Poachers and vigilantes, Kinsey's wasps, arctic maps: Your weekend reading list

Wildfires as seen from space
This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on August 25, 2015. Actively burning areas are outlined in red.
NASA

While the NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite monitors the fires out west, take a dive during your downtime this weekend into Kinsey's gall wasp collection, relaxing Stormtroopers, NASA's latest engine test — and follow a game of cat and mouse between poachers and the vigilantes who hunt them.

Read this

• A Renegade Trawler, Hunted for 10,000 Miles by Vigilantes

The typical image of poaching's spoils involves exotic fur pelts, ivory or rhino horns — but according to INTERPOL, organized poachers also sail the high seas and participate in illegal fishing.

This story follows the stalking of a "fishing ship considered the world's most notorious poacher." via The New York Times

• The last time the map changed this much, the Soviet Union fell to pieces

The changing climate is drafting a new normal for arctic ice. Mapmakers are revisiting the maps that chart the extent of multi-year ice in a race to keep up with a snowballing melt. via National Geographic

Watch this

• Kinsey's wasps

Alfred Kinsey is best known for his study of human sexuality, but his doctoral thesis focused on gall wasps.

To study insects one must collect them, and Kinsey did just that, collecting more than 5 million specimens that were eventually donated to the American Museum of Natural History.

The story of those wasps is told as part of the Shelf|Life series, an exploration of the Museum's collection.

• 500,000-pound plus vacuum thrust: NASA tests an RS-25 engine

Originally serving NASA as the main engines of the space shuttle orbiters, RS-25 engines are being repurposed to serve as the main engines for the upcoming Space Launch System that will drive the Orion capsules into deep space.

Speaking of the Orion capsule, the recent test of the parachute system under failing conditions was a success. via Wired

Check this out

Even Stormtroopers take personal days

The Guardian chose a series of images from artist Darryll Jones' works that chronicle the leisure time of Stormtroopers. Explore his entire series on his instagram account. Check out The Guardian's highlights.

'A day without sunshine, is like.... night time' Eric's enjoying the flowers, feeling like Austin Powers, His Leg is getting slowly better, as this afternoons forecast seems considerably wetter, He has decided to change his style, if only for a little while, Tired of the Velcro and hard plastic, he longs for tight fitting spandex and elastic, is there anyone out there he knows, who a six inch spandex superhero suit would sew, that he could silently slip into, and... stuff. :) #haveyouseeneric #austinpowers #spring #flowers #starwars #instagram #darrylljones #eric #ericandpals #stormtrooper

Forest fires from space

NASA has been monitoring the forest fires of the northwest with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite. The fire locations and the atmospheric impact of the smoke is assisting with assessing the impact of the fires.

Launched in 2002 for a six-year mission, the Aqua earth-observing satellite monitors the earth and is tasked with collecting data on the water cycle, organic materials, temperatures and others.

Wildfires across the northwest
This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite Sunday. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS's thermal bands, are outlined in red.
NASA

NASA hopes that the satellite will operationally last beyond 2020.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.