Tom Crouch’s article, “NASA art: 50 years of exploration” (PHYSICS TODAY, August 2011, page 42), was very enjoyable. Though I’m now retired, I worked for more than 30 years in engineering and science—as a Caltech professor, as a university dean of natural sciences and mathematics at California State University, Long Beach, and most recently as manager of the Educational Affairs Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. From my perspective, it is wonderful to see how artists are help-ing to communicate the mystery and beauty arising from our national space program.

The art showcased in Crouch’s article is wonderful, but I submit that in addition to inspiring artists, NASA’s photographs have truly expanded humankind’s perception of the universe and of ourselves. Here are some examples:

Earthrise (1968) is a fascinating image taken by astronaut William Anders from Apollo 8, the first manned spacecraft to orbit the Moon.

‣ Photos sent back from various probes, from Pioneer 10 (1973) to Cassini–Huygens (2004– ), are remarkable images of the strangeness and beauty of the outer solar system.

‣ Close-up pictures of Mars have been captured by several spacecraft.

‣ The images sent back from the dozens of space telescopes, in many wavebands, have increased our vision beyond anything we could have imagined.

In addition to inherently beautiful images, the information collected by the various spacecraft has led to a much deeper understanding of the universe and has been communicated through thousands of journal articles.

When it comes to communicating the beauty of some of the abstract concepts of science, one should be aware of Paul Bartlett Ré. He has a deep and broad understanding of science and has been producing remarkable art for the past 40 years.

Several of his works can be found at http://www.paulre.org/index.html and in his book, The Dance of the Pencil (1992).