Scientists, by virtue of their profession, are total nerds. This means that when it comes to name places in the solar system, some nerdy but also deeply cool titles bubble up. From mythical monsters to the creations of horror maestro H.P. Lovecraft, here are the 10 coolest, most geekily brutal sounding places in the solar system.
The surface of Triton is covered in cavi, depressions in the ground likely formed by geologic processes (rather than impact craters.) Most features on Triton are named for deities of the sea, and one such cavi is named Ukupanipo Cavus, named for the Hawaiian shark god Ukupanipo. Ukupanipo aided fisherman in their quests, and occassionally adopted human children and turned them into sharks.
The craters of Uranus' moon Umbriel are named for evil spirits. The Malingee in particular is an Australian aboriginal demon who wanders the outback. When confronted or disturbed by humans, Malingee are known to murder their intruders with a stone knife.
Named for a Roman feast of the dead, is the third largest crater on Vesta, the second largest asteroid after Ceres. Prior to visiting Ceres, the Dawn spacecraft made a visit to Vesta, discovering a world that may have been full of rivers and lakes before it became a giant lump of rock.
Venus' surface is cut with a long series of trenches called chasma. One of those chasmata, Baba-Jaga, is named for a Slavic / Russian legend about a witch able to summon the fury of the forest and who had a cannibalistic appetite for children. It's befitting of a putridly hot hell-world that would eat anyone or anything alive who dare land there.
Chaos refers to chaotic valleys on Mars that intersect in wild, non-uniform ways, a feature unique to Mars. Of those chaoses, Gorgonum is one of the most impressive, a place where water once flowed, perhaps in the recent past as indicated by relatively smooth features.
The name is likely derived from the Greek monsters known as Gorgons, which include Medusa and other terrifying, dreadful beasts.
This region of canyons on Ceres is named for a Gaelic harvest celebration associated with pagan rituals. It formed the basis of some of our Halloween traditions today, falling into the mid-fall, and involving children dressing up like evil spirits to ward them away as the darkness of winter approached it.
It is also the name of the Glenn Danzig formed after The Misfits but before Danzig.
Io is a world stretched so violently by Jupiter that its interior stays molten, causing volcanic activity all over the surface. Areas of volcanic flow on the moon are called fluctus, and Marduk Fluctus is one such region, named for the Sumerian god of judgment who formed the world by murdering a rival goddess and building the Earth atop her body. Unsurprisingly, this fluctus shares its name with a .
An ancient dome volcano on the surface of Mercury, Odin Planitia is named for the head Norse god, a one-eyed warrior who battled frost giants before being killed by an enormous wolf. A one mile high, four mile wide volcano deserves such a title.
Caveat here: all names in the Pluto system are tentative until certified by the International Astronomical Union first. But that being said ... of all the features named for underworld figures, Cthulhu Regio (named for the evil entity from the ) is the coolest sounding. The dark, ancient terrain appropriately recalls the the Great Old Ones, and contrasts well with the sunnier sounding Tombaugh Regio to the east, a source of recent nitrogen glaciation.
Saturn's largest moon Titan (a shade bigger than Mercury) has a thick atmosphere and frigid seas of methane. The largest of those seas is Kraken Mare, named for the mythological, ship-sinking creature that scared many a sailor. The actual kraken may have been based on sightings of giant squid and probably does not actually live in this sea.