Best Space Stories of the Week - Jan. 18, 2015

Planets Beyond Pluto
This week, new research suggested, two or more unknown planets could exist beyond the orbit of Pluto in our solar system. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

From a false alarm on the International Space Station, to finding a long-lost lander on Mars, this has been a big week for news. Here are's picks for the biggest space stories of the week:

Long-lost Beagle 2 found on Mars

The European Space Agency's long-lost lander Beagle 2 was found on Mars after it lost contact with Earth in 2003. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted the probe from its place in orbit around the Red Planet. [Full Story: UK's Lost Beagle 2 Mars Lander, Missing Since 2003, Found in NASA Photos]

New Horizons probe approaching Pluto

NASA's New Horizons probe has started observing Pluto as it approaches the dwarf planet. The spacecraft is scheduled to make its much-anticipated flyby of Pluto on July 14, potentially revealing new findings about the small cosmic body. [Full Story: NASA Pluto Probe Begins Science Observations Ahead of Epic Flyby]

Asteroid flyby set for Jan. 26

The huge asteroid 2004 BL86 will make its close flyby of Earth on Jan. 26. The space rock will be about 745,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers), from the planet when it passes by, marking the asteroid's closest approach to Earth fro the next 200 years. [Full Story: Big Asteroid to Zoom by Earth on Jan. 26]

UFO sightings were the CIA

Officials from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency are now saying that many of the UFO spotted by people in the 1950s and 1960s in the United States were actually high-flying space planes. [Full Story: CIA About UFOs of the 1950s and '60s: 'It Was Us']

China's moon lander snaps picture of Pinwheel Galaxy

China's first moon lander — called Chang'e 3 — is still operational on the lunar surface. The probe has captured a nice picture of the Pinwheel Galaxy after more than a year on the moon. [Full Story: Chinese Moon Lander Spots Pinwheel Galaxy from Lunar Surface (Photo)]

SpaceX's Dragon gets to the space station

SpaceX's fifth Dragon cargo ship made it to the International Space Station on Monday (Jan. 12) in the early morning. The spacecraft carried tons of supplies under a contract with NASA. [Full Story: SpaceX Dragon Capsule Delivers Fresh Supplies to Space Station]

NASA probe spots a new crater

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter — currently orbiting the Red Planet — captures an image of a relatively new crater created on Mars in the last few years. [Full Story: Fresh Crater on Mars Spied by NASA Spacecraft (Photo)]

The sun shoots off a solar flare

The sun shot out its first significant solar flare of 2015 on Monday night (Jan. 12). NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured an amazing image of the M-class solar flare. [Full Story: Sun Fires Off First Strong Solar Flare of 2015 (Video)]

False alarm on International Space Station

Crewmembers on the International Space Station had a scare when an alarm that sometimes indicates an ammonia leak sounded on the orbiting outpost Wednesday (Jan. 14). It turned out to be a false alarm, but astronauts on the U.S. side of the station did evacuate to the Russian side as a precaution. [Full Story: Space Station Astronauts Return to US Side After Leak False Alarm]

Planet X possibilities

Scientists now think that at least two planets larger than Earth could lurk in the outer solar system, beyond Pluto. [Full Story: Mysterious Planet X May Really Lurk Undiscovered in Our Solar System]

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Miriam Kramer
Staff Writer

Miriam Kramer joined as a Staff Writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also served as's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.  Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. Miriam is currently a space reporter with Axios, writing the Axios Space newsletter. You can follow Miriam on Twitter.