Author Archives: Selby Cull

ancient volcano on Mars

Supervolcanoes on Mars

A new analysis of data from spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet suggests that gigantic calderas lie disguised on the planet’s surface. If the features are volcanoes, they could help explain the mysterious, fine-grain debris that coats Mars.

Deep Impact

How Pure Is the Comet?

When NASA slammed a probe into a comet last year, researchers were searching for the oldest stuff in the solar system. But what they found — no one had expected.


Great Lakes of Titan

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has discovered the coldest beachfront property in the solar system: dozens of lakes near the north pole of Saturn's moon Titan.

Naming Pluto’s Moons

The cast of underworld characters in the outer solar system expanded by two as the International Astronomical Union (IAU) officially named Pluto's two smallest moons Nix and Hydra.

Norway Impact Gentler Than Atomic Bomb

News outlets reported last week that a meteorite struck a mountainside in Norway, releasing as much energy as the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Now researchers are reporting the first data from the blast, which shows that the event was much more tame. On June 7th, residents of Troms County, Norway, reported that they saw a large…

Comet-Like Asteroids

Two astronomers have uncovered a new class of objects orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter: comets disguised as asteroids. Henry Hsieh and David Jewitt (University of Hawaii) report in the March 23rd Science Express that main-belt Asteroid 118401 (1999 RE70) is ejecting a comet-like dust tail. Although the tail is too faint for spectroscopic…

Notes from the Spirit World and the Land of Opportunity

If NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity were human, it would be more than 600 years old. The rover has lasted almost eight times its life expectancy, logging more than 700 Martian days on the Red Planet's surface. There is little wonder that the robotic dune buggy has developed joint problems. As the rover entered its…