Ever since the first astronauts left Earth, they have been profoundly moved by the awesome view of our planet from space. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human to reach space, spoke of the immense beauty of our planet, a sentiment that has been echoed by numerous off-Earth travelers over the 60 years since his historic flight.
The experience of seeing Earth as one entity, gorgeous yet fragile, is known as the Overview Effect, a term coined by the space philosopher Frank White, who shares dozens of interviews with astronauts in his book The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, now in its fourth edition.
The life-changing paradigm shift is also inspiring people who have never left Earth, including Rachel Lyons, the executive director of Space for Humanity, a non-profit that aims to democratize human spaceflight. White and Lyons discussed the Overview Effect, and the future of human spaceflight, in an episode of Motherboard’s “Space Show.”