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Asteroids, Aliens & Ailing Mars Moon ProbeThis week saw a huge asteroid zip close by Earth, a Russian mission too a Martian moon get stranded in Earth orbit and the White House officially weigh in on the existence of alien life.
But what was the best space story of the week? Help decide by voting for your favorite space story here!
White House Denies Any Contact with Alien LifeSlide 2 of 21
White House Denies Any Contact with Alien LifeStrike one more blow against UFO conspiracy theories. The U.S. government is not in contact with any extraterrestrials from other worlds, nor has any confirmed proof of alien life been found, White House officials said this past week.
"The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race," Phil Larson of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy wrote in a statement published Friday (Nov. 4). "In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public's eye." [Read More]Slide 3 of 21
Huge Asteroid 2005 YU55 Zips by EarthSlide 4 of 21
Huge Asteroid 2005 YU55 Zips by EarthAn asteroid the size of a city block zoomed inside the moon's orbit today (Nov. 8) in a rare flyby that marked the closest approach to Earth by such a big space rock in 35 years.
The asteroid 2005 YU55 came within 201,700 miles (324,600 kilometers) of Earth at 6:28 p.m. EST (2328 GMT) Tuesday evening before speeding off into deep space once again at about 29,000 mph (46,700 kph).
The space rock is about 1,300 feet (400 meters) wide. An asteroid this large hasn't come so near to Earth since 1976 and won't again until 2028, researchers said. [Read More]Slide 5 of 21
Scientist's View of Stranded Mars Moon ProbeSlide 6 of 21
Scientist's View of Stranded Mars Moon ProbeRussian engineers are scrambling to save the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft amid ever-bleaker signs the mission may be lost. The probe was launched uneventfully Nov. 8, but soon afterward its thruster failed to fire to send it on a course toward Mars, leaving the spacecraft stranded in Earth orbit.
Phobos-Grunt was designed for an ambitious mission to retrieve samples from Mars' moon Phobos, and return them to Earth, though it was also carrying a small payload from the Planetary Society, a nonprofit space advocacy group, to test the effects of microgravity on tiny organisms.
Here David Warmflash, the science lead for the U.S. team of the payload, called the Phobos Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment, shares his thoughts on how the mission might be saved and what it feels like to have a spacecraft on the edge. [Read More]Slide 7 of 21
Dark Matter Search May Get Boost From New GalaxiesSlide 8 of 21