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Vote Now! Best Space Stories of the Week – Oct. 13, 2013

Astronaut Scott Carpenter in Hanger S Crew Quarters During Suiting Exercise
Astronaut M. Scott Carpenter, prime pilot for the Mercury-Atlas 7 flight, is seen in Hanger S crew quarters during a suiting exercise in 1962.
(Image: © NASA)

Diamond Rain, a Watery Asteroid and a Lonely Planet

Terry Bakker

Last week we looked at the physics of 'Gravity,' found a lonely planet and looked at the possibilities of diamonds on Jupiter and Saturn.

FIRST STOP: Europe's Gravity-Mapping GOCE Satellite Faces Big Fall from Space

Europe's Gravity-Mapping GOCE Satellite Faces Big Fall from Space

AOES Medialab

The European Space Agency’s Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) is nearing its nosedive to Earth. GOCE was launched in 2009 into a Sun-synchronous, near-circular polar orbit by a Russian Rockot vehicle from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. In today’s dollars, the mission is a $475 million effort, including launcher and operations. [Full Story]

NEXT: Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter, Second American in Orbit, Dies at 88

Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter, Second American in Orbit, Dies at 88

NASA (via RetroSpaceImages.com)

The fourth U.S. astronaut to fly in space and the second to orbit the Earth, Scott Carpenter, 88, died on Oct. 10 after suffering a recent stroke. [Full Story]

NEXT: Sunjammer, World's Largest Solar Sail, Passes Key Test for 2015 Launch

Sunjammer, World's Largest Solar Sail, Passes Key Test for 2015 Launch

Space Services Holdings, Inc.

NASA's Sunjammer mission successfully deployed a quadrant of its solar sail in a test on Monday (Sept 30), revealing that the craft should be ready to function successfully following its January 2015 launch. [Full Story]

NEXT: Beer In Space: 11-Year-Old's Tiny Brewery Will Fly to Space Station

Beer In Space: 11-Year-Old's Tiny Brewery Will Fly to Space Station

SSEP

In a couple months, the astronauts on the International Space Station will get an alcoholic treat, courtesy of a sixth grader. [Full Story]

NEXT: Lonely Alien Planet Discovered Without a Parent Star

Lonely Alien Planet Discovered Without a Parent Star

MPIA/V. Ch. Quetz

Astronomers have discovered a lonely planet that's floating by itself in deep space without orbiting a star. [Full Story]

NEXT: Watery Asteroid Found Around Dying Star

Watery Asteroid Found Around Dying Star, Potential Habitable Planet Ingredient

Mark A. Garlick, space-art.co.uk, University of Warwick and University of Cambridge

Scientists say that a white dwarf beyond our solar system known as GD 61 has destroyed a rocky, water-rich planetary body; before it was reduced to a dusty, circumstellar disk, this particular exoplanet or asteroid was composed of about 26 percent water by mass, according to the researchers. It is how Earth will ultimately die, they add. [Full Story]

NEXT: First Evidence of Comet Striking Earth Found in Egypt

First Evidence of Comet Striking Earth Found in Egypt

Terry Bakker

A team of scientists claims to have found the first-ever definitive evidence of a comet striking Earth. [Full Story]

NEXT: Astronauts Want Moon Landmark Names Recognized

Astronauts Want Moon Landmark Names Recognized

NASA

If Google Maps existed back in 1969 and included directions for navigating to the surface of the moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin might have plugged in "Tranquility Base" and been told to begin their descent by passing over "Mount Marilyn" on their way to mankind's first lunar landing. [Full Story]

NEXT: Diamond Rain May Fill Skies of Jupiter and Saturn

Diamond Rain May Fill Skies of Jupiter and Saturn

Michael Carroll/Alien Seas

Jupiter and Saturn might just be a girl’s best friend. The two distant gas giants might be overflowing with diamonds, new research shows.[Full Story]

NEXT: Sun Unleashes Strongest Solar Flare In 2 Months

Sun Unleashes Strongest Solar Flare In 2 Months

NASA/SDO

The strongest solar flare in nearly two months erupted from the sun Tuesday (Oct. 8), causing a minor geomagnetic storm as charged particles from the sun passed by the planet. [Full Story]

NEXT: Astronaut Leroy Chiao: Quick Fusion-Powered Trips to Mars No Fantasy, Scientists Say

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