2012 saw a number of significant milestones in star gazing and space exploration. NASA's Mars rover Curiosity touched down on the Red Planet in spectacular fashion, super-Earth's were discovered, the Moon pounded and Voyager 1 edged ever closer towards interstellar space and we saw more of the universe around us than ever before.

As the calendar rolls over, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has put together an album of its top images for 2012. We’ve also picked our NASA favorites, highlighting some of the fascinating discoveries and incredible imagery captured in the skies above during the last twelve months.

March 26, 2012: Hubble Space Telescope captures the spiral galaxy NGC 2683, seen almost edge-on (Image: ESA/Hubble & NASA)

August 31, 2012: A region to the northwest of Mercury's crater Magritte – the shadowing helps define the "Mickey Mouse" resemblance, created by the accumulation of craters (Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington)

High-resolution self-portrait by Curiosity Rover arm camera, used by NASA engineers to document the rover’s condition (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)

April 18 - October 23, 2012: This new image of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East at night is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite (Image: Suomi NPP - VIIRS)

Head to our gallery to see the full selection.

View gallery - 19 images