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Category: EAPS

TESS Science Office at MIT hits milestone of 5,000 exoplanet candidates | MIT News
January 20, 2022

The catalog of planet candidates found with NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) recently passed 5,000 TOIs, or TESS Objects of Interest. The catalog has been growing steadily since the start of the mission in 2018, and the batch of TOIs boosting the catalog to over 5,000 come mostly from the Faint Star Search led by MIT postdoc Michelle Kunimoto. Kunimoto reflects, “This time last year, TESS had found...

Three with MIT ties win 2022 Churchill Scholarships | MIT News
January 13, 2022

MIT seniors David Darrow and Tara Venkatadri have been selected as 2022 Churchill Scholars and will embark on a year of graduate studies in the U.K. starting next fall. James Diao, a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology (HST), received the Kanders Churchill Scholarship in Science Policy. The Churchill Scholarship is a highly competitive fellowship that annually offers 16 American...

Predator interactions chiefly determine where Prochlorococcus thrive | MIT News
January 3, 2022

Prochlorococcus are the smallest and most abundant photosynthesizing organisms on the planet. A single Prochlorococcus cell is dwarfed by a human red blood cell, yet globally the microbes number in the octillions and are responsible for a large fraction of the world’s oxygen production as they turn sunlight into energy. Prochlorococcus can be found in the ocean’s warm surface waters, and their population drops off...

Scientists build new atlas of ocean’s oxygen-starved waters | MIT News
December 27, 2021

Life is teeming nearly everywhere in the oceans, except in certain pockets where oxygen naturally plummets and waters become unlivable for most aerobic organisms. These desolate pools are “oxygen-deficient zones,” or ODZs. And though they make up less than 1 percent of the ocean’s total volume, they are a significant source of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. Their boundaries can also limit the extent of...

Could acid-neutralizing life-forms make habitable pockets in Venus’ clouds? | MIT News
December 20, 2021

It’s hard to imagine a more inhospitable world than our closest planetary neighbor. With an atmosphere thick with carbon dioxide, and a surface hot enough to melt lead, Venus is a scorched and suffocating wasteland where life as we know it could not survive. The planet’s clouds are similarly hostile, blanketing the planet in droplets of sulfuric acid caustic enough to burn a hole through human skin. And yet, a new...

“Newer, nimbler, faster:” Venus probe will search for signs of life in clouds of sulfuric acid | MIT News
December 10, 2021

With multiple rovers landed and a mission set to return samples to Earth, Mars has dominated the search for life in the solar system for decades. But Venus has some fresh attention coming its way. In a new report published today, a team led by MIT researchers lays out the scientific plan and rationale for a suite of scrappy, privately-funded missions set to hunt for signs of life among the ultra-acidic atmosphere of the...

TESS discovers a planet the size of Mars but with the makeup of Mercury | MIT News
December 2, 2021

Ultra-short-period planets are small, compact worlds that whip around their stars at close range, completing an orbit — and a single, scorching year — in less than 24 hours. How these planets came to be in such extreme configurations is one of the continuing mysteries of exoplanetary science. Now, astronomers have discovered an ultra-short-period planet (USP) that is also super light. The planet is named GJ 367 b,...

Climate modeling confirms historical records showing rise in hurricane activity | MIT News
December 2, 2021

When forecasting how storms may change in the future, it helps to know something about their past. Judging from historical records dating back to the 1850s, hurricanes in the North Atlantic have become more frequent over the last 150 years. However, scientists have questioned whether this upward trend is a reflection of reality, or simply an artifact of lopsided record-keeping. If 19th-century storm trackers had access to...

Nanograins make for a seismic shift | MIT News
November 24, 2021

In Earth’s crust, tectonic blocks slide and grind past each other like enormous ships loosed from anchor. Earthquakes are generated along these fault zones when enough stress builds for a block to stick, then suddenly slip. These slips can be aided by several factors that reduce friction within a fault zone, such as hotter temperatures or pressurized gases that can separate blocks like pucks on an air-hockey table. The...

MIT collaborates with Biogen on three-year, $7 million initiative to address climate, health, and equity | MIT News
November 15, 2021

MIT and Biogen have announced that they will collaborate with the goal to accelerate the science and action on climate change to improve human health. This collaboration is supported by a three-year, $7 million commitment from the company and the Biogen Foundation. The biotechnology company, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Kendall Square, discovers and develops therapies for people living with serious...

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