The Overview Effect for Everybody

Image Credit: NASA





By: Frank White

Several years ago, a tabloid newspaper ran a contest offering a chance to travel to Earth orbit for the person who got the most votes on the Internet.

I entered and lost, but it set off a train of thought that went like this: “Going into space and experiencing the Overview Effect should not be limited to those who can pay for a flight.”

When I went to college, I did not have the money to pay for it, but the admissions people thought I might be able to make a contribution to the college community and society as a whole.  I was fortunate enough to receive significant financial aid and access to an education. I thought we might apply a similar idea to access to space.

This led to the concept of “Overview Scholarships,” which eventually became an Overview Institute project. That project never came to fruition, but this background helps explain why I am such a strong supporter of Space For Humanity (S4H).

When Rachel Lyons connected me with Dylan Taylor, shortly after he announced S4H, I immediately realized that this project had the same goals as the Overview Scholarships. After talking with Dylan about it, I came away convinced that he was going to make it happen.

To be sure, we will need to raise the funds to fulfill the organization’s goal of “giving the gift of perspective” to thousands of citizen astronauts, but we are on our way.

When Dylan asked me to join the advisory council, I said, “Yes, of course.”

When I confirmed the existence of the Overview Effect through my interviews with astronauts, I thought, “Everyone needs to have this experience.” I also recognized that there were two ways to do it: we could send people into space or near space, or we could create powerful simulations to provide them with a version of the experience. Since then, I have supported both options.

I believe that experiencing the Overview Effect is a human right. It is so powerful, important, and true that every person on Earth should have the opportunity to share in it. Not only would it benefit the individual but it would also be good for the world because this shift in perspective is what we need in order to create a peaceful, sustainable planetary civilization.

In my opinion, it will not be a “nice thing” to succeed in our mission. I think we must succeed and that is why I support Space For Humanity.

Frank White is the author of The Overview Effect , which is now available on Audible.