Lincoln Laboratory in the News

The following features were published or aired in external media and contain news about MIT Lincoln Laboratory efforts.


Eight from MIT elected to National Academy of Engineering

New members include the Institute's president and the director of Lincoln Laboratory

MIT News
5 February 2015

Eight members of the MIT community — Hari Balakrishnan, Sangeeta Bhatia, Emery N. Brown, Anantha Chandrakasan, Eric D. Evans, Karen K. Gleason, L. Rafael Reif, and Daniela Rus — are among the 67 new members and 12 foreign associates elected today to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

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AeroAstro's Miller, Lincoln Lab's Evans named AIAA Fellows

MIT News
26 January 2015

David Miller '82, SM '85, ScD '88, the Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Lincoln Laboratory Director Eric D. Evans have been elected Fellows of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the world's largest aerospace professional society.

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Watch Jumbo Asteroid Zip Past Earth

A passing space rock should offer a rare, bright viewing treat for sky-watchers.

National Geographic
23 January 2015

A mountain-size space rock will sail past Earth on Monday, offering stargazers a close look at an interplanetary pinball. Luckily, NASA says there is no risk of collision, but it will be a rare astronomically close encounter that backyard telescope owners can watch....

Asteroid 2004 BL86 was discovered on January 30, 2004, by a telescope of the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) survey in White Sands, New Mexico. Now backyard sky-watchers can enjoy a chance to find it.

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NASA Lunar Mission Wins 2014 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award

7 October 2014

NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission has received the Popular Mechanics 2014 Breakthrough Award for innovation in science and technology. The 10th annual Breakthrough Awards recognize innovators, engineers and scientists responsible for changing our world. . . .

. . . Hosted aboard LADEE for its ride to lunar orbit was the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) terminal. From a distance of almost a quarter of a million miles, LLCD demonstrated record-breaking upload and download speeds. The cooperative mission with a team from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and MIT's Lincoln Laboratory revealed the possibility of expanding broadband capabilities in future space communications development.

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How 3-D Printing Is Revolutionizing the Display of Big Data

MIT Technology Review
8 October 2014

One of the characteristics of our increasingly information-driven lives is the huge amounts of data being generated about everything from sporting activities and Twitter comments to genetic patterns and disease predictions. These information firehoses are generally known as “big data,” and with them come the grand challenge of making sense of the material they produce....

It is this... task of data display that Zachary Weber and Vijay Gadepally have taken on at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts. They say that combining big data with 3-D printing can dramatically improve the way people consume and understand data on a massive scale.

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New meteor shower could turn into a meteor storm

A never-before-seen meteor shower is set to light up the night sky May 23

USA Today
15 May 2014

Coming to a circumpolar constellation near you: An all-new, never-before-seen, awkwardly named meteor shower that just might knock your astronomical socks off.

It's called the Camelopardalid meteor shower, and unlike annual showers such as the Perseids and Leonids that have been occurring for 100s or 1000s of years, it will occur for the first time the night of May 23 and early morning of May 24...

The Camelopardalids will be debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR, a very dim comet that orbits the sun every five years. The comet was discovered in 2004 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research project, a partnership of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force.

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Tiny particles could help verify goods

Chemical engineers hope smartphone-readable microparticles could crack down on counterfeiting.

MIT News
13 April 2014

Many strategies have been developed to try to label legitimate products and prevent illegal trade—but these tags are often too easy to fake, are unreliable, or cost too much to implement, according to MIT researchers who have developed a new alternative.

Led by MIT chemical engineering professor Patrick Doyle and Lincoln Laboratory technical staff member Albert Swiston, the researchers have invented a new type of tiny, smartphone-readable particle that they believe could be deployed to help authenticate currency, electronic parts, and luxury goods, among other products.

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Free situational awareness app gaining traction among California firefighters

27 February 2014

Over the last four decades the number, severity and size of wildfires has increased. And each year, on average, nearly half of all the money spent fighting wildfires in the West goes to California fires, which often threaten homes and infrastructure, according to Climate Central.

In that environment, a free Web-based situational awareness tool is gaining momentum. The Next-Generation Incident Command System (NICS) is being used by at least 270 emergency management agencies in California and a few other areas for planning, response and recovery for risky and hazardous events—many of them wildfires.

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New communication tool enhances incident management
and situational awareness

Wildfire Today
10 February 2014

At least 255 emergency management agencies in California and a few other areas have been experimenting with and in some cases using a new tool that provides enhanced situational awareness for incident managers. Called Next-Generation Incident Command System (NICS), the developers describe it as "a mobile web-based command and control environment for dynamically escalating incidents from first alarm to extreme-scale that facilitates collaboration across [multiple] levels of preparedness, planning, response, and recovery for all-risk/all-hazard events." It is a combination of tools, technologies, and an innovative concept of operations for emergency response. . .

It was conceived, envisioned, and functionally specified by experienced first responders, many from the California emergency response community, and developed by skilled scientists and engineers at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

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AF chief scientist offers insight, highlights Hanscom work

66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
27 January 2014

The Air Force's chief scientist talked about the unique technological challenges and value of work being done at Hanscom during her visit to the base and neighboring MIT Lincoln Laboratory Jan 23 and 24.

During the course of her visit and in a one-on-one interview, Dr. Mica Endsley was impressed with the type of work done and how it impacts the Air Force.

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Phased Array Radar at the Intersection of Military and
Commercial Innovation

Microwave Journal
14 January 2014

Accelerating innovation in phased array radar design and manufacturing is transforming our military radar infrastructure, enabling the achievement of unprecedented size weight and power (SWaP) profiles that in turn facilitate greater radar system accuracy, mobility and deployment flexibility for an ever widening range of ground-based, airborne and seaborne applications....

The development of the Multifunction Phased Array Radar (MPAR) panel, a dual-polarized S-Band system, is an example of defense-caliber phased array radar technology applied to weather tracking and air traffic control applications simultaneously. MPAR panels were co-developed by MACOM and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory under sponsorship from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a next-generation alternative to the existing civil radar network currently supplying air traffic and weather surveillance.

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Video: Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration sends Bill Nye over the Moon

The Planetary Society
1 January 2014

Video: NASA Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration

Don Cornwell, mission manager for the LLCD, discusses the significance of the demonstration

20 November 2013

A Chance to Fly

Aero-astro's Beaverworks class offers undergrads an unusual challenge: designing drones for the military

MIT Technology Review
17 December 2013

Tucked in a corner of Building 33's basement, cordoned off with a length of rope, is a workspace reserved for MIT's Beaverworks program—an aircraft design class for juniors and seniors, named after the school's industrious mascot....

The lab is a learning space for students in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, some of whom are building small, autonomous aircraft for the first time. Although seemingly modest, it also serves as a springboard for ideas that could eventually find real industrial or military applications.

full feature

Biosecurity for the Age of Redesigned Life

National Public Radio's Science Friday
8 November 2013

In this Science Friday segment, a panel of researchers discusses how scientists and the FBI are "rethinking biosecurity for the synthetic biology revolution." Dr. Peter Carr of MIT Lincoln Laboratory's Bioengineering Systems and Technologies Group was a guest panelist.

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To the Moon: Michigan Tech Alumnus Contributes to Lunar Mission

Michigan Tech News
7 October 2013

Aboard a spacecraft orbiting the moon is a little bit of Brandon Dilworth. His body is comfortably here on Earth. But for the last several years, Dilworth has poured all his professional skill and passion into a game-changing scientific project that is now hitching a ride on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer. Launched by NASA Sept. 6. LADEE (dubbed “laddie”) left its Earth orbit Oct. 2 and entered a lunar orbit Oct. 6. Soon, the technical project that Dilworth has been working on at MIT Lincoln Laboratory for the last four years will spring into action.

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Longest Laser Link Set for Moon Launch  

An experiment aboard NASA's LADEE orbiter will put deep-space laser communications to the test

IEEE Spectrum
20 August 2013

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Space Laser to Prove Increased Broadband Possible

28 August 2013

When NASA's Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) begins operation aboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission managed by NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., it will attempt to show two-way laser communication beyond Earth is possible, expanding the possibility of transmitting huge amounts of data. This new ability could one day allow for 3D high-definition video transmissions in deep space to become routine.

"The goal of the LLCD experiment is to validate and build confidence in this technology so that future missions will consider using it," said Don Cornwell, LLCD manager. "This unique ability developed by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Lincoln Laboratory has incredible application possibilities, and we are very excited to get this instrument off the ground."

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NASA selects MIT-led TESS project for 2017 mission

$200 million project will launch telescopes to perform full-sky search for transiting exoplanets.

MIT News
5 April 2013

Following a three-year competition, NASA has selected the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) project at MIT for a planned launch in 2017. The space agency announced the mission — to be funded by a $200 million grant to the MIT-led team — on 5 April.

TESS team partners include the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research and MIT Lincoln Laboratory; NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center; Orbital Sciences Corporation; NASA's Ames Research Center; the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; The Aerospace Corporation; and the Space Telescope Science Institute.

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President Obama Meets U.S. Laureates of 2012 Kavli Prizes

The Kavli Foundation
29 March 2013

President Barack Obama met in the Oval Office yesterday the six U.S. recipients of the 2012 Kavli Prizes. President Obama received the laureates to recognize and honor their landmark contributions to the three fields for which the Prizes are awarded—astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience.    full story

Among the 2012 recipients is Jane Luu, a technical staff member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Dr. Luu was a co-recipient of the prize in astrophysics with David Jewitt and Michael Brown; the prize recognized their discovery and characterization of the Kuiper Belt. See the earlier story on Dr. Luu's award.

Comet in tonight's sky discovered using MIT Lincoln Lab technology
12 March 2013

A comet visible in the night sky with a pair of binoculars for much of this month was discovered using technology developed at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington. The Pan-STARRS comet this is passing about 100 million miles from Earth could be visible, with clear skies, using binoculars or a small telescope tonight and Wednesday night.   full story

MIT Lincoln Laboratory is named Stevens Institute of Technology's 2012 Internship Employer of the Year

University News, Stevens Institute of Technology
4 October 2012

MIT Lincoln Laboratory welcomed six Stevens students into its prestigious summer research program.

In recognition of the organization's special efforts in supporting the Stevens community, MIT Lincoln Laboratory accepted the 2012 Internship Employer of the Year Award from the Stevens Office of Career Development at a special luncheon on Oct. 3, 2012, preceding Stevens Class of 2013 Career Fair.

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The real Tron: IT security as a shoot 'em up

4 October 2012

Alert to a sudden threat, you race down a virtual corridor of servers, hot on the tail of malicious software. You ping a message to your partner, pointing them to a bottleneck in the network which should let you pin down the malware and destroy it before it does any more harm. Doing your job has never been so much fun.

This is a long way away from traditional IT security, but the drama of video gaming actually enables analysts to watch over their networks more effectively. Developed at the Lincoln Laboratory, part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the approach allows people to patrol their assigned environments as if they were playing a first-person shooter—much like in the cult film Tron.

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Lincoln Laboratory's Next-Generation Incident Command System (NICS) is praised

27 September 2012

National news outlets have highlighted the successful use of NICS during the recent Shockey fire in southern California.

Coverage by NBC's San Diego affiliate

Coverage by CBS's San Diego affiliate

Coverage by San Diego's CW affiliate
CAMPO – As CAL FIRE nears containment on the 2,851 acre Shockey Fire burning near the community of Campo in San Diego County, firefighters are crediting new technology in the success of the incident. For the past year, firefighters have been aided by the development of a new project called Next Generation Incident Command System, or "NICS." The new technology is funded by the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate and developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Lincoln Labs with major participation from CAL FIRE. Especially this year with the increased fire activity, CAL FIRE has been the perfect test bed for the new technology.

Museum of Science honors four New England companies with "Invented Here" awards

Boston Globe
21 September 2012

Boston's Museum of Science held its second annual "Invented Here" awards ceremony last night, in partnership with the Boston Patent Law Association. The event "honors New England's newest and most innovative technologies," according to a press release.

(One of the winning companies, TeraDiode, has licensed technology developed at Lincoln Laboratory for its diode laser system for industrial cutting and welding.)

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Infrared eye in the sky aids firefighters

San Diego County News Center
7 August 2012

Even if you go up in a plane, when thick, opaque smoke blankets acres or square miles, it’s nearly impossible to read what the fire’s doing beneath the smoke cover.

But in San Diego County, an experimental system that uses an infrared video camera mounted underneath a firefighting plane has been a keen eye in the sky that peers straight through smoke. The heat sensing camera develops a sharp image of wildfire that shows where flames are growing, spreading, or dying down. A streaming video link and remote control allows fire managers on the ground to point the camera and direct water drops or the overall firefighting effort.

The prototype system installed in 2009 –the first of its kind in the U.S. to be used for civilian firefighting—has has been an experimental program in a partnership between CAL FIRE and the Lincoln Labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Air Force Space Command group tours radar sites

U.S. Army News
27 January 2012

U.S. ARMY KWAJALEIN ATOLL, Marshall Islands — The commander for Air Force Space Command got a firsthand look at the radar and GPS facilities on Kwajalein and Roi-Namur during a visit to USAKA Monday and Tuesday.

Gen. William Shelton and several one-star generals from his staff came to Kwajalein to visit facilities and discuss future efforts of cooperation and coordination between the Air Force and Army in the arena of space operations.

"USAKA plays an important role in support of space operations missions," said Col. Joseph Gaines, USAKA/RTS [Reagan Test Site] commander. "Many people think of USAKA as just a test range; however, what we contribute to the space operations mission is quite significant. Having Gen. Shelton come to Kwajalein is recognition of the important role USAKA/RTS plays in the space operations arena."

MIT Lincoln Laboratory currently is the scientific advisor to the Reagan Test Site and has just celebrated its 50th year of service at the Kwajalein Atoll. The Laboratory has been instrumental in the development and operation of the radar facilities.

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Obama honors Mildred Dresselhaus with Fermi Award

MIT News
12 January 2012

President Barack Obama has named MIT's Mildred S. Dresselhaus and Stanford University's Burton Richter '52 PhD '56 as winners of the Enrico Fermi Award, one of the government's oldest and most prestigious awards for scientific achievement. The award, administered on behalf of the White House by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), carries an honorarium of $50,000, shared equally, and a gold medal.

In a career spanning more than 50 years at MIT and its Lincoln Laboratory, Dresselhaus has made extensive research contributions and fundamental discoveries in condensed matter physics. She is also widely recognized for her considerable devotion to mentoring students, raising community awareness, and promoting progress on gender equity. She is widely respected as a premier mentor and advocate for women in science.

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Space Surveillance Telescope to provide enhanced view of deep space

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
12 April 2011

Swirling thousands of miles above earth, military satellites provide critical capabilities to warfighters—which makes protecting them from collision with space debris, meteors and microsatellites a top priority. Until now, monitoring the deep regions of space has been difficult, with spots and gaps in coverage leaving these high-flying machines vulnerable.  DARPA's newly developed Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) aims to change that, ushering in a new era of ground-based space surveillance technology to fill coverage gaps and offer an unprecedented wide-angle view of small objects in deep space.    more ›

Researchers in MIT Lincoln Laboratory's Space Control mission area developed technology, including optics and charge-coupled device technology, that is enabling the SST.

Seeing through walls

MIT News
18 October 2011

Researchers at MIT's Lincoln Lab have developed new radar technology that provides real-time video of what's going on behind solid walls....

The researchers' device is an unassuming array arranged into two rows — eight receiving elements on top, 13 transmitting ones below — and some computing equipment, all mounted onto a movable cart. But it has powerful implications for military operations, especially "urban combat situations," says Gregory Charvat, technical staff at Lincoln Lab and the leader of the project.

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The Incident Command System

February 2011 issue

This article explores the benefits and challenges of migrating the Incident Command System to its next level, given remarkable advances in enabling technologies, a changing threat, the importance of thinking about response as all risk (multi-cause/multi-agency/multi-organization), and new concepts of operation. . . .

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The article mentions work Lincoln Laboratory is doing on disaster response systems.

Winners of ONR's Energy Challenge to help Navy reduce its carbon footprint

Office of Naval Research (26 May 2010)

Aiming to motivate researchers to help the U.S. Navy decrease its reliance on fossil fuels, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced nine winners of an "Energy Challenge" that was issued at its recent Naval Energy Forum.

The recipients, whose projects range from microbial to solar power, will receive up to $100,000 to apply toward their research area, said Dr. Rich Carlin, who heads ONR's Sea Warfare and Weapons Department....

Dr. Theodore Bloomstein of MIT Lincoln Laboratory was chosen as one of the challenge winners. His work was on solar cell research.

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Major upgrade to Haystack radar will enable enhanced imaging of space

Hanscom Air Force Base Public Affairs (19 May 2010)

In a joint project with Air Force Space Command and MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the Electronic Systems Center began a major upgrade of the Haystack radar in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, this month, replacing the existing antenna with a new system that will be able to identify smaller objects in space with greater resolution. The approximately 18-month project will add W-band capabilities to the existing X-band long-range imaging radar.

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ISIS: New Video Camera Sees It All

Department of Homeland Security (6 May 2010)

A new video surveillance system currently being developed by the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) may soon give law enforcement an extra set of eyes. The Imaging System for Immersive Surveillance (or ISIS) takes new video camera and image-stitching technology and bolts it to a ceiling, mounts it on a roof, or fastens it to a truck-mounted telescoping mast.

Like a bug-eyed fisheye lens, ISIS sees v-e-r-y wide. But that's where the similarity ends. Whereas a typical fisheye lens distorts the image and can only provide limited resolution, video from ISIS is perfectly detailed, edge-to-edge. That's because the video is made from a series of individual cameras stitched into a single, live view—like a high-res video quilt. . . .

Many of the ISIS capabilities were adapted from technology previously developed by MIT's Lincoln Laboratory. . . .

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At Logan, new device keeps eye on everything

Boston Globe (3 May 2010)

A prototype camera developed jointly by a team of engineers at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., has been affixed to the ceiling of Logan International Airport's Terminal A since December. Massport officials say it can do what no other surveillance camera can: blend feeds from multiple cameras into one undistorted image to provide a high-resolution panoramic view, while retaining the ability to zoom in on any spot without losing the 360-degree view.

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Earth to Get Close Shave Wednesday From Newly Discovered Asteroid

Wired Science (January 2010)

An asteroid 30 to 50 feet across will pass by the Earth at just more than one-third the distance between the Earth and the moon on Wednesday. That's the closest near-Earth object approach currently known between now and the flyby in 2024 of a similar-size object known as 2007 XB23.

The new asteroid, called 2010 AL30, was discovered by the NASA-funded Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research program, and announced Monday by the Minor Planet Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

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Watching and Waiting: The search for dangerous asteroids is about to begin in earnest

The Economist (December 2008)

On December 6th the University of Hawaii will activate a telescope designed specifically to look for dangerous asteroids. It is called PS1, a contraction of Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System, and it is the first of four such instruments that will be used to catalogue as many as possible of the 100,000 or so near-Earth asteroids that measure between 140 metres and a kilometre across....

They are able to do so because they are fitted with special digital cameras whose electronics were developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory.

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