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Vote Now! Top Space Stories of the Week - Jan. 27, 2013

Columbia’s Tragic Mission Remembered, Space Junk and More

Melrae Pictures, Space Junk 3D: http://www.spacejunk3d.com/

Last week SPACE.com readers and experts shared their memories of the day of the Columbia accident, we looked at the evolving threat of Earth-circling orbital debris and a close conjunction of Jupiter and the moon amazed stargazers all over the world. See the top stories of the last week here.

FIRST STOP: Space Shuttle Columbia Tragedy: Share Your Thoughts

Space Shuttle Columbia Tragedy: Share Your Thoughts

NASA/JSC

We ask SPACE.com readers and experts for their memories of the day of the Columbia accident. [Full Story]

NEXT: Space Junk Menace: How to Deal with Orbital Debris

Space Junk Menace: How to Deal with Orbital Debris

Melrae Pictures, Space Junk 3D: http://www.spacejunk3d.com/

The saga of what steps must be taken to deal with the evolving threat of Earth-circling orbital debris is a work in progress. Dangerous space junk comes in all sizes and, indeed, has become a “growth industry” in and of itself. [Full Story]

NEXT: On Mars, Dry Ice 'Smoke' Carves Up Sand Dunes

On Mars, Dry Ice 'Smoke' Carves Up Sand Dunes

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Thawing dry ice causes seasonal changes in dunes on Mars, a new study suggests. [Full Story]

NEXT: NASA Eyes 'Hedgehog' Invasion of Mars Moon Phobos

NASA Eyes 'Hedgehog' Invasion of Mars Moon Phobos

Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

Stanford researchers have created new spiky rovers called hedgehogs that could be used for a mission on Phobos, a Martian moon. How they work and where the project stands. [Full Story]

NEXT: Giant Mars Crater Shows Evidence of Ancient Lake

Giant Mars Crater Shows Evidence of Ancient Lake

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Groundwater might lurk under the surface of Mars, hinting that a vast amount of life might once have potentially lived there. [Full Story]

NEXT: Space Explosion to Blame for Tree Ring Mystery, Astronomers Say

Space Explosion to Blame for Tree Ring Mystery, Astronomers Say

NASA / Dana Berry

A spike in rare chemicals recorded in tree rings from 775 A.D. may have been caused by a space explosion called a gamma-ray burst, according to a new study. The study solves a long-standing tree ring mystery. [Full Story]

NEXT: NASA's Planet-Hunting Kepler Telescope Stalled by Glitch

NASA's Planet-Hunting Kepler Telescope Stalled by Glitch

NASA.

NASA's prolific planet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope has been placed in a precautionary "safe mode" after engineers noticed a problem with the instrument's orientation mechanism. [Full Story]

NEXT: Close Encounter of Jupiter and Moon Wows Stargazers

Close Encounter of Jupiter and Moon Wows Stargazers

Greg Diesel Walck/facebook.com/GregDieselPhotography

A close conjunction of Jupiter and the moon amazed stargazers all over the world last night. Readers submitted photos of what the close pairing looked like. [Full Story]

NEXT: Is Space Big Enough for Two Asteroid-Mining Companies?

Is Space Big Enough for Two Asteroid-Mining Companies?

Deep Space Industries

The second company to jump into the asteroid-mining business isn't worried about competition from its rival, saying that the resources of space are vast enough to support an entire extractive industry off Earth's surface. [Full Story]

NEXT: Astronaut's Video Reveals Secret of Zero-G Fingernail Clipping

Astronaut's Video Reveals Secret of Zero-G Fingernail Clipping

CSA / NASA

The Canadian Space Agency released a video of Chris Hadfield explaining how to cut fingernails in space. [Full Story]

NEXT: How NASA Revealed Sun's Hottest Secret in 5-Minute Spaceflight

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Space.com Staff

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Kim Hickock as our Reference Editor and Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.