The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution

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9780395430842: The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution

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 travellers' 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 programme, free of excessive nationalism and dedicated to the peaceful exploration of the space frontier.

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About the Author:

Frank White is a senior associate of the Space Studies Institute in Princeton, New Jersey. He testified before the National Commission on Space and assisted in writing its report.

From Publishers Weekly:

With his first book, White, a Boston systems-management consultant and writer for space journals, joins ranks with space-colonization evangelists Carl Sagan, Gerard K. O'Neill and their visionary ilk in presenting his theories on our space future. In his view, a new space movement is beginning, one which will require a philosophically grounded policy to drive it. Focusing less on emerging technology than on what he terms the Overview Effectthe paradigm shift experienced by astronauts who've responded deeply to the sight of Earth from spacehe here interviews 24 astronauts ranging from Yuri Gagarin and Alan Shepard to Sen. "Jake" Garn, who was a shuttle traveler before the Challenger tragedy. White sees space explorers as "explorer fish," venturing into space and, while creating new civilizations in three stages that he calls Terra, Solarius and Galaxie, furthering new growth in their own human evolution. A wild dreambut the author programs it provocatively within the bounds of science, letting it grow out of the awe he shows to be at the root of the Overview Effect.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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White, Frank
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