University of Texas at Austin

Monday, May 17, 2010

Updated: Research round up: Spring 2010

The northern ice cap of Mars, showing spiral troughs and Chasma Boreale.

The northern ice cap of Mars, showing spiral troughs and Chasma Boreale.

Catch up on University of Texas at Austin research from the spring 2010 semester when these questions were answered.

How were two curious features in the northern ice cap of Mars — a chasm larger than the Grand Canyon and a series of spiral troughs formed?

Jack Holt and Isaac Smith of The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics and their colleagues used radar data collected by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to provide the answer, revealing the subsurface geology of the planet’s northern ice cap. Find out more at Planetary Scientists Solve 40-Year-Old Mysteries Of Mars’ Northern Ice Cap.

What’s the deal with those out-of-whack exoplanets spinning around our neighbor, Upsilon Andromedae?

The orbits of two planets (known as planets c and d) are at a steep angle to each other instead of in a relatively flat plane. Find out what Texas astronomers Barbara McArthur, Fritz Benedict and their colleagues have to say about this at “Out of Whack” Planetary System Offers Clues to a Disturbing Past.

What does your Fido/ Fluffy preference say about your personality?

Fluffy. If you want to see a photo of a dog, send us one!

Fluffy. If you want to see a photo of a dog, send us one!

“Dog people” are more extroverted, more agreeable and more conscientious than self-described “cat people.” On the other paw, however, felinophiles are more neurotic but also more open than. Find out more about the research of Sam Gosling, psychology professor, at Research Shows Personality Differences Between Cat and Dog People.

Have dinosaurs been lying about their age?

Let’s just say that Sterling Nesbitt, a postdoctoral researcher at the Jackson School of Geosciences. has found evidence that pushes back the age of the dinosaurs by 10 million years or so. You decide at Dinosaurs Might Be Older Than Previously Thought.

How do moms feel when dads help out around the house?

Find out what researchers learned about moms’ self-esteem at Don’t tug on Super Mom’s cape.

The spike-headed katydid, Panacanthus cuspidatus, is one of the projected 100,000 insect species in Yasuní.

The spike-headed katydid, Panacanthus cuspidatus, is one of the projected 100,000 insect species in Yasuní.

Why is the number 596 significant to Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park?

That’s how many, at least, bird species have been counted in the park. Add the tons of other species found at Yasuni and you’ve got a hotspot of biodiversity. Read about what they found at Scientists Identify Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park As One of Most Biodiverse Places on Earth.

How are yeast and humans alike?

They have same genes—but use them in different ways. Edward Marcotte, a chemistry and biochemistry professor, explains at Scientists Find New Genes for Cancer, Other Diseases in Plants, Yeast and Worms.

See the fall 2009 research round up at and find more research news in the archive.

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» Updated: Research round up: Spring 2010

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