In pictures: 20 key NASA projects in 2009

From the space shuttle and Mars mission to water on the moon and ice on the Earth, NASA has its hands in a variety of critical projects

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Stepping up commercial space race: As it looks to reshape its future, NASA this year said it would partner with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to develop a technology road map for use of reusable commercial spaceships. The study of reusable launch vehicles, or RLVs will focus on identifying technologies and assessing their potential use to accelerate the development of commercial reusable launch vehicles. The study results will provide road maps with recommended government technology tasks and milestones for different vehicle categories.

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In pictures: 20 key NASA projects in 2009

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