With the shuttles falling by the wayside, and a seemingly decreased emphasis on universal exploration, this gallery goes to show that in spite of the naysayers, there are still some incredible sights to see beyond the Earth.
The North America Nebula is seen in an infrared view from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in February, 2011. In visible light the region resembles North America but in this image it disappears in part because infrared light penetrates dust whereas visible light cannot. Clusters of young stars (about one million years old) can be found throughout the image. UPI/NASA/JPL-Caltech