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The profundity of seeing Earth from space

When astronauts gaze at our blue marble from up in space, they start to have strange feelings that perhaps no one on Earth can understand. The short film Overview describes what is known as the "Overview Effect".

The Blue Marble — Earth as seen from the Apollo 17, taken 7 December 1972.
(Credit: NASA)

When astronauts gaze at our blue marble from up in space, they start to have strange feelings that perhaps no one on Earth can understand. The short film Overview describes what is known as the "Overview Effect".

When you're down here on the surface of Earth — as most people are and always will be — it's easy to get lost in the minutiae of day-to-day life. Astronauts, however, often have a different view about our existence.

As first described by author Frank White in his 1987 book The Overview Effect, seeing our planet from a long way away leads to a deep, philosophical shift.

This involves "truly transformative experiences, including senses of wonder and awe, unity with nature, transcendence and universal brotherhood", according to Psychology of Space Exploration by NASA.

Overview, a short film by White, made by the Planetary Collective, lets you listen as five astronauts — Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut and founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences; Ron Garan, ISS astronaut and founder of humanitarian organisation Fragile Oasis; Nicole Stott, shuttle and ISS astronaut and member of Fragile Oasis; Jeff Hoffman, shuttle astronaut and senior lecturer at MIT; and Shane Kimbrough, shuttle and ISS astronaut and lieutenant colonel in the US Army — describe their experiences with the Overview Effect.

It seems perhaps an extreme measure, but if it produces these philosophies, then maybe every human should get the opportunity to go into space at least once.

Via www.brainpickings.org