Bouncing water, space opera and Soyuz: Your weekly reading list

Soyuz Expedition 46 Launch
The Soyuz TMA-19M rocket is launched with Expedition 46 on Dec. 15 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
NASA | Joel Kowsky

It is "Star Wars" Week here on our tiny little mote of a planet, and while notions of a "galaxy far, far away" are omnipresent, our local space is quite busy. The Expedition 46 crew were hurled into low earth orbit atop a Soyuz rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan this week.

Saturn's moon Enceladus passing before Tethys
Enceladus passes before Tethys, as the moons appear to float above Saturn's rings.
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Space Science Institute

On Mars, the Curiosity rover reached the sand dunes on the side of Mount Sharp.

In Saturn's orbit, the Cassini probe continues to observe Saturn's many moons and rings, including another flyby of Enceladus coming soon.

This week: Browse through sci-fi movies before you see "Star Wars," see why it might not be NASA going back to the moon, and learn why some water drops bounce better than others.

Read this

Why we're going back to the Moon — with or without NASA

The confirmation of ice on the Moon opened up the real possibility of space mining. Water can be split to create hydrogen for fuel and oxygen to breathe, providing an easier stepping stone out of low Earth orbit.

via Ars Technica

The world before "Star Wars"

A look at science fiction film landscape around the time of "Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope."

via The Kernel

For these fans, "Star Wars" a force that binds family together

MPR News' Nancy Yang explores how "Star Wars" has gone multi-generational and is bridging the interests of parents and their children. via MPR News

Anna, Al and Liam Nowatzki
Anna, Al and Liam Nowatzki love "Star Wars" so much that they started a podcast called "Children of the Force."
Courtesy of Al Nowatzki

Watch this

Water's big (and then bigger) bounce

Not all water drop bounces are equal, and a pair of Swiss researchers are exploring why.

via New York Times

How to build a Death Star, according to a NASA engineer

via Wired

How Star Wars and the internet changed movie trailers

A look back across the history of trailers and how they have evolved, and affected the movie going experience.

via The Verge

Bonus space opera

In an audacious move a new space opera series is launching the same week as the new Star Wars movie. "The Expanse," set in a future with asteroid mining, colonized Ceres and Mars and working fusion drives, the series is an adaptation of the books by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, written under the pen name James S. A. Corey.