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Best Space Photos of the Week - March 23, 2013

Northern Lights: Amazing Aurora Photos of 2013

Auroramax

Canada's automated aurora camera tweeted this photo on March 17, 2013. The tweet read: "AURORAMAX GALLERY • Latest #photo of #aurora borealis above Yellowknife, NWT taken at 03:13 MDT on March 17, 2013. pic.twitter.com/E9q7pQJ1l7." [See the full photo gallery]

Curiosity Rover Eyes Huge Mars Mountain in Amazing Photos

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has captured a stunningly detailed panorama of the giant Red Planet mountain that is the robot's ultimate science destination. [Full Story]

NASA Apollo Moon Rocket Engines Recovered by Jeff Bezos (Photos)

Bezos Expeditions

The thrust chamber of one of five first stage F-1 rocket engines used to launch one of NASA's mighty Saturn V rocket on a historic Apollo moon mission is seen on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean in this Bezos Expeditions image. [See the full photo gallery]

Aftermath of Volcano Eruption Seen from Space

NASA Earth Observatory.

Ash, lava and debris cloak the snowy slopes of Kizimen volcano on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula after a series of eruptions early this month. [Full Story]

Jupiter's Atmosphere Has Weird Hot Flashes

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/GSFC

Though Jupiter is shrouded in swirling clouds, its atmosphere has some mysterious clear patches that scientists call "hot spots." A new study of 13-year-old Cassini probe photos of Jupiter sheds new light on the planet’s hotspot. [Full Story]

Gamers Wanted: Teach Space Robots with Drone App

ESA-Anneke Le Floc'h

The ESA has launched a free augmented reality app for iPhone and iPad called AstroDrone that lets players "see" virtual objects, such as a replica of the International Space Station, and practice docking their drones to the station. [Full Story]

US Military Launches Missile Defense Satellite (Photos)

Pat Corkery, United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the second Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO-2 satellite for the U.S. Air Force at 5:21 p.m. EDT on March 19, 2013. [See the full photo gallery]

ESA and the Planck Collaboration

This image unveiled March 21, 2013, shows the cosmic microwave background (CMB) as observed by the European Space Agency's Planck space observatory. [See the full photo gallery]

Heart Nebula Wows in Beautiful Night Sky Photo

Terry Hancock

Located about 7,500 light-years away in the constellation of Cassiopeia, the heart nebula is a mix of gas and dark dust. [Full Story]

On the Moon, NASA Probe Sees Where Sun Never Shines

NASA/GSFC/SVS

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is mapping moon craters that have never seen the light of day. See how the powerful probe can peek inside the moon's permanent lunar shadows. [Full Story]

NASA Video Captures Comet, Sun Storm and Earth Together

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/STEREO

A new NASA video has captured an amazing view of the Comet Pan-STARRS weathering a solar eruption, with the Earth in the background. See how NASA's Stereo spacecraft captured the cosmic sight. [Full Story]

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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.