Overview Effect

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Thomas Pesquet - International Space Station - View from the Cupola.jpg

Photo courtesy of Pesquet-ESA

What does the Earth look like and feel like 'from Above'?"

Astro Pesquet: When you look at the Earth from the space station, it's absolutely magical. You're not that far away, so you still have a relatively close-up view. But you can see the curvature and you see the atmosphere. It glows in blue. It is absolutely breathtaking the first time you see it. It's the most beautiful scenery you could possibly imagine.

When you're on the Earth, you feel that everything is so vast, everything is endless. You have a hard time understanding how limited we are. Then, when you take a step back and you see the Earth in its entirety, you suddenly understand that we live in an oasis in the cosmos. All around us is nothing, no life, blackness, emptiness, absolutely nothing -- apart from this blue ball with everything we need to sustain human life, and life in general, which is absolutely fragile.

It makes you want to cherish the Earth and protect it, the more you see it from space.


Planet Citizens

Time for Planet Citizen Action 馃寧

Earth in Our Hands.png Planet Citizens in Action


'The most profound experience'

-- William Shatner

The Captain of Star Trek experiences the 'Overview Effect'

Flies on Blue Origin to the Edge of Space and Looks Home to Earth

October 13, 2021

Shatner: 鈥淓verybody in the world needs to do this. Everybody in the world needs to see ... it was unbelievable.鈥

鈥淚 mean, the little things, the weightlessness, and to see the blue color whip by and now you鈥檙e staring into blackness. That鈥檚 the thing. This covering of blue is this sheet, this blanket, this comforter of blue around that we have around us. We think 鈥榦h, that鈥檚 blue sky鈥 and suddenly you shoot through it all of a sudden, like you whip a sheet off you when you鈥檙e asleep, and you鈥檙e looking into blackness 鈥 into black ugliness. And you look down, there鈥檚 the blue down there, and the black up there, and there is Mother Earth and comfort and 鈥 is there death? Is that the way death is?鈥

... 鈥淚t was so moving to me. This experience; it was something unbelievable. Yeah, weightlessness, my stomach went out, this was so weird, but not as weird as the covering of blue 鈥 this is what I never expected. It鈥檚 one thing to say 鈥渙h the sky ... and it鈥檚 fragile,鈥 it鈥檚 all true. But what isn鈥檛 true, what is unknown, until you do [go to space] is this pillow, there鈥檚 this soft blue. Look at the beauty of that color. And it鈥檚 so thin and you鈥檙e through it in an instant. How thick is it? Is it a mile?鈥

... 鈥淲hat you鈥檝e given me is the most profound experience I can imagine. I am so filled with emotion about what just happened. It鈥檚 extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now, I don鈥檛 want to lose it. It鈥檚 so much larger than me and life; it hasn鈥檛 got anything to do with the little green and blue orb. It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death. Oh my god, it鈥檚 unbelievable.鈥

Bezos: 鈥淚t鈥檚 so beautiful.鈥

Shatner: 鈥淏eautiful, yes, beautiful in it鈥檚 way but.鈥

Bezos: 鈥淣o, I mean your words. It鈥檚 just amazing.鈥

Shatner: 鈥淚 can鈥檛 even begin to express ... what I would love to do is to communicate as much as possible is the jeopardy. The moment you see the vulnerability of everything; it鈥檚 so small. This air, which is keeping us alive, is thinner than your skin. It鈥檚 a sliver; it鈥檚 immeasurably small when you think in terms of the universe. It鈥檚 negligible, this air. Mars doesn鈥檛 have any, nothing. I mean, when you think of when carbon dioxide changes to oxygen and what is 20% that sustains our life? It鈥檚 so thin.鈥

(2021) More than three decades ago, Frank White coined the term 鈥淥verview Effect鈥 to describe the cognitive shift that results from the experience of viewing the Earth from space and in space, from orbit or on a lunar mission. He found that with great consistency, this experience profoundly affects space travelers鈥 worldviews 鈥 their perceptions of themselves, our planet, and our understanding of the future.

White notes that astronauts know from direct experience what the rest of us know intellectually: we live on a planet that is like a natural spaceship moving through the universe at a high rate of speed. We are, in fact, the crew of "Spaceship Earth," as Buckminster Fuller described our world.

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Planet Citizens

Your Moment on Earth, Planet Citizen 馃寧

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Protect & Secure "Thin Blue"

鈥淚 thought at one point, if you could be up in heaven, this is how you would see the planet. And then I dwelled on that and said, no, it鈥檚 more beautiful than that...
This is what heaven must look like. I think of our planet as a paradise. We are very lucky to be here.鈥
-- Mike Massimino

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Six NASA Astronauts Describe the Moment in Space When 鈥淓verything Changed鈥

鈥淭his is what heaven must look like.鈥

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Over Planet Earth, Spacewalk

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They Saw Earth From Space. Here鈥檚 How It Changed Them

For most of us, Earth is inescapably larger than life. Even now, after nearly six decades of human spaceflight, precious few people have rocketed into orbit and seen the sun peeking out from behind that curved horizon. Since 1961, a mere 556 people have had this rarefied experience. Fewer, just 24, have watched Earth shrink in the distance, growing smaller and smaller until it was no larger than the face of a wristwatch. And only six have been completely alone behind the far side of the moon, cut off from a view of our planet as they sailed in an endlessly deep, star-studded sea.

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Big Picture View

We're All Planet Citizens

We Saw Earth in Space... Here鈥檚 How It Changed Us

Those Earthrise and Whole Earth images from 1968-69...

Beginnings of the modern environmental movement

Apollo 8, launched on Dec 21, 1968. History was made. Humanity's picture of our place in the universe changed. Life on Earth changed as a result. Cognitive awareness, planetary awareness changed. Environmental awareness changed forever.

Apollo 8 was the first human mission to deep space, deep enough to see the Whole Earth and share images of what they saw. The images were taken "serendipity", they were not planned as part of the mission. It was a magic, monumental event -- and the images forever changed humanity's perspective of ourselves and our home planet.

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On April 20th, 1970, some 18 months after Apollo 8's "Earthrise" photo was first seen on Earth, the first global environmental 'teach-in', "Earth Day" arose with a whole earth message, a new perspective, new ways of seeing, a new identification with the home planet began to be visualized in an environmental movement.

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DYK? Yes, we do, we remember the beginnings !
馃寧 Beginnings of the Modern Environmental Movement

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On the 50th Anniversary

Memories on the Road to the First Earth Day


Beginnings of the Modern Environmental Movement




'Earthrise', in so many ways, birthed the modern environmental movement.

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... The sight moved the poet Archibald MacLeish to write on Christmas Day of that momentous perspective-changing year:

鈥淭o see the Earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the Earth together...鈥

After the mission, NASA released the color pictures the astronauts had taken of 鈥淓arthrise鈥, celebrated on the cover of Life Magazine in January 1969.



In a 2008 book, 鈥淓arthrise鈥 Robert Poole writes of a "spiritual nascence" of the environmental movement... 鈥淚t is possible to see that Earthrise marked the tipping point, the moment when the sense of the space age flipped from what it meant for space to what it means for Earth.鈥

Galen Rowell described the Earthrise image as "the most influential environmental photograph ever taken".

SpaceVR: Overview Effect circa Christmas 2019

On seeing the whole planet in the blackness of space, national borders melt away, and we all become, primarily, citizens of Earth. Many astronauts are struck by the thinness of the atmosphere, and the stunning beauty of the planet, and feel compelled to protect it when they return.

From space, the planet is a constantly changing masterpiece and the sheer beauty is absolutely breathtaking... 鈥淔or me it was an epiphany in slow motion,鈥 said Ron Garan, a former Nasa astronaut who is not involved in the trial. 鈥淚t鈥檚 a profound sense of empathy, a profound sense of community, and a willingness to forgo immediate gratification and take a more multi-generational outlook on progress.鈥


The Overview Effect

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Earthviews from Astronauts

Ride along --- http://vimeo.com/55073825

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SpaceVR, SpaceX to launch VR camera into space, bringing the 'Overview' astronaut experience to all

"I read a book called The Overview Effect. It's about this thing that happens to astronauts. When they go into space, they have this really deep, emotional feeling, it's almost like they're awakening to the universe..."


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New Ways of Seeing



Overview's Cognitive Shift


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The Mind of the Future

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Ontological design implies that there鈥檚 this hermeneutic circle in the sense of mind emerges into feedback loops between brains, tools, and environments... witnessing the power of our creative and linguistic choices... Even the words we're using to describe, to map our experience were being fed back into our experience. And it鈥檚 just a reminder of the sort of dizzying freedom that we have to compose our lives, to compose our experience.

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... to acquire "the view" may well foreshadow what some scientists contend could be the next wave of the evolution in human consciousness.

The phenomenon, called the "Overview Effect," refers to epiphanies reported by many astronauts who have had their world views reconfigured by looking back on Earth's "blue marble" from the wilderness of space.

Profoundly affected by the sight of a gossamer-thin atmosphere protecting a natural splendor unsullied by political boundaries, a number of astronauts have returned home committed to sharing new ideas about human unity and ecological solutions for dwindling resources....

A View from a Wise Man

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Overview Effect by Anders Rostad


Overview Effect viewed by Jason Silva


鈥極verview鈥 and the Overview Effect 25 years on:


The Overview Effect at 25, article in the Space Review:


鈥極verview鈥: The Perspective-Altering Effect of Seeing Earth from Space, Universe Today:


The Overview Effect, But Does It Float


Overview -- the Smithsonian鈥檚 Air and Space Magazine:


The Wonder, Thrill and Meaning of Seeing Earth from Space

Earth360 ~ Watch Planet Earth from the International Space Station


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Yes to EarthPOV.com / https://www.greenpolicy360.net/w/EarthPOV

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February 2016 ... In memory of Edgar Mitchell

Remembering an Astronaut who was one of the first to look back at our Planet Earth

and tell us how profoundly amazing and beautiful -- and in danger -- our world is...

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Edgar Mitchell: Founder of the Noetic Institute


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New Ways of Seeing

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A Hat Tip H/T to Douglas Trumbull, Supporter of the Visionary World of the Overview Effect

"To push the edge... I believe we are at the threshold... Time to make breakthroughs"

Technology to Revolutionize Cinema

Remembering "Starchild"

Starchild 2001 / Story via GreenPolicy

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A Nod to Douglas' Work to Bring 'Hypercinema, Immersive Experiences' to the Space Center in Florida

Viewing Earth from Above

Hypercinema / State of the Cinema Art

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Remembering 'Earthrise'

- December 1968

Earthrise memories on the 45th anniversary - Earth-home, the historic view of Earth from Apollo

"The earth from here [circling the moon] is a grand oasis in the big vastness of space." 鈥 Jim Lovell, live Apollo 8 - 1968

"If somebody had said before the flight, 'Are you going to get carried away looking at the earth from the moon?' I would have said, 'No, no way.' But yet when I first looked back at the earth, standing on the moon, I cried." 鈥 Alan Shepard, Astronaut

"As you pass from sunlight into darkness and back again every hour and a half, you become startlingly aware how artificial are thousands of boundaries we've created to separate and define. And for the first time in your life you feel in your gut the precious unity of the Earth and all the living things it supports." 鈥 Russell Schweikart, Apollo 9

"As we got further and further away, it [the Earth] diminished in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate..." 鈥 James Irwin, Apollo 15

What a View!

Overview refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, hanging in the void, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, the astronauts tell us, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide us become less important and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect our "pale blue dot."

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Earthrise tells the remarkable story of the first photographs of Earth from space and the totally unexpected impact of those images. The Apollo 鈥淓arthrise鈥 and 鈥淏lue Marble鈥 photographs were beamed across the world some forty years ago. They had an astounding effect, Robert Poole explains, and in fact transformed thinking about the Earth and its environment in a way that echoed throughout religion, culture, and science. Gazing upon our whole planet for the first time, we saw ourselves and our place in the universe with new clarity.

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Overview Effect, Third Edition, by Frank White

Review: The Overview Effect

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"Space travel needs a new birth, and if we can tap into the desire to go into space, incredible things can come from it."

鈥 Sir Richard Branson

More than 30 years ago, Frank White coined the term 鈥淥verview Effect鈥 to describe the cognitive shift in awareness that results from the experience of viewing Earth from orbit or the moon. He found that, with great consistency, this experience profoundly affects space travelers鈥 worldviews 鈥 their perceptions of themselves and our planet, and our understanding of the future. White found that astronauts know from direct experience what the rest of us know only intellectually: we live on a planet that is like a natural spaceship moving through the universe at a high rate of speed. We are, in fact, the crew of 鈥淪paceship Earth,鈥 as Buckminster Fuller described our world.

In The Overview Effect, Third Edition Frank White expands on his original concept, which has now gained worldwide recognition and exposure. Using interviews with and writings by numerous astronauts and cosmonauts, he describes space exploration and settlement as necessary next steps in the evolution of human civilization and consciousness.

The third edition features new interviews with the following astronauts, space advocates, and New Space entrepreneurs: Ron Garan / Helen P. Sharman / Michael Lopez-Alegria / Sandra H. Magnus / John B. Herrington / Akihiko Hoshide / Nicole Stott / Sir Richard Branson / George Whitesides - Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides

Frank White is a magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard College. He attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, where he earned a Master of Philosophy degree in politics. He is a leading thinker and advocate on the topic of space exploration and its impact on human thought and society. He first published 'The Overview Effect' in 1987 and has since authored, co-authored, or edited nine other books, including 'Think About Space' and 'The March of the Millennia' (with Isaac Asimov), 'The SETI Factor', and 'The New Camelot'.

Frank is co-founder with David Beaver of the 'Overview Institute' created in 2008 to communicate the nature and impact of the 'whole earth space experience' that has profoundly changed the perspective of so many space travelers. He appears in 'Overview', a short film about the 'Overview Effect' released by Planetary Collective in 2012 that has been viewed on the Internet by more than 6 million people.

Visit the Overview Institute

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In March 2015, at the South by Southwest/SXSW festival, the full-length 'Overview' film entitled 'Planetary' premiered as a featured film event

Planetary is scheduled for wide release on Earth Day 2015

The film, a Planetary Collective in association with Reconsider production, is a follow-up to the award-winning short film 'Overview', featuring astronauts' stories of what it means to see the Earth from space, which was featured on Vimeo Staff Picks and has received nearly 7 million views to date. - http://weareplanetary.com/planetary-press/



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How the Overview Effect is similar to other World View Changes

The mass experience of The Overview Effect of space travel, seeing the reality of the Earth in space, will eventually be seen as a major driver of one of the greatest shifts in world awareness in the Modern World, equivalent or greater than the Copernican Revolution or the discovery of the New World. Whether by direct experience or sophisticated simulation and artistic representation, this experience will forever alter the life we think we are living and world we think we are in.

鈥 David Beaver

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Our #BlueDot" Whole Earth - #Earth360

"From up here it is surprisingly obvious, our world is one connected system" -- Astro Alexander Gerst"

January 31, 2015 -- "I wish I could bring all of you up to see this! -- Astro Terry Virts"

Hello Earth


Hello Up There

To see through the eyes of Astronauts.....

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Earth Science Research from Space

Earthviews from Astronauts

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