Overview Group to Form Overview Institute to Promote Overview Effect (to Save Earth)


More than 20 renowned experts in the fields of space, science, media, and humanitarian services have joined forces to raise public awareness of the Overview Effect, a term used to describe the experience astronauts have when seeing Earth firsthand from outer space, and the resulting sense of unification that is brought on by this unique perspective.

On May 31st, at the National Space Society’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., these individuals, formally known as The Overview Group, will issue a joint declaration calling for the formation of an Overview Institute to promote awareness of the Overview Effect. The potential cultural impact of the Overview Effect is expected to become increasingly significant as space tourism begins.

The Overview Group includes: Dr. Edgar Mitchell (Apollo Astronaut, sixth man on the moon), Dr. Barbara Marx Hubbard (author and President of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution), Frank White (author of the Overview Effect), Douglas Trumbull (Oscar Award winning Special Effects Supervisor of 2001: A Space Odyssey), Dan Curry (Emmy Award winning Visual Effects Supervisor for Star Trek), and George Whitesides (Executive Director of the National Space Society). A panel composed of several Group members will make the presentation. The moderator will be Keith Ferrell, former Editor of Omni Magazine.

The Overview Effect is a phrase coined in the book of the same name by space philosopher Frank White. In his book, White conducted numerous interviews with astronauts who said that from space the boundaries that divide nations on Earth cease to exist, the frailty of the Earth’s atmosphere becomes evident, and they experience a clear sense of the need for all of us to come together to resolve our interpersonal conflicts and protect the Earth’s environment.

Until now, astronauts have been the only people to gain this illuminating perspective. The Overview Group sites two recent advances in technology that will communicate this experience to a greater number of people. The first is the advent of space tourism, which will soon begin taking tens of thousands of people into space giving them the opportunity to experience the Overview Effect firsthand.

The second is the rapid maturation of HD digital media, 3-D simulations and virtual reality. These new technologies will soon give Earthbound audiences a taste of the space experience and bring the Overview Effect to millions. The Overview Group intends to promote the use of all forms of media and simulations to foster a perceptual change in the public to that of a global perspective. Their hope is that this will bring about positive changes for the entire planet.

In his book, White writes, “The experience of the Earth as a unified whole is a powerful one…not [just] to space fliers alone, but to all of humanity. Now the question is, ‘How can larger numbers of people get that message?’ There are two ways…One is the transportation-oriented approach of taking more people into space, which is what…the embryonic space tourism industry propose[s] to do. The other is the communication-oriented approach of replicating the experience in various forms, and diffusing it around the planet.”

The event will feature an HD Earth and Space visualization and a Q&A session with members of The Overview Group. The Group is issuing an invitation to leaders in the areas of Space, Cognitive Science, Media, and Humanitarian Services to join the Overview Institute.