Vote Now! Best Space Stories of the Week – Feb. 2, 2014

Black Holes, Weather Map of a Failed Star and More

NASA TV

Last week NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio spoke to Space.com about Super Bowl Sunday from his post on the ISS, scientists reacted to Stephen Hawking's new black hole theory, and astronomers created a weather map of a failed star. See the best stories from last week here.

FIRST STOP: Did Alien Life Evolve Just After the Big Bang?

Did Alien Life Evolve Just After the Big Bang?

NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

Alien microbes might have been crawling around on exoplanets just 15 million years after the Big Bang — and 10 billion years before life popped up on Earth. Shortly after the Big Bang, much of the universe may have been an incubator for life.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Super Bowl in Space: How Astronauts Celebrate the Big Game in Orbit (Video)

Super Bowl in Space: How Astronauts Celebrate the Big Game in Orbit (Video)

NASA TV

NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio spoke to Space.com about Super Bowl Sunday from his post on the International Space Station.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Air Force's Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Passes 400 Days in Orbit

Air Force's Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Passes 400 Days in Orbit

NASA/MSFC

The U.S. Air Force's unmanned X-37B space plane has now circled Earth for more than 400 days on a hush-hush mission that is creeping closer and closer to the vehicle's orbital longevity record.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Moon Myths and Facts for the Lunar New Year

Moon Myths and Facts for the Lunar New Year

VegaStar Carpentier

The Year of the Horse begins today with the Chinese New Year, but there's more the moon and its lunar cycle than meets the eye. Here's a look at popular lunar questions, with answers.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Stephen Hawking's New Black Hole Theory: Scientists Remain Unconvinced

Stephen Hawking's New Black Hole Theory: Scientists Remain Unconvinced

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has shaken up the popular science world with his newest study about the basic nature of black holes, but is his idea revolutionary? Some scientists aren't convinced.

[Full Story]

NEXT: The North Star Polaris Is Getting Brighter

The North Star Polaris Is Getting Brighter

Left image: M. Menefee; Right: N. Carboni; Assembly: D. Majaess

Polaris has dipped in brightness over the past two decades, but recent studies have shown the north star's brightness to be back on its way up. Historical studies over the past two centuries have demonstrated a gradual rise in brightness of the star. These studies, along with preliminary observations of other Cepheid variable stars, indicate that the 'standard candles' of the universe may not be as constant as they are thought to be.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Asteroid Belt Reveals Drama of Early Solar System Evolution

Asteroid Belt Reveals Drama of Early Solar System Evolution

David A. Aguilar (CfA)

Scientists have gleaned new details about the asteroid belt in our solar system, showing how our solar system evolved during its early history.

[Full Story]

p>NEXT: On Mars, NASA's Curiosity Rover Seeks Smoother Road to Reduce Wheel Damage

On Mars, NASA's Curiosity Rover Seeks Smoother Road to Reduce Wheel Damage

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Engineers are looking for ways to reduce the wear and tear on the wheels of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, including possibly picking a smoother route to the robot’s final science destination.

[Full Story]

NEXT: NASA Moon Probe Spotted by Robotic Lunar Sibling (Photos)

NASA Moon Probe Spotted by Robotic Lunar Sibling (Photos)

NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

In a moment of lunar synchronicity, a moon-orbiting NASA probe spied another of the space agency's lunar crafts from its spot in orbit.

[Full Story]

NEXT: First-Ever Weather Map of Failed Star Reveals Patchy Alien Clouds

First-Ever Weather Map of Failed Star Reveals Patchy Alien Clouds

ESO/I. Crossfield/N. Risinger (skysurvey.org)

The close proximity of a failed star to our own solar system has allowed astronomers to create a weather map of the brown dwarf, suggesting it is covered with patchy clouds.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Grey is the New Black Hole: Is Stephen Hawking Right? (Op-Ed)

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