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Space, astronomy and planetary science

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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.

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.”

NBC Boston

Al Chen '00, SM '02, a NASA systems engineer, speaks with NBC Boston about the hidden surprises that NASA engineers hid on the Perseverance rover for NASA fans and science enthusiasts to uncover. “I was at MIT for six years, we loved coding things, Mystery Hunt is a big deal,” says Chen. “I think it's a little bit of a chance to bring the art and the engineering together.”

CNN

Postdoc Tansu Daylan speaks with CNN reporter Ada Wood about his work mentoring two high school students, and their discovery of four new exoplanets. "When it comes to studying by comparison — that is, studying the atmospheres of planets beyond the solar system around sun-like stars — this is probably one of the best targets that we will ever get," says Daylan.

GBH

"We are looking for remnants of past life," says Prof. Tanja Bosak in a discussion broadcast on GBH's Boston Public Radio of the NASA Perseverance rover’s mission on Mars. "There won't be anything that's a complex organism, so everything we have to look for is microscopic. All these rocks tell a story. Depending on their chemical properties and the way they look, we can tell a history and then decide which may have been good to preserve life."

Bloomberg Radio

Michael Hecht, associate director of MIT’s Haystack Observatory, speaks with Joe Shortsleeve of Bloomberg Radio about the MOXIE experiment onboard the NASA Perseverance rover.

CNN

CNN’s Harmeet Kaur spotlights alumna Swati Mohan PhD ’10, who was the guidance and controls operations lead for NASA’s Mars 2020 mission and also served as the mission commentator. Kaur notes that Mohan, who first became intrigued by space while watching Star Trek as a child, was the “eyes and ears” for the historic landing.

Mashable

Alumna Swati Mohan PhD ’10 served as the mission commentator who confirmed that the NASA Perseverance rover had touched down on Mars last week, reports Mashable. “Mohan led the attitude control system of Mars 2020 during operations, and was the lead systems engineer throughout development. The attitude control system points the vehicle where it needs to be and helps figure out where the spacecraft is oriented in space.”

The Boston Globe

Speaking with Charlie McKenna of The Boston Globe, Michael Hecht, associate director of MIT’s Haystack Observatory, describes the elation he felt when the NASA Perseverance rover landed on Mars. “I would have expected … just a huge sigh of relief, but no, this was like somebody just scored the winning touchdown on a Hail Mary pass in the Super Bowl,” says Hecht. “It just was time to whoop and holler. It was extraordinary and every part of this was extraordinary.”

USA Today

USA Today reporter Elinor Aspegren highlights alumna Dr. Swati Mohan, who led guidance, navigation and controls operations for the NASA Perseverance landing on Mars.

WHDH 7

WHDH reporter Aisha Mbowe spotlights how the MIT-designed Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) is onboard NASA’s Perseverance rover.

CBS Boston

Profs. Tonja Bosak and Jeffrey Hoffman speak with CBS Boston about the successful landing of the NASA Perseverance rover on Mars. Hoffman says of the MIT-designed Mars MOXIE experiment: “we are going to demonstrate how to make oxygen on the surface of Mars…we want to learn how to produce that on the surface of Mars and that’s what Moxie is going to demonstrate for the first time.”

The Boston Globe

Michael Hecht, associate director of MIT’s Haystack Observatory, speaks with Charlie McKenna of The Boston Globe about the MIT-designed Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE). “If we could plant a tree on Mars, it would do what MOXIE is doing. But we can’t, so we build a machine to do it,” he said. “If we’re serious about having a presence on Mars and having a research base, we need a way to make oxygen.”