The Obtain: NASA’s tiny spacecraft, and the RSV vaccine scarcity

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That is immediately’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a day by day dose of what’s happening on the planet of expertise.

Inside NASA’s bid to make spacecraft as small as attainable

Because the Seventies, we’ve despatched a number of large issues to Mars. However when NASA efficiently despatched twin Mars Dice One spacecraft, the scale of cereal packing containers, to the purple planet in November 2018, it was the primary time we’d ever despatched one thing so small.

Simply making it this far heralded a brand new age in house exploration. NASA and the neighborhood of planetary science researchers caught a glimpse of a future lengthy sought: a pathway to far more inexpensive house exploration utilizing smaller, cheaper spacecraft. 

There was a catch, although—one which NASA quickly needed to grapple with. Miniaturization can solely go to date earlier than it involves a crashing halt in opposition to some very basic legal guidelines of physics. Learn the total story.

—David W. Brown

This story is from our most up-to-date print subject of MIT Expertise Assessment, which is all about society’s hardest issues, and the way we must always deal with them. Should you don’t subscribe already, join now to get future points once they land.

RSV is on the rise however preventative medication are briefly provide

This yr we had been purported to have extra instruments than ever earlier than to guard children from RSV (brief for respiratory syncytial virus), together with a brand new shot that’s given preventively to infants and susceptible toddlers to guard them from the worst results of the virus.

However now—simply as charges of illness are rising—this medication is briefly provide. The CDC issued an alert final week advising pediatricians to ration doses, reserving them for infants youthful than six months and people with underlying situations that place them at highest threat for extreme RSV. 

The scenario is irritating to folks and pediatricians alike. However shouldn’t forecasting demand for this type of preventative be comparatively easy? And why was there such a mismatch between provide and demand within the first place? Learn the total story.

—Cassandra Willyard

This story first appeared in The Checkup, MIT Expertise Assessment’s weekly biotech e-newsletter. Join to obtain it in your inbox each Thursday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you immediately’s most enjoyable/vital/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 Sam Bankman-Fried has been discovered responsible on all seven fraud expenses 
However he’ll have to attend till March subsequent yr to search out out his sentence. (Economist $)
+ The tech business has already moved on, although. (NYT $)
+ It’s unlikely that SBF would be the final of his form. (The Atlantic $)

2 Meta’s open-source AI comes at a value
Simply because Llama 2 is publicly accessible doesn’t imply it’s low cost. (The Data $)
+ AI companies actually don’t wish to pay for coaching information. (Insider $)

3 We shouldn’t get complacent about covid this winter
The very fact vaccines are a lot more durable to get today isn’t serving to. (The Atlantic $)
+ Who advantages most from the brand new covid vaccines? (MIT Expertise Assessment)

4 The AI increase is lining Large Tech’s pockets
The wealthy have gotten even richer due to their cloud investments. (WSJ $)

5 Surveillance tech is coming to a metropolis close to you 
Metropolis councils are investing in Fusus AI methods, however not all residents are glad. (404 Media)
+ Marseille’s battle in opposition to the surveillance state. (MIT Expertise Assessment)

6 Zoonotic illnesses are a rising risk
Animal-to-human illnesses are forecast to kill many extra folks in future a long time. (FT $)
+ Meet the scientist on the heart of the covid lab leak controversy. (MIT Expertise Assessment)

7 Neglect the leap second—it’s time for the leap minute
Technically, it might bridge the 2 methods we inform the time. However is the world prepared? (NYT $)

8 How on-line playing ensnared a complete technology of Africans
Its governments are ill-equipped to guard residents who’re changing into more and more addicted. (Bloomberg $)
+ How cell cash supercharged Kenya’s sports activities betting habit. (MIT Expertise Assessment)

9 Airbnb isn’t what it was
Its price is on the rise—and so are complaints. (Vox)
+ New York’s warfare in opposition to Airbnb has made it much more costly to go to. (The Atlantic $)

10 Everyone knows weight loss plan soda is unhealthy for us 🥤
Possibly candy protein substitutes might supply a more healthy various. (Proto.Life)

Quote of the day

“The crypto business may be new, the gamers like Sam Bankman-Fried could also be new, however this type of fraud is as outdated as time and we have now no persistence for it.”

— Damian Williams, the US lawyer who led the prosecution of disgraced crypto founder Sam Bankman-Fried, has a solemn message for reporters exterior the Manhattan courtroom, Reuters stories.

The massive story

Contained in the app Minnesota police used to gather information on journalists at protests

March 2022

Photojournalist J.D. Duggan was masking a protest in Minnesota in April 2021 when law enforcement officials surrounded him and others, and advised them to get on the bottom.

Officers sorted the press from the protesters, walked them to a parking zone, and started photographing them, one after the other. They advised Duggan the pictures can be saved in an app. 

An investigation by MIT Expertise Assessment discovered the information was collected utilizing a software referred to as Intrepid Response, a simple option to virtually immediately de-anonymize protest attendees and maintain tabs on their actions. For some, the software’s use is a harmful step within the path of authoritarianism. Learn the total story.

—Sam Richards & Tate Ryan-Mosley

We will nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre occasions. (Obtained any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Because of the wonders of AI, we’ve been blessed with one final Beatles track.
+ 65 years in the past immediately, Laika the canine turned the primary canine in orbit! 🪐
+ Working as a Disney animation mannequin appears completely exhausting.
+ The world’s most distant lighthouses is a good topic for a e-book.
+ Historic England is on the hunt for ghost indicators—these superbly pale painted indicators promoting companies and merchandise of the previous.

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