The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution

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AIAA, 1998 - Technology & Engineering - 314 pages
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Using interviews with and writings by 30 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 imaginatively in these great adventures, have also been affected psychologically by them. He provides a powerful 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. White goes on to consider the possible consequences of a human presence in space, both for the pioneers who settle there and for those who remain on Earth. He 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 new human space program, free of excessive nationalism and dedicated to the peaceful exploration of the space frontier.
 

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The overview effect: space exploration and human evolution

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That we have no philosophy of space exploration has been seen as a failing of U.S. space policy. White attempts to develop both a philosophy and a psychology of space to guide future explorations. He ... Read full review

Contents

The Overview Project
3
The Explorer Fish
7
An Overview of the Spaceflight Experience
11
Early Orbital Missions and Hints of the Overview Effect
27
The Overview Effect and Other Changes in Perception
33
After ApolloConsolidation of the Effect
43
Individual and Cultural Variations
49
The Technological Overview
55
An Overview of the New Civilizations
113
Milestones and Turning Points
121
Psychology of the New Civilizations
135
Terra
143
Solarius
153
Galaxia
159
Creating the Future
165
The New Civilizations and You
169

Disseminating the Overview
65
Space Exploration and Human Purpose
73
The Old Space Program and the New Space Program
95
Visions of the New Civilizations
103
The New Civilizations
111
Experiences of the Astronauts and Cosmonauts
175
Authors Note
177
Rationale for Exploring and Settling
283
Bibliography
301
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