From the mission to Mars to exoplanets orbiting distant stars, supermassive black holes and a new look at DNA, many inspiring discoveries and important events made 2012 an amazing year in science.

Physicists brought science an important step closer to explaining the universe. NASA pushed the boundaries of space exploration, and commercial ventures took humanity to dizzying new heights.

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The scientific community mourned the passing of pioneers and commemorated the legacy of visionaries. Celestial events captivated and inspired tens of thousands of people worldwide, while back on earth, the startling realities of climate change hit home for millions.

Important as they are, these few events and discoveries only scratch the surface of the year in science. What lies ahead in 2013?

LOOK: Year In Science 2012

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  • 2012: The Alan Turing Year

    <a href="">Alan Turing</a>, a British computer scientist and WWII codebreaker, is considered the father of modern computing. 2012 marked the centennial of his birth with a celebration of his life and scientific influence.

  • A Rare Supermoon

    A "supermoon" is seen behind the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Sunday, May 6, 2012. A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon (or a new moon) with the closest approach the moon makes to the Earth. (Victor R. Caivano, AP)

  • A Total Eclipse Of The Sun

    The Diamond Ring effect is shown following totality of the solar eclipse at Palm Cove in Australia's Tropical North Queensland on November 14, 2012. Eclipse-hunters have flocked to Queensland's tropical northeast to watch the region's first total solar eclipse in 1,300 years on November 14, which occurred as the moon passed between the earth and the sun, casting a shadow path on the globe and lasting for a maximum on the Australian mainland of 2 minutes and 5 seconds. AFP PHOTO / Greg WOOD (Photo credit should read GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Higgs Boson Discovered

    This track is an example of simulated data modelled for the CMS detector on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, which will begin taking data in 2008. Here a Higgs boson is produced which decays into two jets of hadrons and two electrons. The lines represent the possible paths of particles produced by the proton-proton collision in the detector while the energy these particles deposit is shown in blue.

  • Voyager 1 Explores New Region Of Space

    Still from a computer animation showing NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft as it explors a new region in our solar system called the "magnetic highway." In this region, the sun's magnetic field lines are connected to interstellar magnetic field lines, allowing particles from inside the heliosphere to zip away and particles from interstellar space to zoom in.

  • Transit Of Venus From Space

    This image provided by NASA shows the image captured by Hinode on June 5, 2012 of the transit of Venus -- the last instance of this rare phenomenon until 2117. Hinode is a joint JAXA/NASA mission to study the connections of the sun's surface magnetism, primarily in and around sunspots. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages Hinode. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass., is the lead U.S. investigator for the X-ray Telescope. (AP Photo/JAXA NASA)

  • Neil Armstrong Laid To Rest

    In this photo provided by NASA, members of the U.S. Navy ceremonial guard hold a United States flag over the remains of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong during a burial at sea service aboard the USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, on the Atlantic Ocean. Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, died Aug. 25. He was 82. (AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls)

  • SpaceX Lifts Off

    The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. The rocket is carrying supplies to the International Space Station. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

  • Sally Ride Dies

    FILE - In this June 1983 photo released by NASA, astronaut Sally Ride, a specialist on shuttle mission STS-7, monitors control panels from the pilot's chair on the space shuttle Challenger flight deck. The pioneering astronaut, who relished privacy as much as she did adventure, chose an appropriately discreet manner of coming out. At the end of an obituary that she co-wrote with her partner, Tam O'Shaughnessy, they disclosed to the world their relationship of 27 years. As details trickled out after Ride's death on Monday, July 23, 2012, it became clear that a circle of family, friends and co-workers had long known of the same-sex relationship and embraced it. For many millions of others, who admired Ride as the first American woman in space, it was a revelation - and it sparked a spirited discussion about privacy vs. public candor in regard to sexual orientation. (AP Photo/NASA, File)

  • Felix Baumgartner's Epic Jump

    FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2012 file photo provided by Red Bull Stratos, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos. In a giant leap from more than 24 miles up, Baumgartner shattered the sound barrier while making the highest jump ever with a tumbling, death-defying plunge from a balloon to a safe landing in the New Mexico desert. (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, File)

  • Water On Mercury

    A Mosaic of MESSENGER Images of Mercury's North Polar Region Tradar image of Mercury's north polar region from Image 2.1 is shown superposed on a mosaic of MESSENGER images of the same area. All of the larger polar deposits are located on the floors or walls of impact craters. Deposits farther from the pole are seen to be concentrated on the north-facing sides of craters. Updated from N. L. Chabot et al., Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, doi: 10.1029/2012JE004172 (2012). Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington/National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, Arecibo Observatory

  • Superstorm Sandy From Space

    A still from a NASA video captures <a href="">Superstorm Sandy from space</a>. The footage, which spans the storm's development from Oct. 21 through Oct. 31, was made from images taken by NASA's GOES-13 observatory, in geosynchronous orbit above the Caribbean and the Eastern Seaboard.

  • Curiosity On Mars

    This image released by NASA shows the work site of the NASA’s rover Curiosity on Mars. Results are in from the first test of Martian soil by the rover Curiosity: So far, there is no definitive evidence that the red planet has the chemical ingredients to support life.Scientists said Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 that a scoop of sandy soil analyzed by the rover's chemistry lab contained water and a mix of chemicals, but not the complex carbon-based compounds considered necessary for microbial life. (AP Photo/NASA)