Many of us have been space buffs since 1959, when NASA [the National Aeronautics and Space Administration] introduced the Mercury Seven astronauts to the world. These were the first Americans chosen to fly into space. Over the years, space programs have included amazing feats and tragic disasters. Men bringing rocks back from the Moon. Men and women living in Earth orbit for months at a time. Three fatal NASA disasters and some near misses. Unmanned probes collecting atmospheric data and photographing planets throughout our solar system … and beyond.