Star Wars, blobfish and Mars travel: Your weekend reading list

Still from Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer
R2-D2 with an unknown figure in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.'
Lucasfilm

The nostalgia is strong this week.

The new Star Wars trailer channels a time before the prequels as we revisit an old friend that could pass for one of the movie's alien characters: The blobfish.

Take a look at what it would take to get the slightest bit close to having our own Martian adventure. Then: Watch how the Berlin Museum of Natural History is digitizing its insect collection.

Read this

Behold the blobfish

Blobfish
The blobfish, Psychrolutes marcidus, found during a joint Australian-New Zealand exploration of submarine habitat off of southeast Australia in 2003.
NOAA.gov

The wonderfully absurd-looking blobfish is an amazing example of adaptation to the extreme.

It lives more than 2,000 feet below the surface of the water, where the pressure is more than 60 to 120 times the pressure at the surface.

The species has become a cause célèbre for overlooked impacts of human expansion. via Smithsonian Magazine

What do we need to do before humans can visit Mars?

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover
This low-angle self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at the site from which it reached down to drill into a rock target called "Buckskin." The MAHLI camera on Curiosity's robotic arm took multiple images on Aug. 5, that were stitched together into this selfie.
NASA | JPL-Caltech | MSSS

"The Martian" is a movie that presents an astronaut disaster on Mars — but before we can be on Mars to meet that challenge, there are some significant hurdles to overcome to even reach the red planet.

Think: Cosmic radiation — and terrafarming.

via Wired

An Astronaut's husband, left behind

Crew of STS-107 Space Shuttle Columbia
The crew of Space Shuttle Columbia's mission STS-107 pose for the traditional crew portrait. Seated in front are astronauts Rick D. Husband, mission commander; Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; and William C. McCool, pilot. Standing are astronauts David M. Brown, Laurel B. Clark, and Michael P. Anderson, all mission specialists; and Ilan Ramon, payload specialist representing the Israeli Space Agency.
NASA

Listen to the story of Dr. Jonathan Clark, who lost his wife, Dr. Laurel Clark, in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster. He talks about how he navigated being a single father in the midst of his grieving.

via WNYC

Watch this

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

Right on cue, the final trailer was released and I am along for the ride.

Digitizing natural history

The Berlin Museum of Natural History shares the process of digitizing their collections to reach expanding audiences.

via New York Times Video

Bonus viewing

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