JANUARY 15, 2019
A monthly digest of department news

Third Exoplanet Discovered by TESS

The TESS science team, including Professor Sara Seager, announced the find at the annual American Astronomical Society meeting: a dense, gaseous planet three times the size of Earth orbiting a bright, dwarf star about 53 light years away, which appears to have the longest orbital period of the three planets so far identified by TESS.


EAPS Makes Strong Showing at AGU

Department members can chalk up AGU's centennial year as a success, taking home awards, giving invited talks, and presenting a plethora of earth and planetary research.



• Professor Tim Grove
2018 Harry H. Hess Medal

• Graduate Student Meghan Jones
2018 Data Visualization & Storytelling Grand Prizewinner

A Global Thermostat
in Tropical Mountains?

Science Magazine reports new research presented at AGU from Professor Oli Jagoutz and others showing that tropical mountain weathering pulls CO2 from the atmosphere—and that mountain-forming tectonic collisions coincide in the geologic record with glacial periods of the past 500 million years.


Coral Larvae Use Sound to Find a Home

Researchers, including MIT-WHOI Joint Program student and EAPS-affiliate Cynthia Becker, found that the soundscape of a reef—the combined sounds of all animals living nearby—might play a major role in steering corals towards healthy reef systems and away from damaged ones.


Oil & Water: Middle Eastern Environmental Dilemmas

Visiting Assistant Professor Maryam Rashed Alshehhi models a region with freshwater shortages, oil spills, and frequent dust storms.


Who's Who?
Who's New?

A warm welcome to new members of the department, congratulations on recent promotions, and a fond farewell to those who’ve left.




Greenland Ice Sheet Melt 'Off the Charts'

Combining ice core records with satellite imaging and climate models, a new study including MIT-WHOI Joint Program student Matt Osman finds surface melting across Greenland’s mile-thick ice sheet began increasing in the mid-19th century and then ramped up dramatically through to present day, showing no signs of abating.


First Glimpse of Ultima Thule with Rick Binzel

Professor Binzel sat down with Living Lab Radio to explain the science and significance of the historic New Horizons flyby of the farthest object ever visited by a spacecraft.

listen here

Modeling Climate Risk Where it Hits Home

Long-term assessment of climate impacts can help municipalities and local economies prepare for the effects of climate change. Using a high-resolution regional model, Research Scientist Muge Komurcu, along with Professor Kerry Emanuel and colleagues, projects a dramatic increase in annual high-heat days in the Northeast by century’s end.


Laser Vision for CubeSats

Professor Kerry Cahoy and colleagues are harnessing the power of lasers to push the envelope of what's possible with these incredibly cost-effective, shoebox-sized orbiters. Read more from the latest headlines:

Tiny Satellites Could be “Guide Stars” for Huge Next-Generation Telescopes

Laser-pointing System Could Help CubeSats Transmit Data to Earth

Tracking a Snow Globe of Microplastics

This is the second in a three-part article series about how graduate student Sam Levang and researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are trying to understand the fate of microplastics and their impacts on marine life and human health.


Terrascope 2022:
Navajo Water Security

The future of the Navajo Nation depends on clean water, but the area is vulnerable to drought and many water sources are contaminated. Watch the students of Terrascope 2022 make presentations of solutions that blend cutting-edge technology with traditional Navajo practices and culture.

watch here


Leading the Way for Engaged Geoscience

Geoscientists play a critical role in addressing societal challenges related to natural hazards, climate change, the environment, energy, and resource issues. Professor Noelle Selin and colleagues consider the role of colleges and universities in helping to support and encourage geoscientists to engage communities and policy makers.


Want more EAPS News?

The Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) at MIT is where scientists of multiple disciplines collaborate to understand the Earth, Planets, Climate, and Origins of Life.

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