This year was a landmark year for space exploration — fictionally and nonfictionally. Gravity, an Alfonso Cuarón-directed film starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, is a thriller set in completely in space that broke box office records and continues to rack up awards too.
It was a similarly momentous year for private spaceflight as well. SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft successfully docked with the International Space Station in March. Orbital Sciences, another commercial spaceflight company, was able to link its unmanned Cygnus spacecraft with the ISS in September. With NASA's shuttle program shut down indefinitely, development in the private sector is crucial to the future of space exploration.
Astronauts also landed on social media in a big way this year. Col. Chris Hadfield, a geek of the year nominee, took over Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube, and many others followed in his wake, including Expedition 36 flight engineer Karen Nyberg.