Best Space Stories of the Week – April 5, 2015

In this acrylic painting, University of Utah astrophysicist Ben Bromley envisions the view of a double sunset from an uninhabited Earthlike planet orbiting a pair of binary stars.
In this acrylic painting, University of Utah astrophysicist Ben Bromley envisions the view of a double sunset from an uninhabited Earthlike planet orbiting a pair of binary stars. (Image credit: Ben Bromley, University of Utah)

A probe's final days

NASA's MESSENGER probe is nearing the end of its mission orbiting Mercury, but the intrepid spacecraft isn't quite done yet. NASA officials performed a series of maneuvers with MESSENGER to boost its orbit and hopefully delay its planned impact into the planet's surface, which is expected later this year. [Full Story: NASA Mercury Probe Trying to Survive for Another Month]

What were our favorite stories of the week? This week had something for every kind of space fan. Find out our favorite stories of the past seven days below:

GRAIL on the moon

While spacecraft and even people have soured the surface of the moon for decades, hunting for new features, NASA's GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) mission discovered another, huge crater. Officials have (temporarily) named it for aviator Amelia Earhart. [Full Story: Ancient Moon Crater Named After Amelia Earhart]

More Martian amnesia

NASA's Opportunity rover on Mars just can't catch a break. Less than a week after engineers gave the long-running robot a much-needed software update for another memory problem, Opportunity is in the midst of more memory issues. [Full Story: NASA's Opportunity Rover Suffers More Amnesia on Mars]

One-year in space

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, one of two crewmembers now spending a year on the International Space Station, is warming up to his new home nicely. Kelly flew up to the station last Friday (March 27), but since then, he's settled into his new life and even feels at home on the space station. [Full Story: NASA Astronaut Already Feels at Home in Space as 1-Year Journey Begins]

'Star Wars' science?

Scientists now think that maybe Tatooine, Luke Skywalker's fictional home world in "Star Wars," may not be unique in the real Milky Way. Researchers have found that Earthlike worlds with two suns might actually be widespread in the cosmos. [Full Story: Rocky 'Tatooine' Planets with 2 Suns May Be Common]

8 launches in 6 days

Nations around the world launched a bunch of rockets last week. In total, countries launched a total of eight rockets in six days for a variety of different reasons. The United States, Russia, Japan, India and other countries made it a serious week for rockets. [Full Story: Wow! 8 Rocket Missions Launched in 6 Days Last Week]

Our favorite books

Although this may not be news, we here at love our science fiction. In that spirit, we've compiled our favorite sci-fi and space books of all time in this handy list. Please let us know what you think! [Full Story: Best Space Books and Sci-Fi: A Reading List]

City-size lunar lava tubes

Scientists have long-known that the moon runs deep with lava tubes, but research now suggest that those lunar lava tubes might actually be huge enough to hold full cities. If humans ever try to colonize the moon, using those caves could actually be a boon to settlement, providing shelter from space rock impacts and even radiation. [Full Story: Lunar Lava Tubes Might Make Underground Moon Cities Possible]

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News and editorial team is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.