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Vote Now! Top Space Stories of the Week - July 15, 2012

Pluto Moons, Weird Life and More

NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)

In the last seven days we've learned the search for alien life might be more challenging than previously thought, witnessed another massive solar flare, and discovered a fifth moon orbiting Pluto. But which story comes out on top?

Root for your favorite space news story of the week here in our latest voting round!

FIRST STOP: Milky Way's Mystery Wave

Mystery Wave in Milky Way Galaxy Suggests Recent Crash

ESO/S. Guisard

An unprecedented wave in the Milky Way suggests a smaller galaxy may have crashed into it recently, astronomers say. [Full Story

NEXT STOP: Northern Lights Oddity: Strange Sounds of Auroras Explained

Northern Lights Oddity: Strange Sounds of Auroras Explained

Shawn Malone

Researchers think they've identified the source of a strange clapping noise associated with the northern lights. [Full Story

NEXT STOP: NASA's Final Space Shuttle Mission — Where Are They Now?

NASA's Final Space Shuttle Mission — Where Are They Now?

collectSPACE.com/Robert Z. Pearlman

One year after launching on NASA's final space shuttle mission, the orbiter Atlantis is parked today just a few miles from the launch pad where it lifted off on July 8, 2011. [Full Story

NEXT STOP: How the Euclid Telescope Will Probe the Invisible Universe

How the Euclid Telescope Will Probe the Invisible Universe

Thales Alenia Space - Italy

Nearly a thousand scientists will work together to shed light on dark matter and dark energy when the Euclid telescope is launched in 2020, the largest collaboration of astronomers in the world. The visual and infrared telescope, which received the go-ahead for construction in June, will peer into space to map the galaxies and the dark matter that surrounds them in 3D. [Full Story

NEXT STOP: 'Arsenic Life' Debate Reveals Challenge of Alien Microbe Search

Science/AAAS.

As the recent arsenic-life brouhaha suggests, it probably will be tough to find (and confirm) the existence of lifeforms fundamentally different than the ones we're used to observing here on planet Earth. [Full Story

NEXT STOP: Military's Hypersonic Rocket Plane by 2016

US Military to Launch Hypersonic Rocket Plane by 2016

DARPA

DARPA aims to test-fly a full-scale hypersonic plane by 2016, officials say. [Full Story

NEXT STOP: Virgin Galactic Unveils LauncherOne Rocket for Private Satellite Launches

Virgin Galactic Unveils LauncherOne Rocket for Private Satellite Launches

Virgin Galactic

Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the private space tourism company Virgin Galactic, unveiled plans today (July 11) to add satellite launches to its list of commercial space services, with the first flights to blast off in 2016. [Full Story

NEXT STOP: Pluto Has a Fifth Moon, Hubble Telescope Reveals

Pluto Has a Fifth Moon, Hubble Telescope Reveals

NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)

A new moon has been discovered orbiting Pluto, bringing its total to five satellites, scientists announced today (July 11). Alan Stern, lead scientist for NASA's New Horizons probe to Pluto, announced the discovery on Twitter. [Full Story

NEXT STOP: Asteroid Crashes Likely Gave Earth Its Water

Asteroid Crashes Likely Gave Earth Its Water

Don Davis

A new study helps narrow the search for the origin of water in the Solar System, suggesting that asteroids are the most likely source of water on Earth. [Full Story

NEXT STOP: Major Solar Flare Erupts From Giant Sunspot

Major Solar Flare Erupts From Giant Sunspot

NASA/SDO/AIA

A huge X1.4 solar flare erupted from the sun on Thursday, July 12, marking the second major solar flare in less than a week. The solar flare erupted from giant sunspot AR1520.[Full Story

NEXT STOP: TV's 'Big Bang Theory' Gives Away Free Trip to Space

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