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

Space shuttle swan song?: The venerable space shuttle flew five missions this year with a few main goals: retrofitting the Hubble Telescope to operate years into the future and transporting solar arrays for electricity as well as parts and supplies for the International Space Station. In November for example, Atlantis delivered 27,000 pounds of ISS equipment. The next space shuttle, Endeavor, STS-130 is aiming for a Feb 4, 2010 liftoff. The five space shuttle missions slated for 2010 are likely the last unless something changes.

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