Actual science writers don’t always have to write about real planets. Sometimes, when the fancy takes them, they can write about fake ones. Like, say, Tatooine, from the Star Wars universe.
SciLogs got a bunch together and asked them to pick something from Tatooine and write about it, as though they were approaching it like an actual scientific paper.
So we’ve got pieces like this, by John Hutchinson, about the “Functional Anatomy of Tatooine Megafauna”, in which he dissects and examines creatures like banthas and the krayt dragon to see what makes them tick. It’s part-science paper, part-Star Wars fanfic:
A naïve Terran like yourself might wonder why, of all things, a giant desert mammal such as the bantha would evolve to be clothed in thick fur. Here you would reveal your feeble way of grasping about the diversity of pangalactic Nature. First of all, banthas are not mammals as you know them; a Terran word like pseudomammal would suffice. They lack the diagnostic traits of mammary glands, true hair, and inner ear bones that diagnose the Mammalia of your homeworld, but evolution at a giant size in a hot, dry clime has chastened them to become at least superficially similar to a Terran mammal such as an elephant or mammoth. One might be so naïve, even, to think that a bantha is merely a proboscidean in hairy disguise, but drive such thoughts from your rickety cerebral-implant-deprived mind.
Behold, the true nature of bantha fur, as I have seen with microdroid holo-imaging: it is a second, external circulatory system of sorts.
Adrienne Roehrich, meanwhile, examines the matter of obtaining water on a planet that doesn’t look like it actually has any.
Moisture vaporators condense water out of the atmosphere using cooling rods. This works much like a cold beverage getting condensation on the outside of it on a hot day. Water vapor from the atmosphere comes into contact with a cooler surface and condenses. In a fairly humid region, this will happen at temperatures near current temperatures. However, in the desert, the temperature at which the water will condense is lower. Once condensed, the water flows down the rod into a water storage tank. Clearly having working vaporators is a matter of survival for humanoids on Tatooine. Indeed, a moisture farm is necessary to provide water to bigger cities. No wonder Owen Lars requires a droid with translation skills.
The intro, and roundup with all the links to all the papers, can be found below.