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NASA astronaut Christopher Williams PhD '12 shares his excitement over the upcoming solar eclipse with Elizabeth Howell, noting he is most excited that the celestial event will provide unique views of the sun’s outer atmosphere. Williams previously conducted radio astronomy research and helped build the Murchison Widefield Array in Australia during his time at MIT. "It was an incredible experience, because I got to both work on the cosmology and the science behind that,” recalls Williams. 

The Daily Beast

Daily Beast reporter Meredith Bagby spotlights the life of Ron McNair PhD ’76 and his legacy as one of NASA’s first black astronauts. “Astronaut, saxophonist, and karate black belt Ron McNair overcame an impoverished childhood in segregated Lake City, South Carolina to earn a Ph.D. in physics from MIT and become one of NASA’s first Black astronauts,” writes Bagby. “Although Ron’s path to NASA was nearly derailed because of systematic racism and inequality, he found inspiration in the Black leaders around him and persevered.”


Ronald McNair PhD ’76 was a part of NASA’s class of 1978, which was the first group of astronauts to include women, people of color, and scientists, reports Alexandra Witze for Nature. The class of 1978 “was a time of huge change for NASA,” writes Witze. “It was time for a new type of astronaut for a new type of spaceship.”

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Tatyana Woodall writes that CSAIL researchers have developed electromagnetic bot blocks that can reconfigure into various shapes and could potentially help astronauts build in space. “The electromagnetic lining of the 3D printed frames allows cubes to seamlessly attract, repel, or even turn themselves off,” writes Wood. “One cube takes a little over an hour to make, and only costs 60 cents.”