Vote Now! Best Space Stories of the Week – Jan. 19, 2014

Mystery Rock, Quiet Black Hole and More

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Last week a mystery rock “appeared” in front of Mars rover Opportunity, astronomers found a fast-spinning star locked in binary orbit with a stellar black hole and a giant planet-forming ring was spotted surprisingly far from a young star. See the best stories from last week here.

FIRST STOP: Manned Mission to Mars By 2030s Is Really Possible, Experts Say

Manned Mission to Mars By 2030s Is Really Possible, Experts Say

ESA

A panel of experts think it is possible to send humans on a mission to Mars by the 2030s if NASA is consistently funded at pre-sequestration levels.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Alien Planet Around Solar Twin Found in Distant Star Cluster, a First (Video)

Alien Planet Around Solar Twin Found in Distant Star Cluster, a First (Video)

ESO/L. Calçada

Scientists using a telescope in Chile have spotted the first planet orbiting a “solar twin” in the star cluster Messier 67.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Mystery Rock 'Appears' in Front of Mars Rover

Mystery Rock 'Appears' in Front of Mars Rover

NASA/JPL-Caltech

After a decade of exploring the Martian surface, the scientists overseeing veteran rover Opportunity thought they’d seen it all. That was until a rock mysteriously "appeared" a few feet in front of the six-wheeled rover a few days ago.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Giant Planet-Forming Ring Spotted Surprisingly Far from Young Star

Giant Planet-Forming Ring Spotted Surprisingly Far from Young Star

ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NAOJ, Fukagawa et al.

Astronomers observing a baby star found evidence that planets might be forming in a ring of cosmic dust far from the solar system's center. In fact, the scientists say they have never before seen alien worlds spawning this far away from their parent star.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Japan to Test Space Junk Cleanup Tether Soon: Report

Japan to Test Space Junk Cleanup Tether Soon: Report

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/JSC

Scientists affiliated with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are getting ready to launch a test of a space junk-cleaning tether, according to press reports.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Europe's Comet-Chasing Spacecraft Gets Big Wake-Up Call Monday

Europe's Comet-Chasing Spacecraft Gets Big Wake-Up Call Monday

ESA–C. Carreau/ATG medialab

Europe’s comet-chasing Rosetta probe will wake up Monday (Jan. 20) after nearly three years in hibernation.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Incredible Technology: How to Search for Advanced Alien Civilizations

Incredible Technology: How to Search for Advanced Alien Civilizations

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Look at a picture of the Earth at night, and the world appears to be, quite literally, glowing. Now, scientists are starting to look for signs of advanced alien civilizations by the glow given off by technology used to harvest the energy from a star or even an entire galaxy.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Kugelblitz! Powering a Starship With a Black Hole

Kugelblitz! Powering a Starship With a Black Hole

Adrian Mann

Interstellar flight certainly ranks among the most daunting challenges ever postulated by human civilization. The distances to even the closest stars are so stupendous that constructing even a scale model of interstellar distance is impractical. For instance, if on such a model the separation of the Earth and sun is 1 inch (2.5 centimeters), the nearest star to our solar system (Proxima Centauri) would be 4.3 miles (6.9 kilometers) away!

[Full Story]

NEXT: Indian Satellite Launch Marks Big Success for New Rocket Engine

Indian Satellite Launch Marks Big Success for New Rocket Engine

Indian Space Research Organisation

India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle put a 2.1-ton communications satellite in orbit this month, boosting prospects for the medium-class launcher after a spate of mishaps in recent years.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Oddly Quiet Black Hole Spotted Around Fast-Spinning Star

Oddly Quiet Black Hole Spotted Around Fast-Spinning Star

Gabriel Pérez Díaz, Servicio MultiMedia (IAC)

Astronomers have found a fast-spinning star locked in a binary orbit with a stellar black hole.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Potato-Shaped Mars Moon Phobos May Be a Captured Asteroid

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