Colombia doesn’t have a space program, but as of Friday, it does have an elite aerospace engineering team. RoboCol, a group of 15 assorted engineering students and two designers from the Bogota-based Andes University, finished fourth place out of 50 international participants in the Lunabotics Mining Competition held at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for its work on “Intensity”, a robot designed to traverse lunar terrain.

In our daily use of the cell phone, the World Wide Web, and Google's search we should recall that basic research is the springboard of their development, and, as importantly, American influence in the world is spread largely through its "soft" power of science and technology, according to a Pew Research poll.

At the same time, American influence in the world is bolstered largely through its "soft" power, and science and technology is an essential force of this influence, according to the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project poll.

The agency is using social media to circumvent established news outlets in order to take its stories straight to an eager audience. That’s especially important at a moment when the general perception is that U.S. budget troubles, friendly relations with former space-race foes, and the Space Shuttle’s retirement have left the agency struggling for a new raison d’être.

One of the nation's most prolific art collectors is the U.S. space agency. For nearly a half-century, NASA has commissioned artists to document its missions and projects. Seventy of the 3,000 works in its collection are in a traveling exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

And that could place the 50-year-old US manned spaceflight programme—and its benefits to US prestige—in jeopardy, according to Eric Sterner, an analyst with The Marshall Institute in Washington, D.C. ‘The vehicle signifies a continued commitment to human spaceflight, which plays into American soft power,’ Sterner says. ‘So, it has potential benefit there.’

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says building bridges with the Muslim world was his primary agenda as the head of the space agency raising questions about the scope of NASA's operations. In an interview with Al Jazeera Bolden said that developing congenial relations with the Muslim world would augment space exploration and that President Barack Obama had assigned him with this diplomatic responsibility.