8 December 2012

The Overview Effect

Fred Hoyle, the English astronomer said in 1948 “Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from the outside, is available… a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.”  Twenty four years later the Blue Marble photograph was taken by astronauts on the Apollo 17 mission and has become one of the most extensively circulated photographic images ever taken. 

The photograph has stirred a sense of wonder in countless millions of people. Yet what must it be like to be the photographer?  Over the decades since we first ventured in to space, astronauts have recounted the perspective-altering experience of seeing the Earth from the outside.  Reactions vary, of course, but a common feature is one of awe, a new or renewed understanding of how all life is connected and – perhaps most importantly – an acute sense of responsibility for the environment. It is called The Overview Effect.

Overview by the Planetary Collective is a short film which recounts how The Overview Effect altered the outlook of five astronauts, Edgar Mitchell, Ron Garan, Nicole Stott, Jeff Hoffman and Shane Kimbrough. It’s twenty minute long but every second is worth it.