The coming year in space exploration

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Ariel "Spacehack" Waldman points us to this survey of "the most anticipated space missions of 2012." Yes, the Space Shuttle has been retired but as Ariel has said, "I see it as more of a beginning of an era than the end of one. It’s due time that NASA no longer has a monopoly on space exploration." Above, an artist's representation of the Planetary Society's LightSail-1, a solar sail-powered spacecraft set to launch this year. At left, an illustration of SpaceX's Dragon capsule docking with the International Space Station. The plan is for the commercial outfit to take over space station supply missions beginning in February.

"The 12 Most Anticipated Space Missions of 2012"