Vote Now! Top Space Stories of the Week - Oct. 21, 2012

Supersonic Skydive, Closest Alien Planet and More

NASA/IRTF/JPL-Caltech/NAOJ/A. Wesley/A. Kazemoto/C. Go

Last Week scientists discovered a Earth-mass planet in orbit around the sun-like star Alpha Centauri B, a study revealed Jupiter's dramatic transformations, and skydiver added going supersonic to his already record-breaking leap. See the top stories of the last week here.
FIRST STOP: Discovery! Earth-Size Alien Planet at Alpha Centauri Is Closest Ever Seen

Discovery! Earth-Size Alien Planet at Alpha Centauri Is Closest Ever Seen

ESO/L. Calçada

Astronomers have discovered an Earth-mass planet in orbit around the sun-like star Alpha Centauri B, the closest star to our own solar system. The planet is extremely close to the star and makes one orbit every 3.236 days. [Full Story]

NEXT: Pluto's Moons (and Maybe Rings) Pose Risk for NASA Spacecraft

Pluto's Moons (and Maybe Rings) Pose Risk for NASA Spacecraft

Southwest Research Institute

Pluto's moons and newfound rings could pose hazards to NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, now hurtling toward the distant world.[Full Story]

NEXT: Secretive X-37B Military Space Plane Launch May Be Delayed by Glitch

Secretive X-37B Military Space Plane Launch May Be Delayed by Glitch

Boeing

An investigation into a rocket glitch may delay the planned Oct. 25 launch of the U.S. military's enigmatic X-37B space plane, Air Force officials say. [Full Story]

NEXT: Jupiter Photos Reveal Big Changes on Giant Planet

Jupiter Photos Reveal Big Changes on Giant Planet

NASA/IRTF/JPL-Caltech/NAOJ/A. Wesley/A. Kazemoto/C. Go

Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, has made some dramatic transformations in recent years, a new study reveals. [Full Story]

NEXT: Huge Moon-Forming Collision Theory Gets New Spin

Huge Moon-Forming Collision Theory Gets New Spin

NASA/JPL-Caltech

The moon’s composition is indeed consistent with its creation via a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-size body long ago, two new studies report. [Full Story]

NEXT:Private Space Taxis On Track to Launch Astronauts

Private Space Taxi Builders On Track to Launch Astronauts Soon

NASA

The three companies chosen by NASA to build commercial space taxis, SpaceX, Sierra Nevada, and Boeing, are each hoping to launch people within the next three to five years. [Full Story]

NEXT: Yum! Curiosity Rover Swallows 1st Mars Sample, Finds Odd Bright Stuff

Yum! Curiosity Rover Swallows 1st Mars Sample, Finds Odd Bright Stuff

NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has swallowed its first tiny bite of Martian soil, after standing down for a spell while scientists checked out some strange bright bits in the dirt. [Full Story]

NEXT: World's Highest Skydive! Daredevil Makes Record-Breaking Supersonic Jump

World's Highest Skydive! Daredevil Makes Record-Breaking Supersonic Jump

Red Bull Stratos

An Austrian daredevil plummeted into the record books today (Oct. 14), breaking the mark for highest-ever skydive after leaping from a balloon more than 24 miles above Earth's surface. Add one more feat: Going supersonic. [Full Story]

NEXT: Spectacular Meteor Sparks Fireball Over California

Spectacular Meteor Sparks Fireball Over California

Rachel Fritz & Rick Nolthenius/Cabrillo College

Spectacular meteor lit up the sky over California Wednesday night (Oct. 17) just days before a highly anticipated meteor shower hits its peak this weekend. [Full Story]

NEXT: Violent Origin of Saturn's Oddball Moons Explained

Violent Origin of Saturn's Oddball Moons Explained

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

A new theory suggests that Saturn began its life much like Jupiter, with several large moons that were bombarded by collisions to create the multitude of smaller satellites now orbiting the ringed planet. [Full Story]

NEXT: Tiniest Alien Solar System Discovered: 5 Packed Planets

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