For one, next-door neighbor Alpha Centauri is now known to have a planet! See "Earth-Size Planet Closest to Our Solar System: By The Numbers."
Closer to home (but not exactly homey), astronomers got their first good look at Makemake. No, that's not a type of sushi. It's one of five (so far) recognized "dwarf planets" in the Solar system. Makemake is about two-thirds the size of Pluto -- and (on average) even more remote. No atmosphere, either. For more, see "Dwarf planet Makemake examined for the first time."
But will astronauts get to Mars? That will require -- besides buckets of investment that don't seem imminent -- a degree of technical sophistication. Hence it's discouraging to encounter the latest dispatch from the Department of It's Not Rocket Science. To wit: NASA hasn't figured out that laptops can be stolen. And so we see that "NASA Suffers 'Large' Data Breach Affecting Employees, Contractors, and Others."
In 2012, how could anyone possibly be expected to encrypt sensitive data on laptops? Oh, wait ...