Show of hands: who didn’t want to be an astronaut as a kid?

Even if it was a fleeting fantasy, it was a nonetheless amazing dream to have as a child, when the thought of being able to travel to outer space seemed like the most incredible thing a person could do. For many of us, this awe and wonder stemmed from our parents, whose own childhoods were colored by the excitement surrounding the lunar landings of the 1960’s and 70’s.

After the closing the space shuttle program in 2011, it seemed like the days of NASA’s glory were long gone. But NASA still has been where none of us will ever go, a fact that followers of their Instagram page, nasagoddard, are reminded of on a frequent basis.

The slideshow below shows some incredible highlights from NASA’s explorations. The social media team does an incredible job of mixing vintage shots from NASA’s heyday with new high tech images capturing celestial phenomenon that even five years ago we couldn’t dream of seeing in a photograph. Our universe certainly is a beautiful place.