There's little question that NASA's three-decade Space Shuttle program was one of mankind's greatest engineering achievements, and it turns out that properly ending it is a significant engineering challenge in its own right. The Atlantic has some superb pictures posted of the Shuttles' final weeks in Cape Canaveral as they're torn down, stripped of valuable components and toxic chemicals, and shipped out to their final resting places around the country, hopefully inspiring a new generation of space explorers for many decades to come.

If you love NASA as much as we do, be prepared: some of the images may make you a little emotional.