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Vote Now! Best Space Stories of the Week – May 18, 2014

A Mysterious Magnetar, A Daring Dive Into Venus And More

ESO/L. Calçada

Last week a space station crew returned to Earth, the Kepler probe got back into action, astronomers found a possible sun "sibling." See the best stories from last week here.

FIRST STOP: Alien Planet Camera Is Most Sensitive Exoplanet Imager Yet

Alien Planet Camera Is Most Sensitive Exoplanet Imager Yet

Processing by Christian Marois, NRC Canada

Astronomers now can snap photos of distant alien planets with an order of magnitude greater contrast than before, suggest the first pictures from the Gemini Planet Imager, researchers say.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Watch 13.7 Billion Years of Galactic Evolution in Less Than a Minute

Watch 13.7 Billion Years of Galactic Evolution in Less Than a Minute

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

A stunning new NASA video shows a spiral galaxy like our own Milky Way form and take shape, compressing more than 13 billion years of cosmic evolution into about 45 seconds.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Mysterious 'Magnetar' Likely Had a Star Companion

Mysterious 'Magnetar' Likely Had a Star Companion

ESO/L. Calçada

Scientists have discovered what appears to be the first partner star of a super-magnetic star, called a magnetar, ever seen. See what it means here.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Russian Rocket Engine Ban on US Military Launches Could Affect NASA Spaceflight

Russian Rocket Engine Ban on US Military Launches Could Affect NASA Spaceflight

United Launch Alliance

In a move with wide-ranging implications for NASA's human spaceflight program and U.S. national security, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin yesterday (May 13) announced that his nation would ban the export of RD-180 rocket engines to the United States and pull out of the International Space Station project in 2020.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Touchdown! Space Station Crew Returns to Earth

Touchdown! Space Station Crew Returns to Earth

NASA/Bill Ingalls

A Russian Soyuz space capsule returned to Earth Tuesday, May 13, returning home U.S. astronaut Rick Mastracchio, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Public-Private Partnerships Key to US Spaceflight Future, Experts Say

Public-Private Partnerships Key to US Spaceflight Future, Experts Say

SpaceX

The U.S. space program faces many challenges today, but promise as well with new discoveries and commercial partnerships.

[Full Story]

NEXT: First 'Sibling' of Sun Found

First 'Sibling' of Sun Found

Ivan Ramirez/Tim Jones/McDonald Observatory

Astronomers for the first time may have identified a sibling of the sun, a star born from the same cloud of gas and dust as the sun.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Jupiter's Great Red Spot Shrinks to Smallest Size Ever Seen

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Shrinks to Smallest Size Ever Seen

NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center)

Jupiter's Great Red Spot — the most powerful storm in the solar system — is at its smallest observed size yet, and scientists aren't sure why.

[Full Story]

NEXT: Comet-Chasing Rosetta Probe Spies Dusty Veil Around Its Target

Comet-Chasing Rosetta Probe Spies Dusty Veil Around Its Target

ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

The comet target of the Rosetta mission has sprouted a dusty veil. See it here.

[Full Story]

NEXT: NASA's Asteroid-Capture Mission May Test New Method to Defend Earth

NASA's Exoplanet-Hunting Kepler Space Telescope Gets New Mission

NASA Ames/W. Stenzel

NASA's prolific Kepler space telescope is back in action, a year after being sidelined by an equipment failure.

[Full Story]

NEXT: NASA's Asteroid-Capture Mission May Test New Method to Defend Earth

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