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NASA in the Movies

It's been a busy time for the folks at NASA.

The probe Curiosity set down on Mars, beginning an unprecedented mission of exploration of the Martian surface and adding another line on the space agency's list of achievements. It also reinvigorated space exploration discussions that had died down somewhat following the end of the agency's shuttle program.

Worlds beyond our own have served as fodder for a national fascination, most dramatically reflected on the silver screen. Since the first American went into space, filmmakers as well as audiences have embraced the astronaut-as-hero narrative in present, future, and even animated forms.

Starting in the 1960s, cineastes treated space travel with mysterious, yet fact-based reverence. Over time, however, the screenwriter’s formula involved more fantasy than fact, more humor than reverence.

Have we lost our connection to the cosmos? Click back in time to see 12 movies that chronicle our story of space.

Originally Posted 06 July 2011
By Jennifer LeighParker

Updated: 10 July 2012

Note: All box office data is gross domestic.

Photo: Dieter Spears | Vetta | Getty Images