Vote Now! Best Space Stories of the Week – Dec. 8, 2013

Chang'e 3 Lunar Orbit, Hubble Eyes Water and More

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Last week China's first moon rover arrived in lunar orbit, signs of water were found on five alien planets, and NASA's hobbled Kepler space telescope took one step closer to resuming its search for alien planets. See the best stories from last week here.

FIRST STOP: China's 1st Moon Rover Arrives in Lunar Orbit

China's 1st Moon Rover Arrives in Lunar Orbit

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation

Less than five days after leaving Earth atop a blazing Long March launcher, China's Chang'e 3 spacecraft reached lunar orbit Friday to prepare for an historic rocket-assisted touchdown in the moon's Bay of Rainbows later this month. [Full Story]

NEXT: Air Force's Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Nears One Year In Orbit

Air Force's Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Nears One Year In Orbit

NASA/MSFC

The U.S. Air Force's mysterious X-37B space plane is nearing a major milestone — one year of travel in Earth orbit, performing duties in support of long-term space objectives. [Full Story]

NEXT: Signs of Water Found on 5 Alien Planets by Hubble Telescope

Signs of Water Found on 5 Alien Planets by Hubble Telescope

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has detected water in the atmospheres of five planets beyond our solar system, two recent studies report. [Full Story]

NEXT: Giant Alien Planet Discovered in Most Distant Orbit Ever Seen

Giant Alien Planet Discovered in Most Distant Orbit Ever Seen

NASA/JPL-Caltech

An enormous alien planet — one that is 11 times more massive than Jupiter — was discovered in the most distant orbit yet found around a single parent star. [Full Story]

NEXT: Life on Mars: How a One-Way Martian Colony Project Could Work

Life on Mars: How a One-Way Martian Colony Project Could Work

Bryan Versteeg/Mars One

It's a one-way ticket, but don't worry: You'll live there longer than back home on Earth, says Bas Lansdorp. After all, on Mars you can't get hit by a car. And everything you'll eat will be organic — no pesticides, just fertilizer made from, well, recycled human waste. [Full Story]

NEXT: How to Preserve Historic Moon Landing Sites for Posterity

How to Preserve Historic Moon Landing Sites for Posterity

NASA

Scientists are debating the best ways to preserve lunar landing sites in light of China’s recent mission to land a probe on the surface of the moon. [Full Story]

NEXT: Mystery of Moon's Origin Could Be Solved by Venus Mission

Mystery of Moon's Origin Could Be Solved by Venus Mission

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Launching a mission to the planet Venus could help reveal exactly how the moon formed roughly 4.5 billion years ago, one prominent researcher says. [Full Story]

NEXT: Fate of Comet ISON Uncertain After Fiery Sun Encounter

Fate of Comet ISON Uncertain After Fiery Sun Encounter

ESA/NASA/SOHO/SDO/GSFC

Comet ISON appears to have survived its close encounter with the sun on Thursday, but has enough survived to make it an impressive night sky sight? The comet question is evolving. [Full Story]

NEXT: China's 1st Moon Rover Launches On Lunar Journey

China's 1st Moon Rover Launches On Lunar Journey

CCTV

China launched its first moon rover mission, Chang'e 3, on early Monday (Dec. 2) local time, marking the country's first lunar landing attempt. See how Chang'e 3 and the Yutu rover will explore the moon. [Full Story]

NEXT: Saving Hubble: Astronauts Recall 1st Space Telescope Repair Mission 20 Years Ago

Saving Hubble: Astronauts Recall 1st Space Telescope Repair Mission 20 Years Ago

NASA

This year marks the 20th anniversary of STS-61, the historic space shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. To honor the milestone, several retired NASA mission controllers, and five of the seven STS-61 astronauts, gathered at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., to reminisce about the daring operation. [Full Story]

NEXT: NASA's Ailing Planet-Hunting Kepler Spacecraft Moves Closer to New Mission

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