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MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) articles

Displaying 1 - 17 of 17

Neighbouring exoplanets may hold water

Neighbouring exoplanets may hold water
Seven Earth-sized exoplanets circle the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, just 40 light-years from our own blue planet. Now an international team of scientists at the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland, MIT, and elsewhere, report that the outer planets in this system may still hold significant stores of water. Three of these potential water worlds are also considered within the habitable zone of the star, giving further support to the possibility that these neighboring planets may, in fact, be hospitable to life.
31st August 2017

Fly your ideas with LEGO

Fly your ideas with LEGO
Like many kids, Amir Hirsch ’06, SM ’07 grew up playing with LEGOs. But unlike many adults, he is still playing with them as part of his job as CEO and co-founder of Flybrix. Started in 2015, the company sells kits for children and adults alike to build their own reusable drones out of the popular plastic building bricks. “It lets you tinker around with LEGOs, come up with a design you like, and see it fly,” Hirsch says.
7th August 2017

Miniaturising computer chips of drones

Miniaturising computer chips of drones
  In recent years, engineers have worked to shrink drone technology, building flying prototypes that are the size of a bumblebee and loaded with even tinier sensors and cameras. Thus far, they have managed to miniaturise almost every part of a drone, except for the brains of the entire operation — the computer chip.
13th July 2017


Laser technique identifies the makeup of space debris

Laser technique identifies the makeup of space debris
Aerospace engineers from MIT have developed a laser sensing technique that can decipher not only where but what kind of space junk may be passing overhead. For example, the technique, called laser polarimetry, may be used to discern whether a piece of debris is bare metal or covered with paint. The difference, the engineers say, could help determine an object’s mass, momentum, and potential for destruction.
21st June 2017

Drones can safely stay in the air for five days

Drones can safely stay in the air for five days
A team of MIT engineers has come up with a much less expensive UAV design that can hover for longer durations to provide wide-ranging communications support. The researchers designed, built, and tested a UAV resembling a thin glider with a 24-foot wingspan. The vehicle can carry 10 to 20 pounds of communications equipment while flying at an altitude of 15,000 feet.
7th June 2017

LIGO detects gravitational waves for third time

LIGO detects gravitational waves for third time
The collision of a pair of colossal, stellar-mass black holes has made itself heard, nearly 3 billion light years away, through a cosmic microphone on Earth. On Jan. 4, the Laser Interferometry Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) picked up a barely perceptible signal that scientists quickly determined to be a gravitational wave — a ripple of energy passing through the curvature of spacetime. The event, published in Physical Review Letters, marks the third direct detection of a gravitational wave.
2nd June 2017

Algorithm quickly processes incoming visual data

Algorithm quickly processes incoming visual data
There’s a limit to how fast autonomous vehicles can fly while safely avoiding obstacles. That’s because the cameras used on today’s drones can only process images so fast, frame by individual frame. Beyond roughly 30 miles per hour, a drone is likely to crash simply because its cameras can’t keep up. Recently, researchers in Zurich invented a new type of camera, known as the DVS, that continuously visualises a scene in terms of changes in brightness, at extremely short, microsecond intervals.
26th May 2017

Technique protects robot teams’ communication network

Technique protects robot teams’ communication network
In the latest issue of the journal Autonomous Robots, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and their colleagues present a technique for preventing malicious hackers from commandeering robot teams’ communication networks. The technique could provide an added layer of security in systems that encrypt communications, or an alternative in circumstances in which encryption is impractical.
17th March 2017

Herstory of US Space Programme to become official LEGO set

Herstory of US Space Programme to become official LEGO set
For years, Maia Weinstock, the deputy editor of MIT News, has been creating miniature LEGO figurines to honor and promote such scientists and engineers as MIT Institute Professor Emerita Mildred Dresselhaus, Vice President for Research Maria T. Zuber, and Department of Chemical Engineering head Paula Hammond, the David H. Koch Chair Professor in Engineering. The figures are Weinstock’s playful way of boosting the visibility of scientists, in particular the work of female scientists.
3rd March 2017

First planet-induced stellar pulsations observed

First planet-induced stellar pulsations observed
For the first time, astronomers from MIT and elsewhere have observed a star pulsing in response to its orbiting planet. The star, which goes by the name HAT-P-2, is about 400 light years from Earth and is circled by a gas giant measuring eight times the mass of Jupiter — one of the most massive exoplanets known today. The planet, named HAT-P-2b, tracks its star in a highly eccentric orbit, flying extremely close to and around the star, then hurtling far out before eventually circling back around.
20th February 2017

Database could help find signs of new exoplanets

Database could help find signs of new exoplanets
The search for planets beyond our solar system is about to gain some new recruits. Today, a team that includes MIT and is led by the Carnegie Institution for Science has released the largest collection of observations made with a technique called radial velocity, to be used for hunting exoplanets. The huge dataset, taken over two decades by the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, is now available to the public, along with an open-source software package to process the data and an online tutorial.
13th February 2017

NASA selects Psyche and Lucy as Discovery missions

NASA selects Psyche and Lucy as Discovery missions
The Psyche mission, a journey to a metal asteroid, has been selected for flight under NASA’s Discovery Program, a series of lower-cost, highly focused robotic space missions that are exploring the solar system. Psyche includes prominent roles for Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) professors Maria Zuber (leading the Gravity investigation), Richard Binzel (asteroid composition expert), and Benjamin Weiss (leading the Magnetometer investigation).
6th January 2017

A new twist on airplane wing design

A new twist on airplane wing design
When the Wright brothers accomplished their first powered flight more than a century ago, they controlled the motion of their Flyer 1 aircraft using wires and pulleys that bent and twisted the wood-and-canvas wings. This system was quite different than the hinged flaps and ailerons on most aircraft ever since. But now, thanks to some high-tech wizardry developed by engineers at MIT and NASA, some aircraft may be returning to their roots, with a new kind of bendable, “morphing” wing.
4th November 2016

MIT's spacecraft is bound for asteroid Bennu

MIT's spacecraft is bound for asteroid Bennu
An SUV-sized spacecraft, loaded with instruments and an extendable robotic arm, will soon be barreling toward a space rock, on a round-trip journey that promises to return an unprecedented souvenir: extraterrestrial soil, taken directly from an asteroid, that could hold clues to the very early universe.
8th September 2016

Helping the 2020 Mars rover to find signs of life

Helping the 2020 Mars rover to find signs of life
In 2020, NASA plans to launch a new Mars rover that will be tasked with probing a region of the planet scientists believe could hold remnants of ancient microbial life. The rover will collect samples of rocks and soil, and store them on the Martian surface; the samples would be returned to Earth sometime in the distant future so that scientists can meticulously analyse the samples for signs of present or former extraterrestrial life.
16th August 2016

Smaller satellites could improve reflected energy estimates

Smaller satellites could improve reflected energy estimates
A team of small, shoebox-sized satellites, flying in formation around the Earth, could estimate the planet’s reflected energy with twice the accuracy of traditional monolith satellites, according to an MIT-led study published online in Acta Astronautica. If done right, such satellite swarms could also be cheaper to build, launch and maintain.
13th July 2016

Algorithm could help produce image of a black hole

Algorithm could help produce image of a black hole
Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Harvard University have developed a new algorithm that could help astronomers produce the first image of a black hole. The algorithm would stitch together data collected from radio telescopes scattered around the globe, under the auspices of an international collaboration called the Event Horizon Telescope.
6th June 2016


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