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.

The United States and Germany highly value science and technology (S&T); both have committed to spend 3% of GDP on S&T research and development. More than 50 bilateral cooperation agreements exist between U.S. and German government agencies and scientific institutions along with over 1,500 university partnerships.

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.’

Half the International Space Station crew departed for Earth on Monday, leaving behind the visiting shuttle Endeavour and a parting gift for NASA as the 30-year-old shuttle program winds down - a legacy photograph of the shuttle parked at the orbital outpost.

U.S. President Barack Obama views China as a potential partner for an eventual human mission to Mars that would be difficult for any single nation to undertake, a senior White House official told lawmakers.

An innovation centre dedicated to finding new ways to exploit space has been officially opened in the UK. The Harwell, Oxfordshire, site will foster people and ideas that can grow an already highly successful sector.

At the opening of the UN photo exhibition in New York celebrating Yuri Gagarin’s groundbreaking flight in space, people could feel the pride and jubilation of Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin.

Asia's extraterrestrial ambitions have rocketed from nowhere in the 50 years since the first human space flight, with China shooting for the moon while India and Japan fuel up their own programmes.