovered evidence that early dinosaurs may have lived in social herds, reports Kate Baggaley for Popular Science. “People have known for a long time that the more advanced dinosaurs, the ones that lived in the late Jurassic and Cretaceous, especially the large sauropods…moved and lived in herds,” explains research scientist Jahandar Ramezani. “But the question has always been, when did this behavior start?”

Forbes

Forbes contributor David Bressan writes that a new study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that images taken by the Perseverance rover show that Mars’ Jezero crater was once a lake. “The fine-grained clay and carbonate layers deposited in the fossil lake are capped by a diamict, a sedimentary rock consisting of a mix of large and small boulders,” writes Bressan. “Scientists think the boulders were picked up tens of miles upstream and deposited into the former lakebed by episodic flash floods, suggesting a catastrophic climate change in Mars' distant past.”

Popular Science

Prof. Tanja Bosak and Prof. Benjamin Weiss speak with Popular Science reporter Kate Baggaley about how their analysis of images captured by NASA’s Perseverance rover found that the Jezero crater was once a lake and river delta. “The geological history of the Jezero crater could help scientists understand how the Red Planet changed from being wet and possibly habitable into a harsh desert world,” writes Baggaley. “Definitely we hit the jackpot here,” says Weiss, 

CNN

Researchers from MIT and other institutions analyzed images captured by NASA’s Perseverance rover and found that Mars’ Jezero crater was a lake 3.7 billion years ago, reports Ashley Strickland for CNN. “The new information shows the importance of sending rovers to explore the surface of Mars,” writes Strickland. “Previous images captured by orbiters had shown that this outcrop resembled the kind of fan-shaped river deltas we have on Earth. Perseverance's images show definitive proof of the river delta's existence.”

Forbes

Forbes contributor Michael T. Nietzel spotlights the work of Prof. Taylor Perron, who was awarded a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship. “By using mathematical modeling, computer simulations, and field studies, Perron is able to describe the environmental history of current landscapes and predict how landscapes will respond to future environmental changes," writes Nietzel.

CBS Boston

CBS Boston spotlights how Prof. Taylor Perron has been honored with a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship for his work “unraveling the mechanisms that create landscapes on Earth and other planets.” CBS Boston notes that Perron is “currently studying river networks on Mars and one of Saturn’s moons for clues about the climate history of each celestial body.”

The Washington Post

Prof. Taylor Perron has been named a recipient of the 2021 MacArthur Fellowship for his work investigating the processes that create a planet’s landforms, reports Ellen McCarthy for The Washington Post.

VICE

Vice reporter Becky Ferreira writes that a study by MIT scientists examining extreme climate events in the Earth’s history finds that as the planet warms we could be more susceptible to volatile climate extremes. “I think these results emphasize that Earth's long-term evolution is governed by complex, potentially amplifying mechanisms that we do not yet fully understand,” explains graduate student Constantin Arnscheidt. 

Inside Science

Inside Science reporter Tom Metcalfe writes that MIT researchers have developed a new method for taking the Earth’s temperature by examining basaltic rocks, and used the method to create a model of the Earth's oceanic ridges. "We are constantly stressing how [plate] tectonics operated in the past," says postdoc Stephanie Brown Krein. "And so I think it's really important for us to be able to understand how tectonics are working in the present day.”