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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Ga-ga for gigabits: On its current space scouting mission, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is using a pumped up communications device to deliver 461GB of data and images per day, at a rate of up to 100Mbps. As the first high data rate K-band transmitter to fly on a NASA spacecraft, the 13-inch-long tube, called a Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier, is making it possible for NASA scientists to receive massive amounts of images and data about the moon's surface and environment.

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In pictures: 20 key NASA projects in 2009

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