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Vote Now! Best Space Stories of the Week – Sept. 21, 2014

NASA Picks SpaceX, Boeing to Fly US Astronauts on Private Spaceships

SpaceX/Boeing

Sept. 16 - NASA has tapped the private spaceflight companies of SpaceX and Boeing to build and fly the commercial spacecraft for ferrying American astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

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NEXT: The Lure of Mars: Why We Keep Going Back

The Lure of Mars: Why We Keep Going Back

NASA/ESA

Sept. 19 - Mars' proximity to Earth, potential ability to support life and its status as a target for human exploration have made it a primary destination for robotic missions over the years.

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NEXT: SpaceX Delays Dragon Cargo Ship Launch for NASA Due to Bad Weather

SpaceX Delays Dragon Cargo Ship Launch for NASA Due to Bad Weather

NASA

Sept. 20 - A commercial SpaceX Dragon supply ship packed with NASA experiments — including 20 mice destined for the final frontier — will have wait at least one more day to blast into space after bad weather thwarted a launch attempt early Saturday (Sept. 20).

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NEXT: Surprise! Monster Black Hole Found in Dwarf Galaxy

Surprise! Monster Black Hole Found in Dwarf Galaxy

NASA, ESA, D. Coe, G. Bacon (STScI)

Sept. 17 - Astronomers have just discovered the smallest known galaxy that harbors a huge, supermassive black hole at its core. The relatively nearby dwarf galaxy may houses a supermassive black hole at its heart equal in mass to about 21 million suns.

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NEXT: Jaw-dropping Aurora View Wins 2014 Astronomy Photo Contest

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to Build New Rocket Engine for US Launch Provider

Sept. 17 - Blue Origin, the secretive private spaceflight company led by billionaire Jeff Bezos, has teamed up with a veteran space launch provider to build a new rocket engine designed to reduce U.S. dependence on Russian hardware.

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NEXT: Europe Unveils Comet Landing Site for Historic Rosetta Mission

Jaw-dropping Aurora View Wins 2014 Astronomy Photo Contest

Aurora over a Glacier Lagoon © James Woodend (U.K.)

Sept. 18 - A bright green aurora reflects off a glacial lake against the backdrop of a snow-covered mountain range in an incredible photo that took home first prize in an astrophotography competition.

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NEXT: Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to Build New Rocket Engine for US Launch Provider

Europe Unveils Comet Landing Site for Historic Rosetta Mission

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

Sept. 15 - European officials have chosen the landing site for Rosetta’s Philae lander, due to make landfall on its target comet in November.

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NEXT: Spectacular Auroras from Solar Storms Wow Stargazers

Spectacular Auroras from Solar Storms Wow Stargazers

Sept. 15 - Back-to-back eruptions on the sun sparked a geomagnetic storm last week, which generated dazzling auroras over the northern latitudes. See amazing photos from stargazers lucky enough to see the view.

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NEXT: Asteroid Science: How 'Armageddon' Got It Wrong

Asteroid Science: How 'Armageddon' Got It Wrong

Mopic | Shutterstock.com

Sept. 15 - In the 1998 movie "Armageddon," an asteroid the size of Texas threatens to collide with Earth in 18 days. To save the planet from destruction, a ragtag team of deep-sea oil drillers volunteers to divert the massive space rock by burying a nuclear bomb beneath its surface and blasting it into two pieces that will fly past Earth.

[Full Story]

NEXT: US Military's Meteor Explosion Data Can Help Scientists Protect Earth

US Military's Meteor Explosion Data Can Help Scientists Protect Earth

Don Davis

The on/off use of secret satellite data is back on. The Air Force has detailed issues and solutions to provide a constant flow of bolide data to scientists. The NASA/AF agreement to share this information has been recertified and strengthened. According to one scientist, the new data reveals an unexpected source of bolides.

[Full Story]

NEXT:

Solar Storm Auroras, Monster Black Hole and the Lure of Mars

Last week astronomers found the smallest known galaxy that harbors a supermassive black hole and a solar storm wowed stargazers. See the best stories from the week here.

FIRST STOP: NASA Picks SpaceX, Boeing to Fly US Astronauts on Private Spaceships

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