The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution

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The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution

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Using interviews with and writings by 29 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 in these great adventures, have also been affected psychologically by them. He provides a 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. This text considers the possible consequences of a human presence in space, both for the pioneers who settle there and for those who remain on Earth. White 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 human space program, free of excessive nationalism and dedicated to the peaceful exploration of the space frontier.


  • Publisher: AIAA
  • Edition: Second Edition (January 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563472600
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563472602
  • Paperback: 314 pages

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