NASA's image-makers are taking a hard look at how to win over media-saturated teens and 20-somethings growing up on YouTube and Google and largely indifferent to manned space flight.
Recent surveys show young Americans have high levels of apathy about NASA's new vision of sending astronauts back to the moon by 2017 and eventually on to Mars.
The 2004 and 2006 surveys revealed high levels of indifference among 18- to 25-year-olds toward manned trips to the moon and Mars.
The space shuttle program is slated to end in 2010 after construction of the international space station is completed with 13 more shuttle flights. The recent 13-day mission by Discovery's seven astronauts was part of that long-running construction job.
When the shuttles are retired they will be replaced by the Orion spacecraft, which NASA hopes takes humans back to the moon and then on to Mars.