It's been a big year for the space sciences. The first privately-held spacecraft orbited our world, the blackest material in history was created, researchers expanded the list of possible sources of life threefold; and that was just in December.
1. Hubble Detects Mysterious Spaceship-Shaped Object Traveling at 11,000MPH - February 2nd
Hubble has discovered a mysterious X-shaped object traveling at 11,000mph. NASA says that P/2010-A2 may be a comet, product of the collision between two asteroids. Or a Klingon Bird of Prey.
2. The Most Accurate, Highest Resolution Earth View to Date - February 23rd
This is the most accurate, highest resolution true color image of planet Earth to date. And at 2048 x 2048 pixels, you should put it in your desktop background now.
3. After Watching This Video, It's Clear the Universe Will End Today - April 12th
There are plenty of amazing time lapse videos. This is one. But when you see it paired with Hans Zimmer's "Dream is collapsing"-from Inception's soundtrack-it goes from amazing to holy-fuck-the-Universe-is-about-to-collapse-and-we-are-all-gonna-die amazing. Play the HD full screen. Use headphones.
4. The World Would Be Better If Everyone Watched This Video - December 5th
If every person on our blue Earth watched this video, the world would be a much better place. At least for a few minutes. Listen closely to Carl Sagan's words till the end. It won't fail to get you teary.-JD
5. Why Did NASA Create a Material Ten Times Blacker than the Blackest Black Paint? - December 5th
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center scientists have created a new material that is ten times blacker than the blackest black paint in the world. It's made of carbon nanotubes grown on titanium. Why does NASA need this material?
6. This Space Nuke Explosion Was the Ultimate Firecracker - July 4th
In 1962, the US government thought it might be a good idea to send a hydrogen bomb hundreds of miles into the air and detonate it. Just, you know, to see what happened. Decades later, now you can too.
7. This Aurora Photo Is the Most Insane I've Ever Seen - September 20th
By far, this is the most spectacular and insane photography of an aurora borealis I've ever seen. When I showed this in our virtual bullpen, the unanimous reaction was complete awe.
8. Jules Verne Was (Almost) Right - November 5th
If John Hunter-a former physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory-is successful, the International Space Station may start receiving their supplies from a cannon. No, it's no joke.
9. Neil Armstrong Explains Why He Didn't Run Wild on the Moon - December 10th
When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon in 1969, neither one ever strayed more than 100 yards from the lunar lander. NPR writer Robert Krulwich questioned why this happened in a story yesterday. Today, Armstrong replied.
10. The Probability of Finding Aliens Is Now Three Times Higher - December 2nd
The total number of stars in the Universe "is likely three times bigger than realized." Yale University astronomer Pieter van Dokkum says there are "possibly trillions of Earths orbiting these stars," dramatically increasing the possibility of finding alien civilizations.
11. Stephen Hawking Predicts the End of Humanity, Again - August 8th
Stephen Hawking, brilliant astrophysicist and nefarious alien doomsday prophet, is again atop his soapbox preaching the end of humanity should we not board spaceships and colonize the solar system and beyond.
12. Stellar DSLR Time Lapse of a Space Shuttle Launch - May 21st
Six weeks, and over 100 hours of footage shot on several Canon EOS 5D Mark IIs culminates in this remarkable, 4-minute time lapse of a Space Shuttle launch.
13. What Would Happen if You Fell Into a Black Hole? - January 26th
Noted astrophysicist and all-around likable nerd Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson explains in this video the effects of a black hole on the human body. Spoiler: You would die a horrible death, but the cause is hilariously named.
14. How Would NASA Rescue An Astronaut Who Floated Away? - December 11th
What would happen if an astronaut started floating away from the International Space Station? How would NASA rescue them? Here's what they would do.
15. First Private Spacecraft In Orbit After Perfect Launch - December 8th
The SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket has launched successfully, carrying the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. Dragon is the first private spaceship in history. It would be able to carry seven astronauts to orbit. Watch the launch and the separation videos here.
Been under a rock? See what else happened this year in our Best of 2010 series.