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.
This undated NASA artist rendering released on December 21, 2011 shows the Grail spacecrafts mapping the lunar gravity field. The two probes are scheduled to enter the Moon's orbit over the New Year's holiday. UPI/NASA/JPL
This undated NASA composite image shows the central region of the spiral galaxy NGC 4151. X-rays (blue) from the Chandra X-ray Observatory are combined with optical data (yellow) showing positively charged hydrogen (H II) from observations with the 1-meter Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope, December 31, 2011. UPI/NASA
This undated NASA image taken by the WISE, Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, shows Barnard 3, or IRAS Ring G159.6-18.5, that is awash in bright green and red dust clouds. Interstellar clouds like these are stellar nurseries, where baby stars are being born, December 31, 2011. UPI/NASA
This undated NASA the south polar region of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, and shows a depression within the moon's orange and blue haze layers near the south pole, captured by the NASA's Cassini spacecraft, December 31, 2011. UPI/NASA
NASA's space shuttle "Endeavour" returns home to Runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center at 2:35 am on June 1, 2011. Endeavour is completing its twenty fifth and final mission, STS 134, for NASA's shuttle program. Endeavour and her six person crew flew to the International Space Station, dropping off supplies as well as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer during its sixteen day mission, virtually completing construction of the orbiting outpost. .UPI/Joe Marino-Bill Cantrell
Space shuttle "Atlantis" sits on Complex 39A as NASA prepares to load the payload into the orbiter at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on June 17, 2011. Atlantis is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station with a crew of four and the Raffaello Module on the final space shuttle mission, STS 135, at approximately 11:40 AM on July 8. Atlantis' historic mission is the last of 135 shuttle flights spanning thirty years. Atlantis and her crew will deliver equipment and supplies to support the outpost. Once Atlantis returns, she will be retired but remain at home and on display at the Kennedy Space Center's Visitor Complex..UPI/Joe Marino-Bill Cantrell
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launches NASA's Mars Science Laboratory at 10:02 AM from Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on November 26, 2011. The Volkswagon sized mobile lab, named "Curiosity", is planned to conduct dozens of experiments on the soils and rocks during its planned 23 month mission on Mars. UPI Photo/Joe Marino-Bill Cantrell