Using interviews with and writings by 30 astronauts and cosmonauts, Frank White shows how experiences such as circling the Earth every 90 minutes and viewing it from the moon have profoundly affected our space travelers' perceptions of themselves, their world, and the future.
He shows how the rest of us, who have participated imaginatively in these great adventures, have also been affected psychologically by them. He provides a powerful rationale for space exploration and settlement, describing them as the inevitable next steps in the evolution of human society and human consciousness, as the activities most likely to bring a new perspective to the problems of life on Earth.
White goes on to consider the possible consequences of a human presence in space, both for the pioneers who settle there and for those who remain on Earth. He imagines how having a permanent perspective from outer space will affect our politics, our religion, our social relations, our psychology, our economics, and our hard sciences. He confronts the possibility of rebellion by a space colony and of contact with extraterrestrial beings.
And, finally, he makes it clear that our fate is in our own hands, that we will shape our future in space effectively only by fashioning a new human space program, free of excessive nationalism and dedicated to the peaceful exploration of the space frontier.
"The Overview Effect", first described by Frank White in 1987, is an experience that transforms astronauts' perspective of the planet and mankind's place upon it. "Overview" is a short film that explores this phenomenon through interviews with five astronauts who have experienced the Overview Effect. The film also features insights from commentators and thinkers, including Frank White, on the wider implications and importance of this understanding for society, and our relationship to the environment."