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Vote Now! Best Space Stories of the Week - Sept. 22, 2013

Cygnus’ Maiden Voyage, Solar Sails & More

Dan Durda

Last week private Cygnus spacecraft launched on its maiden space station voyage, researchers said comet crashes could spawn the ingredients of life, and scientists considered whether solar sails attached to spacecrafts could be the key technology needed to explore interstellar distances.

FIRST STOP: Private Cygnus Spacecraft Launches on Maiden Space Station Voyage

Private Cygnus Spacecraft Launches on Maiden Space Station Voyage

collectSPACE.com/Robert Z. Pearlman

An unmanned Cygnus spacecraft is expected to launch into space today on its debut test flight to the International Space Station. [Full Story]

NEXT: Comet Crashes Can Spawn the Ingredients of Life

Comet Crashes Can Spawn the Ingredients of Life

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The explosive collisions of icy comets with planets and moons generated the vital building blocks of life, spreading these necessary ingredients throughout the solar system, researchers say. [Full Story]

NEXT: Exomoons Around Alien Planets May Be Too Small for Life

Exomoons Around Alien Planets May Be Too Small for Life

Dan Durda

Alien moons around distant worlds may not possess magnetic fields strong enough to protect life from the high-energy radiation that will likely blast them from nearby planets and stars, researchers say. [Full Story]

NEXT: New Alien Life Claim Far from Convincing, Scientists Say

New Alien Life Claim Far from Convincing, Scientists Say

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

A new study that claims to present evidence of alien life is being met with a healthy dose of skepticism in the scientific community. [Full Story]

NEXT: Incredible Technology: How Solar Sails Could Propel the First Starships

Incredible Technology: How Solar Sails Could Propel the First Starships

Adrian Mann

Solar sails attached to spacecraft could be the key technology we need to explore interstellar distances. A 100 km solar sail could reach alpha centauri in 1,000 years. [Full Story]

NEXT: Surprise! Near-Earth Asteroid Is Actually 'Sopping Wet' Comet

Surprise! Near-Earth Asteroid Is Actually 'Sopping Wet' Comet

NASA/JPL-Caltech/DLR/NAU

The celestial object known as 3552 Don Quixote is classified as an asteroid, but researchers have long believed it to be a "dead" comet stripped of its ices. But Don Quixote is actually a live, sopping wet comet, a new study reports. [Full Story]

NEXT: Tiny Asteroid Gives Earth a Close Shave

Tiny Asteroid Gives Earth a Close Shave

NASA

A small asteroid flew harmlessly by the Earth today, passing in between the planet and the moon. [Full Story]

NEXT: US Military Wants New Experimental Space Plane

US Military Wants New Experimental Space Plane

DARPA

The United States military is kick-starting a suborbital hypersonic vehicle program that also aims to launch payloads into orbit on the cheap. [Full Story]

NEXT: Iran Plans to Send Persian Cat to Space, Reports Say

Iran Plans to Send Persian Cat to Space, Reports Say

Sharon Alexander via Shutterstock

Iran announced that it wants a Persian cat to be its next astronaut, the country's state news agency reported. [Full Story]

NEXT: Water on Mars: Curiosity Rover Uncovers a Flood of Evidence

Water on Mars: Curiosity Rover Uncovers a Flood of Evidence

Malin Space Science Systems

Water, water everywhere, and some of it fit to drink. That’s the picture of ancient Mars that has emerged during the past few months thanks to discoveries by NASA’s Curiosity rover, which has been exploring the Red Planet since touching down inside Gale Crater in August 2012. [Full Story]

NEXT: Could Upcoming Comet Flybys Damage Mars Spacecraft?

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