WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S space agency says it will celebrate its 50th anniversary next month by releasing "NASA/ART -- 50 years of Exploration."
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration says the book is a historic collection of nearly 50 years of space-inspired art work.
In 1962, four years after NASA was founded, Administrator James Webb established the NASA Art Program to commission pieces from prominent artists that would illustrate and interpret the space agency's missions.
Since that time, such artists as Robert Rauschenberg, Norman Rockwell, James Wyeth, Nam June Paik, Patti LaBelle, William Wegman, Mike and Doug Starn and Annie Leibovitz have participated in the project.
"Through the NASA Art Program, artists have been given an inside glimpse into the missions and programs which make up the space agency," said Bert Ulrich, the program's curator at NASA headquarters in Washington. "Through their imaginations, artists have shared an entirely new interpretation of the NASA story with the public."
The new book, co-written by James Dean and Ulrich, presents 150 full color illustrations with essays by astronaut Michael Collins, curator Tom Crouch and novelist Ray Bradbury. The book, published by Harry N. Abrams Inc. of New York, will be available in October.