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Vote Now! Top Space Stories of the Week - Sept. 18, 2011

This artist’s impression shows the planet orbiting the Sun-like star HD 85512 about 35 light-years from Earth.
This artist’s impression shows the planet HD 85512b orbiting the Sun-like star HD 85512 about 35 light-years from Earth. This planet is about 3.6 times as massive as the Earth is at the edge of the habitable zone around the star, where liquid water, and perhaps even life, could potentially exist.
(Image: © ESO/M. Kornmesser)

Clues of Ancient Water on Mars, Tatooine-Like Planet And A Super-Earth That Could Support Life

NASA/JPL-Caltech

This week we looked for clues into Mars' wetter past, the discovery of a real-life version of Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine and a giant new rocket are just some of the stories that came from space this past week. Vote for your top space story of the week:

China's Space Dreams Ride on Robotic Docking Test

Gregory Kulacki/People's Daily Online

China, a burgeoning power in the world space community, is poised to launch the first module of its first space station soon. The question is, when? [Full Story]

NASA Inks Deal to Help Shuttle Rocket Builder Develop Space Taxis

ATK

NASA and the aerospace company ATK have signed a deal that could accelerate the availability of U.S. commercial crew transportation capabilities. [Full Story]

'Super-Earth,' 1 of 50 Newfound Alien Planets, Could Potentially Support Life

ESO/M. Kornmesser

The European Southern Observatory announced a new alien planet finding on Sept. 12 from its HARPS spectrograph. The discovery included 50 newfound alien planets, including one in the habitable zone of its star. [Full Story]

US Space Spy Agency to Unveil Hush-Hush Satellites on Saturday

NRO

It’s been super-secret for so many years, but for one day only on Saturday (Sept. 17), some of the United States' once-clandestine spy satellites will be seen by public eyes for the first time. [Full Story]

Planet Like 'Star Wars' Tatooine Discovered Orbiting 2 Suns

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Astronomers have discovered the real-life version of Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine, the double sun desert wold of Star Wars. NASA's Kepler telescope made the find. [Full Story]

Huge Defunct Satellite Falling to Earth Faster Than Expected, NASA Says

NASA

NASA space junk experts have refined the forecast for the anticipated death plunge of a giant satellite, with the U.S. space agency now predicting the 6 1/2-ton climate probe will plummet to Earth around Sept. 23, a day earlier than previously reported. [Full Story]

NASA Unveils New Giant Rocket for Deep Space Missions

NASA

NASA has finally revealed its design for the agency's next-generation heavy-lift rocket to carry astronauts on future deep space missions. [Full Story]

Soyuz Space Capsule Lands Safely With US-Russian Crew

NASA/Bill Ingalls

A Russian-built Soyuz space capsule landed safely back on Earth late Thursday (Sept. 15), returning an American astronaut and two cosmonauts home after more than five months in space. [Full Story]

Senate Panel Restores James Webb Space Telescope Funding

A U.S. Senate panel has proposed giving NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) about $150 million more for 2012 than the White House requested for the overbudget project, which appropriators in the House of Representatives voted this summer to cancel. [Full Story]

NASA Rover Finds Rare Mars Rock With Clues of Ancient Water

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU

NASA's Opportunity rover, recently arrived at a new crater on Mars, has found an intriguing rock that could offer clues into Mars' wetter past. [Full Story]

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