The History of Space as Seen Through Photographs

Images meant for research and study have been turned into an art exhibition at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

By Cary Berglund and Julie Brayton
|  Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012  |  Updated 6:24 AM PDT
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Images from space meant for research and study have been turned into an art exhibition at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

Cary Berglund, Fabian Rodriguez

Images from space meant for research and study have been turned into an art exhibition at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. "The sheer grandeur of these scientific images, the awe inspiring beauty of them, that reminds us of art," says Stephen Nowlin with the Art Center College of Design. Cary Berglund reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on April 23, 2012.

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Photographic art is nearly as old as the camera itself, but NASA photography as art is a much more contemporary take.

"Good art has the power to change our perspective on things," said Stephen Nowlin, with Art Center College of Design. "Even though we've known for over 400 years that the Earth is not the center of the universe, we still tend to slip back into that kind of 'earth-centric' thinking."

Images meant for research and study have been turned into an art exhibition at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

"Though we are really trying to push the boundaries of knowledge, it's also a way of showing the beauty that's inherent in the universe," said Randii Wessen, with the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

For example, one image in the collection shows a pre-monsoon heat wave in India and Pakistan. Another shows the Arabian Peninsula, and yet another shows two galaxies passing through each other.

"The sheer grandeur of these scientific images, the awe inspiring beauty of them, that reminds us of art," Nowlin said.

The earth and the heavens captured in ways that scientists may never have imagined would end up in a gallery.

But this collection is in the perfect place, since the Art Center College of Design is right between JPL and CalTech.

"Every one of these images has a story to tell," Wessen said. "By either looking at the card, or just hearing someone tell about what it either took to get that image, or what new insight we gleam from that image, can be mind blowing."

The exhibit runs through May 6.

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