Vote Now! Best Space Stories of the Week – Nov. 3, 2013

Strange Lava World, Magma Mush and More

David A. Aguilar (CfA)

Last week scientists discovered the most Earthlike alien planet yet, a researcher said the early moon may have been made of magma 'mush' and private Dream Chaser space plane successfully tested its automated approach and landing system, despite a malfunction.

FIRST STOP: Secrets of Sunday's Rare Solar Eclipse Explained

Secrets of Sunday's Rare Solar Eclipse Explained

Jay Pasachoff/Williams College

A slice of eastern North America will undergo a weird and dramatic event early Sunday (Nov. 3) morning: a partial eclipse of the sun. [Full Story]

NEXT: Strange 'Lava World' Is Most Earthlike Alien Planet Yet

Strange 'Lava World' Is Most Earthlike Alien Planet Yet

David A. Aguilar (CfA)

Researchers have found an alien planet that’s Earthlike in size and density, though it’s far hotter than our home planet. [Full Story]

NEXT: China's Next Moon Mission Targets Lunar 'Bay of Rainbows'

China's Next Moon Mission Targets Lunar 'Bay of Rainbows'

Beijing Institute of Spacecraft System Engineering

Preparations continue as China readies its Chang’e 3 mission – one step on the long march to survey the moon with robots, expected to be followed by a space voyage of human explorers. Its rocket will arrive at its launch site on Nov. 1. [Full Story]

NEXT: Russian Fireball Explosion Shows Meteor Risk Greater Than Thought

Russian Fireball Explosion Shows Meteor Risk Greater Than Thought

Randy Montoya/Sandia

As more leftover pieces are recovered from the space rock that detonated earlier this year near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, the event is helping to flag a worrisome finding: The frequency of large airbursts is misjudged. [Full Story]

NEXT: 'Ender's Game' Film Got Zero Gravity Tips from Real-Life Astronaut

'Ender's Game' Film Got Zero Gravity Tips from Real-Life Astronaut

Summit Entertainment

Former NASA astronaut Greg Chamitoff advised the filmmakers responsible for producing “Ender’s Game.” [Full Story]

NEXT: Was the Early Moon Made of Magma 'Mush'?

Was the Early Moon Made of Magma 'Mush'?

NASA/JPL-Caltech

The nascent moon may have never had a magma ocean but instead was a sort of a magma “mush” for hundreds of millions of years before it solidified, says a researcher. [Full Story]

NEXT: Private Dream Chaser Space Plane Skids Off Runway After Milestone Test Flight (Video)

Private Dream Chaser Space Plane Skids Off Runway After Milestone Test Flight (Video)

Sierra Nevada Corp.

The first free flight of a new private space plane successfully tested the spacecraft's automated approach and landing system, despite a malfunction that sent the spacecraft skidding off the runway at the end of the flight, its builder tells SPACE.com. [Full Story]

NEXT: Incredible Technology: Laser Space Communications for Interplanetary Travel

Incredible Technology: Laser Space Communications for Interplanetary Travel

NASA

A look at NASA’s efforts to develop high-speed, high-fidelity laser communications systems for its spacecraft. [Full Story]

NEXT: Private Space Plane Suffers Landing Gear Glitch in Drop Test

Private Space Plane Suffers Landing Gear Glitch in Drop Test

NASA

A privately built Dream Chaser space plane performed a key flight test Saturday (Oct. 26), but officials are now examining a malfunction that occurred when the vehicle touched down for landing, according to NASA representatives. [Full Story]

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.