Best Space Stories of the Week – Sept. 5, 2015

Cassini View of Enceladus
This image of the geyser-spewing Saturn moon Enceladus was taken on Oct. 5, 2008 by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.
(Image: © NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

The Star Wars toys awaken, a looming 'supermoon' eclipse overshadows a solar eclipse, and hoverboard technology aims for the stars in Space.com's best stories for this week.

Total eclipse of the supermoon

Observers can watch the first total lunar eclipse of a 'supermoon' in over three decades on Sept. 27, when the full moon is at its closest to the Earth. There will also be a much less visible partial solar eclipse Sept. 13. [Full Story: Rare 'Supermoon' Total Lunar Eclipse Coming This Month]

Moon samples crumble away

Samples of the moon's soil collected by Apollo astronauts have crumbled since their collection 40 years ago: the particles scientists study have halved in size since the soil was fresh. [Full Story: Some Apollo Moon Samples 'Crumbling to Dust']

That's no spoon

A mysterious floating spoon spotted in pictures by NASA's Curiosity rover is merely a rock, sculpted by Martian winds, say officials — an uncannily spoon-shaped rock. [Full Story: 'Floating Spoon' on Mars Is Just a Weird Rock, But Still Awesome]

Two searches for life

NASA plans to search for life on Jupiter's icy moon Europa in the 2020s, and a new proposed project would investigate Saturn's Enceladus, too. [Full Story: NASA Mulling Life-Hunting Mission to Saturn Moon Enceladus]

Space Station full house

A Soyuz spacecraft dropped off three more crewmembers to the International Space Station Friday (Sept. 4), bringing the total up to 9 for the first time since 2013. Sept. 12, two of the newcomers and the current Commander will head back down. [Full Story: Crowded House! International Crew Arrives at Space Station]

Can life leap across the stars?

If life could spread from star to star, it would leave a distinct mathematical fingerprint — much like an epidemic, bubbles of life would scatter and grow. [Full Story: Life Might Spread Across Universe Like an 'Epidemic' in New Math Theory]

Star Wars toys awaken

Midnight Friday (Sept. 4) a brand-new line of "Star Wars" toys was released to fans in New York's Times Square Toys 'R' Us. Hip-hop-dancing Stormtroopers built up to the big reveal (and many adorable rolling BB-8s were snatched up). [Full Story: The Force is Strong With These Toys: New 'Star Wars' Line is Here!]

Navy communications satellite blasts off

The United States Navy launched an advanced new tactical communications satellite into orbit Wednesday (Sept. 2) on an Atlas V rocket, the fourth installment in a network covering U.S. forces worldwide. [Full Story: US Military Launches Advanced Tactical Communications Satellite Into Orbit]

Well, it's the future: Hoverboard tractor beams

NASA will join forces with the California company Arx Pax, whose magnetic hoverboard technology could maneuver tiny cube-sats in space without touching them. [Full Story: NASA Wants to Use Hoverboard Tech to Control Tiny Satellites]

Souped-up SpaceX rocket returning soon

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will return to flight in a "couple of months," boasting beefier engines for increased thrust. The rocket has been grounded since a failed launch in June. [Full Story: SpaceX Will Debut Upgraded Flcon 9 Rocket on Return to Flight Mission]  

Email Sarah Lewin at slewin@space.com or follow her @SarahExplains. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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