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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, 

Space.com

Space.com reporter Mike Wall writes that a new study co-authored by MIT scientists finds that the Jezero crater on Mars previously hosted a big lake and river delta. “The newly analyzed photos may provide an intriguing glimpse” into Mars’ transformation to a dry landscape,” writes Wall.

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.”

WBUR

WBUR’s Erin Trahan spotlights “Space Torah,” a short film that tells the “story of former NASA astronaut Jeff Hoffman (and current MIT professor) who read from a Torah he brought onboard one of his space missions.” The film will be shown online and in-person at the Museum of Science November 7-21.

Popular Mechanics

Researchers from MIT and other institutions have been able to observationally confirm one of Stephen Hawking’s theorems about black holes, measuring gravitational waves before and after a black hole merger to provide evidence that a black hole’s event horizon can never shrink, reports Caroline Delbert for Popular Mechanics. “This cool analysis doesn't just show an example of Hawking's theorem that underpins one of the central laws affecting black holes,” writes Delbert, “it shows how analyzing gravitational wave patterns can bear out statistical findings.”

Wired

Michael Hecht of MIT’s Haystack Observatory speaks with Eric Niiler of Wired about how the Mars MOXIE experiment is successfully extracting oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. "It’s stunning how much the results look identical to what we had run in the laboratory two years earlier,” says Hecht, who leads the MOXIE team. “How many things can you put away for two years and turn on and even expect to work again? I mean, try that with your bicycle.”

Forbes

Writing for Forbes, Prof. David Mindell memorializes the life and work of astronaut Michael Collins, a member of the Apollo 11 crew. “Thanks to Michael Collins, future generations can visit Air and Space, marvel at the Apollo 11 Command Module he piloted, and learn how astronauts pee,” writes Mindell. “Soaring exploration and humble humanity: a fitting legacy for Mike Collins.”

GBH

Michael Hecht of MIT’s Haystack Observatory speaks with GBH’s Edgar Herwick about how the MIT-designed MOXIE instrument has successfully extracted oxygen out of Martian air. “I've been using the expression ‘a small breath for man, a giant leap for humankind,'” says Hecht, who served as the PI for MOXIE.

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Charlie McKenna spotlights how MOXIE, an MIT-designed instrument onboard NASA’s Perseverance rover, has successfully produced oxygen on Mars. “What’s amazing to me is that this instrument has been through two years of kind of brutal treatment, right? And it’s behaving as if nothing happened, as if we just turned it off and turned it on again right away,” says Michael Hecht of MIT’s Haystack Observatory.

The Boston Globe

Alumnus Theodore “Teddy” Tzanetos, SB ’12, SM ’13 speaks with Boston Globe reporter Charlie McKenna about the Ingenuity helicopter’s successful first flight on Mars. “It’s a dream come true to be working on this project for all these years and be even more lucky that the whole team is able to see it come to fruition,” says Tzanetos. “We all are hoping this is going to be a stepping stone, a foundation for future missions to come.”

New Scientist

In a conversation with New Scientist reporter Jonathan O’Callaghan, Prof. Tanja Bosak discusses her work with the NASA Perseverance rover’s rock reconnaissance mission. “In the middle of a pandemic, I think we needed something good to happen, and that’s why so many people wanted all the science and engineering that goes into landing a rover on Mars to succeed,” says Bosak. “As for what will happen when the samples come back – I can’t imagine. It’s going to be otherworldly.”

Ars Technica

Alumnus David Oh ’91, SM ’93, ScD ’97 speaks with Ars Technica reporter Eric Berger about his work serving as the technical lead for NASA’s Psyche mission, a robotic spacecraft that is set to voyage to a metallic asteroid using a propulsion technology called Hall thrusters. Berger writes that Oh, who worked on Hall thrusters as a graduate student at MIT, is “eager to learn whether Psyche may be the core of something that could have become a planet during the early days of our Solar System but ultimately didn't.”

Boston Globe

Alumna Farah Alibay PhD ’14 speaks with Boston Globe reporter Charlie McKenna about her work with the Ingenuity helicopter, an experiment aimed at achieving flight on Mars. “If we are able to demonstrate flight, it could open up possibilities, incredible possibilities for future missions that could be scout helicopters for rovers or science helicopters for exploring Mars,” says Alibay. “It just opens up aerial explorations of Mars, then possibly other planets, too.”

The Washington Post

Prof. Sara Seager speaks with Washington Post reporter Timothy Bella about the search for exoplanets and the James Webb Telescope. “I just remember seeing the stars and being overwhelmed by the beauty and the vastness and the mysteriousness of it,” recalled Seager, of a camping trip with her father that helped inspire her interest in space. “There’s something almost terrifying about it at the same time as it being so beautiful, because yeah, it’s so unknown, and it seems like it goes on forever.”