With the launch of the U.S.’s last space shuttle Friday, the space race, it appears, is over. (Ironically, the maintenance of NASA’s International Space Station will rely on Russian spacecraft to ferry astronauts from Earth and back). Over the past few years as the White House’s interest in space exploration has dwindled, NASA has been forced to review and revamp their fundamental mission to stay relevant. One way they’re doing this is through social media—by allowing the general public to interact with astronauts, engineers and other key personnel. “The coolest thing for me is seeing how the astronauts are embracing social media tools to reach out to the public in new ways—without filters,” says NASA Outreach Program Manager, Beth Beck, to PC Magazine. The idea is that the public will better understand NASA, which will in turn strengthen the agency.