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Vote Now! Top Space Stories of the Week - Feb. 3, 2013

Columbia Shuttle Disaster's Tough Lesson, Earth to Get Record-Setting Close Shave and More

NASA/Bill Ingalls

Last week we remembered the Columbia tragedy reinforcing that spaceflight remains a dangerous proposition, scientists determined an asteroid half the size of a football field will give Earth a record-setting close shave this month and scientists updated the definition of the habitable zone. See the top stories of the last week here.

FIRST STOP: Columbia Shuttle Disaster's Tough Lesson: Spaceflight Still Dangerous

Columbia Shuttle Disaster's Tough Lesson: Spaceflight Still Dangerous

NASA

The tragic destruction of the space shuttle Columbia 10 years ago today reinforced that spaceflight remains a dangerous proposition, experts say.[Full Story]

[Special Report: Columbia Shuttle Disaster 10 Years Later]

NEXT: Sea Launch Rocket Fails During Liftoff, Satellite Lost

Sea Launch Rocket Fails During Liftoff, Satellite Lost

Sea Launch

A commercial Sea Launch rocket failed 40 seconds after liftoff from its floating launch platform in the Pacific Ocean on Friday (Feb. 1) destroying the Intelsat IS-27 telecommunications satellite and compromising Sea Launch's long road to recovery from its previous failure in January 2007. [Full Story]

NEXT: Liftoff! NASA Launches Next-Generation Relay Satellite into Space

Liftoff! NASA Launches Next-Generation Relay Satellite into Space

NASA TV

NASA is expected to launch a new satellite to boost its communications network in Earth orbit tonight. Launch is set for Jan. 30 from 8:48 to 9:28 pm ET. [Full Story]

NEXT: Asteroid to Give Earth Record-Setting Close Shave on Feb. 15

Asteroid to Give Earth Record-Setting Close Shave on Feb. 15

Paul Chodas, Jon Giorgini & Don Yeomans NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office

An asteroid half the size of a football field will give Earth the ultimate close shave this month, passing closer than many satellites when it whizzes by, but it won't hit the planet, NASA scientists say.[Full Story]

NEXT: NASA to Launch World's Largest Solar Sail in 2014

NASA to Launch World's Largest Solar Sail in 2014

L’Garde

The largest solar sail ever constructed is headed for space duty in 2014, built to showcase the value of “propellantless propulsion” – letting photons from the sun shove the craft through space.[Full Story]

NEXT: Private Space Plane Poised for Big Test Flight

Private Space Plane Poised for Big Test Flight

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)

A private space plane is slated to fly on its own for the first time in the next six to eight weeks, a key drop-test milestone in the vehicle's quest to fly astronauts on roundtrip space missions. [Full Story]

NEXT: Iran's Space Monkey Launch Prompts Missile Technology Concerns

Iran's Space Monkey Launch Prompts Missile Technology Concerns

Iran State TV/Powered by NewsLook

The reports that Iran launched a monkey into space Monday has sparked concern among U.S. officials and missile watchdog groups who cite that the same technology could be used to extend the reach of Iran's military weapons. [Full Story]

NEXT: 'Habitable Zone' for Alien Planets, and Possibly Life, Redefined

'Habitable Zone' for Alien Planets, and Possibly Life, Redefined

PHL @ UPR Arecibo, Rogelio Bernal Andreo

Scientists have updated the definition of the habitable zone, that just-right range of distances from a star at which a planet may support liquid water, and perhaps life. [Full Story]

NEXT: New Cosmic 'Scale' Could Weigh Distant Black Holes

New Cosmic 'Scale' Could Weigh Distant Black Holes

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scientists have devised a new way to measure the size of black holes by comparing the behavior of gas clouds to computer models. [Full Story]

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