Vote Now! Top Space News of the Week - March 3, 2013

Radiation Belts, Private Rockets & More

NASA/Van Allen Probes/Goddard Space Flight Center

Last week NASA discovered a new radiation belt around Earth, SpaceX Capsule’s ISS arrival will be delayed due to last-minute fix and India launched an asteroid hunter. See the top stories of the last week here.

FIRST STOP: New Privately Built Rocket Passes Key Engine Test

Privately Built Rocket Passes Key Engine Test

NASA/Wallops Flight Facility

Orbital Sciences' new commercial Antares rocket passed a key engine test at a Virginia spaceport Friday (Feb. 22), setting the stage for full demonstration flights and cargo delivery missions to the International Space Station. [Full Story]

NEXT: Indian Rocket Launches Asteroid-Hunting Satellite, Tiny Space Telescopes

Indian Rocket Launches Asteroid-Hunting Satellite, Tiny Space Telescopes

India Space Research Organisation

NEOSSat and six other satellites (including the smallest satellite every to be sent into orbit) launched this morning at 7:31 a.m. ET (1231 GMT) from India in the first rocket launch of the year for the Indian Space Research Organization. [Full Story]

NEXT: Mars May Be Habitable Today, Scientists Say

Mars May Be Habitable Today, Scientists Say

NASA/ESA

While Mars was likely a more hospitable place in its wetter, warmer past, the Red Planet may still be capable of supporting microbial life today, some scientists say. [Full Story]

NEXT: 'Vulcan' and 'Cerberus' Win Pluto Moon Naming Poll

'Vulcan' and 'Cerberus' Win Pluto Moon Naming Poll

NASA

The votes are in, and it looks like 'Vulcan' could be the new name for one of Pluto's smallest moons. After weeks of online ballot casting by people around the world, the poll asking the public to name two of Pluto's moons — currently called P4 and P5 — ended today (Feb. 25). [Full Story]

NEXT: NASA's Curiosity Rover Eats 1st Mars Rock Sample

NASA's Curiosity Rover Eats 1st Mars Rock Sample

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has eaten its first powdery sample from inside a Martian rock. The rover placed the rock powder inside two onboard instruments. [Full Story]

NEXT: Wanted: Married Couple for Private Mars Voyage in 2018

Wanted: Married Couple for Private Mars Voyage in 2018

Inspiration Mars Foundation

Space tourist Dennis Tito announced today that he plans to embark on a private trip to Mars in 2018. [Full Story]

NEXT: Asteroid Hunt: Private Groups Join Search for Dangerous Space Rocks

Asteroid Hunt: Private Groups Join Search for Dangerous Space Rocks

ESA

NASA has long led the search for potentially dangerous asteroids, but now private companies and a nonprofit are joining the hunt in a big way. [Full Story]

NEXT: Monster Black Hole's Spin Revealed for 1st Time

Monster Black Hole's Spin Revealed for 1st Time

ESO/P. Grosbøl

A new study using NASA's NuStar black hole-hunting spacecraft and another X-ray telescope is revealing new details about what actually happens near a black hole. [Full Story]

NEXT: Russian Meteor's Origin and Size Pinned Down

Russian Meteor's Origin and Size Pinned Down

Russian Emergency Ministry

A meteor that exploded over Russia earlier this month likely hit Earth after a long trip from beyond the orbit of Mars, scientists say. [Full Story]

NEXT: NASA Discovers New Radiation Belt Around Earth

NASA Discovers New Radiation Belt Around Earth

NASA/Van Allen Probes/Goddard Space Flight Center

A new ring of radiation briefly surrounded Earth last year before getting virtually annihilated by a powerful interplanetary shock wave, researchers say. [Full Story]

NEXT: SpaceX Dragon Capsule Docks at Space Station

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