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The Daily Beast

MIT researchers have developed a new water-free system that uses static electricity to clear dust from solar panels, reports Miriam Fauzia for The Daily Beast. “By using this technique, we can recover up to 95 percent of a solar panel’s power output,” explains graduate student Sreedath Panat.

New Scientist

New Scientist reporter Chen Ly writes that MIT researchers have developed a new technique that uses static electricity to remove the dust from solar panels, which could save around 45 billion liters of water annually. “I think water is a precious commodity that is very undervalued,” says Prof. Kripa Varanasi. “What I’m hoping is this will spur more people to think about water issues.”

The Daily Beast

MIT researchers have developed a solar-powered desalination system that “avoids salt buildup and could provide a family with continuous drinking water for only $4,” reports Miriam Fauzia for The Daily Beast. “The researchers hope to develop their device into something that can be mass produced and used by individuals and families, especially for those living in remote communities,” writes Fauzia.

The New York Times

One year after NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars, scientists are preparing to investigate a dried-up river delta along the west rim of the Jezero crater to search for rocks and microscopic fossils, reports Kenneth Chang for The New York Times. If Perseverance undercovers fossils, “we have to start asking whether some globs of organic matter are arranged in a shape that outlines a cell,” says Prof. Tanja Bosak.

The Boston Globe Magazine

Boston Globe Magazine reporter Courtney Humphries spotlights MIT startup Biobot Analytics, co-founded by Mariana Matus ’18 and Newsha Ghaeli ’17, for using their wastewater and sewage tracking technology to identify Covid -19 in communities across the United States. “Because people shed the virus in their stool before they test positive, Biobot’s data are often a leading indicator of where the infection is heading, arriving ahead of case counts by a few days,” writes Humphries.

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Pranshu Verma spotlights MIT startup Biobot Analytics, co-founded by Mariana Matus ’18 and Newsha Ghaeli ’17, for their work studying sewage data to better predict the spread of Covid-19 in communities. “For health officials, it [the data] confirms whether Covid spikes in the community are real, and not due to increased testing or other factors,” writes Verma. “Moreover, Covid levels in waste water are a leading indicator for new clinical cases, giving health officials a few days’ notice if they’ll see more sick patients showing symptoms.”

The Washington Post

The Washington Post Editorial Board highlights a new report co-authored by MIT researchers that finds keeping the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California open would help the state reach its climate goals. "The experts project that keeping Diablo Canyon open just one more decade would cut California’s power-sector emissions by more than 10 percent, because it would burn far less gas, and save the state $2.6 billion in power system costs."

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times reporter Rob Nikolewski spotlights a report by researchers from MIT and Stanford University that finds keeping the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in California running would reduce electricity costs and help the state achieve its climate goals. “Nuclear plants – and Diablo Canyon is no exception – are one such clean and firm [source of] power capacity that we think should be preserved,” says Prof. Jacopo Buongiorno.

Forbes

Forbes reporter Ken Silverstein highlights a joint study by MIT and Stanford researchers that finds that extending the California Diablo Canyon Power Plant will save customers billions while reducing carbon emissions. The researchers found that “if the plant stayed operational from 2025 to 2035,” writes Silverstein, “CO2 levels would drop by 10% a year and displace natural gas use, saving customers $2.6 billion.”

Bloomberg

Bloomberg reporter David R. Baker writes that a new report co-authored by MIT researchers keeping California’s last nuclear power plant open could help reduce energy costs and provide water to the state. Keeping the “Diablo Canyon open through 2035 would cut greenhouse-gas emissions from California’s power sector 10% each year, by reducing the amount of electricity needed from natural-gas plants,” writes Baker.

Reuters

A new report by researchers from MIT, Stanford and other institutions finds that extending the life of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California should help the state meet its climate goals, reports Timothy Gardner for Reuters. The researchers found “delaying closure of the plant to 2025 would reduce California's carbon emissions from power plants by more than 10% from 2017 levels, reduce dependency on natural gas, and save up to $21 billion in power system costs.”

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.”