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Category: NASA

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...

Richard Cohen: Pioneering biomedical research and education at MIT for half a century | MIT News
January 7, 2022

Richard J. Cohen, the Whitaker Professor in Biomedical Engineering in the MIT Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) and a faculty member in the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology (HST), has seen a lot during his years at MIT. He is a rare “MIT lifer,” rising from student to senior faculty member and spending half a century at the Institute. Cohen joined HST as a first-year medical...

MIT engineers test an idea for a new hovering rover | MIT News
December 21, 2021

Aerospace engineers at MIT are testing a new concept for a hovering rover that levitates by harnessing the moon’s natural charge. Because they lack an atmosphere, the moon and other airless bodies such as asteroids can build up an electric field through direct exposure to the sun and surrounding plasma. On the moon, this surface charge is strong enough to levitate dust more than 1 meter above the ground, much the way...

Super-bright stellar explosion is likely a dying star giving birth to a black hole or neutron star | MIT News
December 13, 2021

In June of 2018, telescopes around the world picked up a brilliant blue flash from the spiral arm of a galaxy 200 million light years away. The powerful burst appeared at first to be a supernova, though it was much faster and far brighter than any stellar explosion scientists had yet seen. The signal, procedurally labeled AT2018cow, has since been dubbed simply “the Cow,” and astronomers have catalogued it as a fast...

“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...

NASA selects three MIT alumni for astronaut training | MIT News
December 8, 2021

On Monday, MIT confirmed once again its status as a popular launchpad for future astronauts. NASA announced that three MIT alumni are among its 10-member astronaut candidate class of 2021. Marcos Berríos ’06, who graduated from the Department of Mechanical Engineering; Christina Birch PhD ’15, who earned a doctorate from the Department of Biological Engineering, and Christopher Williams PhD ’12, who earned a...

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,...

One year on this giant, blistering hot planet is just 16 hours long | MIT News
November 23, 2021

The hunt for planets beyond our solar system has turned up more than 4,000 far-flung worlds, orbiting stars thousands of  light years from Earth. These extrasolar planets are a veritable menagerie, from rocky super-Earths and miniature Neptunes to colossal gas giants. Among the more confounding planets discovered to date are “hot Jupiters” —  massive balls of gas that are about the size of our own Jovian planet...

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