Vote Now! Top Space Stories of the Week - Feb. 5, 2012

Mars in Hawaii, Astronauts on TV & a Base on the Moon

ESA/ IPMB

Colonies on the moon, fast-spinning stars and an astronaut playing an astronaut are just a few of several big stories in space for the week.

Take a look back at the biggest space stories last week , and vote now for your favorite of the bunch!

FIRST STOP: Our Planet's Killer Electrons Shoot Toward Space, Not Earth

Our Planet's Killer Electrons Shoot Toward Space, Not Earth

NASA

Researchers have found that the Van Allen radiation belts encircling Earth can deflect streams of high-energy electrons erupting from the Sun. [Full Story]

NEXT: Newt Gingrich's Moon Base by 2020: Can It Be Done?

Newt Gingrich's Moon Base by 2020: Can It Be Done?

NASA.

GOP presidential primary candidate Newt Gingrich has stated his goal of building a moonbase by 2020, but just how realistic is this plan? [Full Story]

NEXT: NASA Probe Discovers 'Alien' Matter From Beyond Our Solar System

NASA Probe Discovers 'Alien' Matter From Beyond Our Solar System

NASA/GSFC

NASA will host a briefing at 1 p.m. EST today (Jan. 31) to discuss new analysis from NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft of material from outside our solar system and the interstellar boundary region that surrounds our home in space. [Full Story]

NEXT: Powerful Sun Storms May Sweep Away Space Junk

Powerful Sun Storms May Sweep Away Space Junk

European Space Agency

The increasing solar activity and subsequent expansion of Earth’s atmosphere has increased drag on some of the orbiting junk, causing them to fall into the atmosphere and burn up sooner than they otherwise would. More than half of the reentered debris from a 2007 antisatellite test fell back into Earth’s atmosphere in 2011, according to a new report, and more debris should continue to rain down in 2012 and 2013. [Full Story]

NEXT: New Report Pinpoints NASA's 16 Biggest Space Tech Needs

New Report Pinpoints NASA's 16 Biggest Space Tech Needs

NASA

A new report by the National Academy of Sciences has identified NASA's big space tech goals for future missions. [Full Story]

NEXT: Astronaut Launches into TV Frontier on 'Big Bang Theory' Today

Astronaut Launches into TV Frontier on 'Big Bang Theory' Today

NASA/CBS

NASA astronaut Mike Massimino, who gained Internet fame as the first spaceflyer to send Twitter updates from space, is about to get another taste of stardom, this time on the CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" as a guest star on Thursday, Feb. 2. [Full Story]

NEXT: Petitioners Push for Pluto Probe Postage Stamp

Petitioners Push for Pluto Probe Postage Stamp

NASA/SWRI/Dan Durda

NASA's New Horizons robotic spacecraft is set to flyby Pluto and its moons in 2015. Timed accordingly, the mission team launched a petition campaign Wednesday (Feb. 1) for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to commemorate the New Horizons on a stamp. [Full Story]

NEXT: New Report Pinpoints NASA's 16 Biggest Space Tech Needs

NASA Probe Captures 1st Video of Moon's Far Side

NASA/JPL-Caltech

A gravity-mapping spacecraft orbiting the moon has beamed home its first video of the lunar far side — a view people on Earth never see. [Full Story]

NEXT: Habitable Zones Around Alien Suns May Depend on Chemistry

Habitable Zones Around Alien Suns May Depend on Chemistry

NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

By looking at the wavelengths of light from nearby stars, researchers have determined the abundance of certain elements for more than a hundred stars. Trace elements in such stars may influence their habitable zones, where planets with life might dwell. [Full Story]

NEXT: Newfound Alien Planet is Best Candidate Yet to Support Life, Scientists Say

Newfound Alien Planet is Best Candidate Yet to Support Life, Scientists Say

Carnegie Institution for Science

A potentially habitable alien planet — one that scientists say is the best candidate yet to harbor water, and possibly even life, on its surface — has been found around a nearby star. [Full Story]

NEXT: Early Universe May Have Abounded With Dark Matter-Powered Stars

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