“Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from the outside is available, a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.” –Fred Hoyle, 1948.
The Overview Effect is simply a change of perspective and cosmic realization reported by astronauts and cosmonauts since the first space flights of the 19th century. The impact of viewing our planet from space exposes the true fragility and intricacy of Earth to the viewer, which prompts some astronauts to take action to become advocates for the preservation of “the tiny blue dot”.
Astronauts have often reported experiencing feelings of awe for Earth, while also understanding their connection to all life.
“When we started home, I had a little more time to look out the window,” Apollo Astronaut, Edgar Mitchell said in the film…“Every two minutes, a picture of the Earth, the Moon, the Sun, and a 360° panorama of the heavens appeared in the spacecraft window. I had studied cosmology and astronomy and fully understood that the molecules in my body and the molecules in my partner’s bodies…had been prototyped in some ancient generations’ stars. In other words, we are stardust. That was pretty awesome and powerful.”
Author Frank White first described the overview effect in 1987 in his book, “The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution.”
This short film was filmed in 2011 and includes interviews and perspectives from:
- Edgar Mitchell, Apollo XIV astronaut
- Ron Garan, International Space Station astronaut
- Nicole Stott, Space Shuttle/ISS astronaut
- Jeff Hoffman, Space Shuttle/ISS astronaut
- Shane Kimbrough, Shuttle/ISS astronaut
- Frank White, author and space theorist
- David Loy, philosopher and author
- David Beaver, philosopher and co-founder of The Overview Institute
“This view of the Earth from space, the whole Earth perspective I think is the true symbol of this age,” Frank White said in the film. “I believe that what’s going to happen is, there’s going to be a greater and greater interest in communicating this idea because, after all, it is key to our survival.”
The documentary uses long-shot, time-lapse shots with powerful imagery of Earth and views of the planet from the International Space Station. All of the interviews uses effortlessly flow together to create an atmospheric, otherworldly impression on the viewer. Underscoring all of these elements is the score, preformed by Human Suits, which provides the short film with the ethereal touch.
This 19-minute documentary brings into question the entire point of human existence in the 21stcentury and is a very interesting, thoughtful film. Check out the entire Overview family here:
Frank White’s, “The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution”