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Mashable

Xin Liu SM ’17, art curator for the Media Lab’s Space Exploration Initiative, and Pat Pataranutaporn, a graduate student, speak with Mashable video producer Teodosia Dobriyanova about why sending plastic-eating bacteria to space could aid sustainability efforts. “We envision that in the future when astronauts, as they travel deeper into space, they’ll need to do what we call in-situ resource utilization,” says Pataranutaporn. “So using the materials that already exists there, in this case plastic waste, to upcycle it into new materials.”

The Wall Street Journal

Graduate student Matthew Groh discusses Detect Fakes, a research project he co-created aimed at teaching people how to detect deepfakes, with Wall Street Journal reporter Ann-Marie Alcántara. Groh recommends people pay attention to the context of an image or video, noting that people can “pay attention to incentives and what someone is saying and why someone might be saying this.”

The Washington Post

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station completed an experiment to test a system developed by researchers from MIT’s Space Exploration Initiative that would allow astronauts to build parts in space, reports Pranshu Verma for The Washington Post. The new system could allow astronauts to build and modify space stations “quicker, cheaper and with less complexity,” explains Ariel Ekblaw, director and founder of the Space Exploration Initiative. “It starts to unlock more opportunities for exploration.”

The Wall Street Journal

Alex Westner SM ’98 founded Xander, a company that uses augmented reality in personalized glasses to provide real-time closed captions for people with hearing loss, reports Dalvin Brown for The Wall Street Journal. “The glasses have an embedded display on the right side, where text appears almost as quickly as it’s picked up by a built-in microphone,” writes Brown. “There’s no wireless connection – all processing happens within the glasses.”

Popular Science

MIT researchers developed a new system to build gravity-defying spare parts in space that is currently being tested aboard the International Space Station, reports Rahul Rao for Popular Science. “The MIT group’s process involves taking a flexible silicone skin, shaped like the part it will eventually create, and filling it with a liquid resin,” writes Rao. “These are going to be our first results for a really novel process in microgravity,” explains Ariel Ekblaw SM ’17, PhD ’20, director of the Space Exploration Initiative.

Forbes

Harry McNamara PhD ’19, David Heller ’18, and Shara Ticku co-founded C16 Biosciences, a biotechnology company that uses synthetic biology to address environmental concerns, reports John Cumbers for Forbes. The company “wants to replace conflict palm oil with a sustainable alternative made in yeast using precision fermentation,” writes Cumbers.

Vox

Vox reporter Kelsey Piper writes that a new report by Prof. Kevin Esvelt provides a roadmap for how to prepare for the next pandemic. In the report, Esvelt emphasizes that: “We’re not helpless, whether against nature or malign actions by human beings. We do have to invest in actually being prepared, but if we’re prepared, we could weather even a worst-case scenario: a deliberate release of a human-made virus engineered to be both extra deadly and extra contagious.”

Fortune

Fortune reporter Gabby Shacknai spotlights Joy Buolamwini PhD ’22 and her research in racial bias in AI. “After finishing grad school, Biolamwini decided to continue her research on A.I.’s racial bias and quickly realized that much of this was a result of the non-diverse datasets and imagery used by a disproportionately white, male tech workforce to train A.I. and inform its algorithms,” writes Shacknai.

Popular Science

SeedLabs is working with a team including the MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative to test out “microbes’ capabilities in space, potentially providing important advancements for both pollution reduction on earth as well as uses for astronauts during future lunar and Maritain explorations,” reports Andrew Paul for Popular Science.

Fast Company

The MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative is working with SeedLabs, the environmental division of Seed Health, to study how microbes perform in space. “Along with testing how the microbes perform in a zero-gravity, high UV radiation-environment, the experiment could also be the starting point to exploring a future in which astronauts have a system to recycle their plastic waste and turn it into new materials,” reports Kristin Toussaint for Fast Company.  

Gizmodo

Gizmodo spotlights Jens Andersen’s book “The Lego Story,” which explores how MIT researchers worked on the development of LEGO’s buildable robotics kits. Former president and CEO of Lego, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen’s “faith in the concept of learning through play took a big leap forward in the late 1980s, when LEGO and the MIT Media Lab developed software for LEGO’s own models in the LEGO Technic line,” writes Andersen.

Bloomberg

Prof. Danielle Wood speaks with Bloomberg about the future of space technology and sustainability. Wood explains that she and her team are focused on developing a “space sustainability rating, which is a method to incentivize organizations to actually do what they can to reduce space debris now in Earth’s orbit.” 

New Scientist

Prof. Kevin Esvelt speaks with New Scientist reporter Michael Le Page about his work outlining a roadmap to help counter the risk posed by pandemic terrorism. “The message is, this is serious but this is totally solvable,” says Esvelt.

Forbes

Researchers from the MIT Space Exploration Initiative are sending two payloads to the moon with Lunar Outpost, a space technology company, reports Arianna Johnson for Forbes. “The Resource camera will generate 3-3 images of different lunar points of interest,” writes Johnson. “The second payload is the AstroAnt, a miniature rover the size of a matchbox that will drive atop the MAPP rover and take contactless measurements of the rover’s radiator.”  

Fortune

Jamie Karraker BS ’12 MS ’13 co-founded Alto Pharmacy – a full-service, online pharmacy that aims to create a transparent, straightforward and user-friendly experience, reports Erika Fry for Fortune. “All patients need to do after seeing their doctor is interface with the app (or via text) and pick up the prescription from their front door,” writes Fry.