Why 2012 was the year space exploration made a comeback

In 2011, we mourned the end of the U.S. space shuttle program. But in 2012, NASA came back with a vengeance — and a spate of fascinating new programs. Between NASA’s extraordinary work this year and its deep embrace with Internet culture and social media, we Earthlings fell in love with space exploration all over again, and we all got to share an enthusiasm and wonder a previous generation experienced with the first moon landing.