Astronauts Describe The ‘Overview Effect’ That Transformed Their Minds After Seeing Earth From Space

Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Earth & Space with 1 Comment

Screen Shot 2013-01-03 at 7.03.07 PMKim Bhasin | Business Insider

A short film released by Planetary Collective called “OVERVIEW” has some fantastic interviews with astronauts who described their experience seeing Earth from space.

It’s something that can’t be replicated and it totally changes your perspective.


The “overview effect,” first described by author Frank White in 1987, is the sudden recognition that we live on a planet. The experience transforms a person’s perspective of Earth and mankind’s place upon it, and he or she begins to think of Earth as more of a “shared home” and have a strong feeling of awe.

From shuttle astronaut Jeff Hoffman:

“You do, from that perspective, see the Earth as a planet. You see the sun as a star – we see the sun in a blue sky, but up there, you see the sun in a black sky. So, yeah, you are seeing it from the cosmic perspective.”

Shuttle/ISS astronaut Nicole Stott:

“We have this connection to Earth. I mean, it’s our home. And I don’t know how you can come back and not, in some way, be changed. It may be subtle. You see difference in different people in their general response when they come back from space. But I think, collectively, everybody has that emblazoned on their memories, the way the planet looks. You can’t take that lightly.”

Shuttle/ISS astronaut Ron Garan:

“When we look down at the earth from space, we see this amazing, indescribably beautiful planet. It looks like a living, breathing organism. But it also, at the same time, looks extremely fragile.

… Anybody else who’s ever gone to space says the same thing because it really is striking and it’s really sobering to see this paper-thin layer and to realize that that little paper-thin layer is all that protects every living thing on Earth from death, basically. From the harshness of space.”

Watch the entire video from Planetary Collective below:

OVERVIEW from Planetary Collective on Vimeo.

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