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What is The Overview Effect?
The Overview Effect, first described by author Frank White in 1987, is an experience that transforms astronauts’ perspective of the planet and mankind’s place upon it. Common features of the experience are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.
It is 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.
Carl Sagan aimed to achieve a similar shift in thinking when he asked NASA to turn around the Voyager 1 space probe on its way to the outer solar system and take the famous “pale blue dot” picture or Earth.
The Overview Effect is so effective in shifting one’s perspective as it allows one to see, for the first time with their own eyes, the big picture: Our blue planet in relationship to its solar system and the universe at large.