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Inspiration4 Reveal They Felt the 'Overview Effect' in Space — What to Know About the Phenomenon

"It was emotionally moving beyond what I thought it would be," civilian astronaut Chris Sembroski tells PEOPLE in this week's issue
September 24, 2021

Inspiration4 Reveal They Felt the 'Overview Effect' in Space — What to Know About the Phenomenon

As the world's first civilian astronaut crew to orbit Earth, the Inspiration4 crew has had experiences that most can only dream of.

"I'm still buzzing with excitement for all the stuff we just went through," commander Jared Isaacman — the 38-year-old billionaire who paid SpaceX for all four seats aboard a Dragon spacecraft — tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. 

One of those experiences is the "Overview Effect," a powerful phenomenon coined by space author and philosopher Frank White to describe how seeing the planet from space can change a person's perspective on Earth — and life. 


Space Channel Exclusive Interview with Author & Space Philosopher Frank White

August 19, 2021

In The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, 4th Edition, Frank White expands on his original concept, which has now gained worldwide recognition. Using interviews with, and writings by, astronauts and cosmonauts, he describes space exploration and development as necessary next steps in the evolution of human civilization and consciousness. The fourth edition features new interviews with active and retired professional astronauts, including three who were on board the International Space Station at the time. He has also continued to interview future “citizen astronauts” who will be flying in the near future on commercial spaceflights.


Creative Performance in Extreme Human Environments: Astronauts and Space

A Research Collection from Frontiers in Psychology

August 02, 2021 by White et al

As humans expand on their exploration of the universe, the need to understand creative performance in extreme human environments increases. Future deep space missions, such as to Mars, will have no direct contact with earth. Therefore, astronauts need to rely on their own creative skills to survive. Environments in space differ from environments on Earth, resulting in significant psychological consequences. Within a multivariate theory of creativity, the environment contributes to creative potential. However, there is still a gap in research on how more extreme human environments and related psychological factors influence creative potential. Existing research focuses on cognitive and social-emotional factors in relatively moderate human environments. A focus on extreme environments will not only enhance our understanding of fostering and developing skills, but also of unleashing creative skills in general. This new research area is substantiated by existing studies on space-related issues that astronauts frequently encounter, such as extreme temperatures and social isolation. This Research Topic aims to relate this to findings within the domain of creativity research, thereby opening a new avenue for future research


The Overview Effect

Frank White tells Nat Dyer about the spiritual impact of seeing the Earth from space.

June 28, 2021 by Nat Dyer

Rachel Carson, the mother of the environmental movement, dreaded the dawning space age. “It was pleasant to believe,” she wrote in 1958 after the USSR launched Sputnik, “that much of Nature was forever beyond the tampering reach of man.”


Test Article

May 13, 2021 by Frank White


A Cosmic Idea

Inner Solitude A Frontier Still Worth Exploring

March 26, 2021 by Maggie Jackson

Midway through his first spacewalk, astronaut John Herrington felt stunningly alone.


NASA "Down to Earth" Series

Frank kicks off a video series by NASA about the Overview Effect

March 22, 2021 by Frank White


Can Astronaut Thinking Heal America at Last?'s Leslie Guttman interviews Frank White

January 28, 2021 by Frank White

The Overview Effect is finally gaining traction with the promise of private space travel and hopelessly divided societies.


Overnight America interview with Frank White

March 01, 2019 by Frank White

Overnight America interviewed Frank White about whether we are ready to go back to space and what new and exciting things interest him.


Why do we go into space?

New Website Opens Discussion of Space Philosophy
February 15, 2018

Within 20 years or less, we expect that the first humans will be living in space, from the Moon to Mars and even beyond. is the planet’s first open source platform dedicated to creating the philosophy for the opening of the space environment to humanity. Founded by well-known space leaders Dylan Taylor, Rick Tumlinson, and Frank White, 2211 is designed to encourage conversations about the “Why?” of the human expansion beyond the Earth.