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WBUR

Marcos Berríos ‘06, Christina Birch PhD ‘15 and Christopher Williams PhD ’12 have been selected as part of NASA’s 2021 astronaut candidate class, reports WBUR’s Bill Chappell. “Alone, each candidate has ‘the right stuff,’ but together they represent the creed of our country: E pluribus unum – out of many, one,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

The Boston Globe

Marcos Berríos ‘06, Christina Birch PhD ‘15, Christopher Williams PhD ‘12 are among the ten astronauts selected for the 2021 NASA astronaut class, reports Breanna Kovatch for The Boston Globe. “The class of astronauts were selected from among 12,000 candidates and is the first class in four years,” writes Kovatch.

CNN

CNN reporter Ashley Strickland writes that NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), an MIT-led mission, has discovered an exoplanet approximately the size of Mars where a year lasts for about eight hours. “Astronomers are eager to learn more about these small planets that quickly spin around their stars in less than 24 hours because they are not sure how they form and end up in such an extreme orbit,” writes Strickland.


 

Newsweek

A team of astronomers, including MIT researchers, has discovered an ultrahot Jupiter that orbits its star in just 16 hours, reports Robert Lea for Newsweek. “Ultrahot Jupiters such as TOI-2109b constitute the most extreme subclass of exoplanet,” explains former MIT postdoc Ian Wong. “We have only just started to understand some of the unique physical and chemical processes that occur in their atmospheres – processes that have no analogs in our own solar system.” 

The Boston Globe

Andy Rivkin ’91 speaks with Boston Globe reporter Andrew Brinker about his work on NASA’s DART mission, which is aimed at testing whether a rocket could be used to help steer an asteroid away from Earth. “I’ve always been interested in stars and space and planets since I was a kid,” said Rivkin. “At MIT, I was in the earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences department, and that’s when I started looking at asteroids. And then as a graduate student, I studied asteroids. And then I ended up doing my dissertation on them. It sort of all started [at MIT].”

WBUR

Prof. Jeffrey A. Hoffman will be featured in the Boston Jewish Film Festival in a new documentary called “Space Torah,” reports WBUR writer Erin Trahan. The documentary includes some of Hoffman’s proudest moments as an astronaut, “a brief history of human space exploration [and] how Hoffman turned his intergalactic childhood wonder into a remarkable career,” writes Trahan.

CNN

Astronaut Raja Chari SM ‘01 was among the four astronauts on the Crew-3 mission that departed Wednesday for a six-month science and research mission, reports CNN writer Jackie Wattles. “The research the Crew-3 astronauts will oversee includes an attempt to grow a ‘perfect crystal’ to enhance our understanding of biological processes, a test of the impact of diet on astronaut health, and the testing of a smartphone video guidance sensor for guidance, navigation, and control of the Astrobee free-flying robot,” explains Wattles.

Wired

Wired reporter Sarah Scoles spotlights how graduate students Thomas Abitante and Rachel Bellisle, both Draper Scholars, are developing new spacesuits and muscle toning devices that could help keep astronauts healthy while in space. “We need to make sure they're as healthy as possible,” says Abitante. “But we can't really add more exercise. So what else can we add?”

Los Angeles Times

Xin Liu SM ’17, art curator for the Media Lab’s Space Exploration Initiative, speaks with Los Angeles Times reporter Deborah Vankin about her work “Living Distance,” which is on display as part of the “Synthetic Wilderness” installation at Culver City’s Honor Fraser Gallery. “‘Living Distance’ is both a personal fantasy and a serious space mission,” says Liu. “A wisdom tooth is sent to outer space and back down to Earth again. Carried by the crystalline robotic sculpture, the tooth becomes a newborn entity in outer space.”

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.

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.