Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says valuing space exploration "transforms the culture into one that values science and technology." AP hide caption

itoggle caption AP

Marine Lt. Col. John Glenn demonstrates operations inside a Mercury capsule on Jan. 11, 1961. AP hide caption

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The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, seen in this artist's rendering, will be built on the peak of the Cerro Pachon mountain in Chile and will survey every patch of the night sky. The data the telescope will collect will allow researchers to "answer fundamentally different questions about the universe," says one astronomer. Todd Mason/LSST Corp. hide caption

itoggle caption Todd Mason/LSST Corp.

The Jamesburg Earth Station closed in 2002, but the 10-story satellite dish still stands tall. Courtesy of Bert Aronson hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Bert Aronson