A NASA proposal for a manned mission to Earth's nearest neighbor looks decidedly steampunk: Crewed interplanetary dirigibles to explore the relatively hospitable upper reaches of the Venusian atmosphere.
NASA's human spaceflight program has been struggling with the same problem since the Apollo program: It doesn't have enough money to do the really exciting stuff. Orion's mission to Mars is NASA's latest attempt to address the issue, but the numbers still might not add up.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science and its journal Science labeled the successful touchdown of the Rosetta’s Philae Lander on a comet the scientific breakthrough of the year. Many of the year's top science stories hailed from the great beyond.