Astronaut Ecstasy and the Overview Effect

Current obsessions include astronauts’ descriptions of the earth from space, and things published or edited by Stewart Brand. The latter actually led me to the former, as this video about the origins of the Whole Earth Catalog breaks down.

The Overview Effect, a short film released on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission, is the most intensive exploration of the cosmic perspective of astronauts that I’ve come across in a while. It gets a little sentimental toward the end, but there’s not nearly enough public discussion of this stuff and not nearly enough of us get to hang out with (or be) astronauts. Only about 500 of us have gone into space so far in fact, according to the Overview Institute, which collects astronaut quotes and talks about this perspective endlessly. 527 people to be exact, according to this list on Wikipedia, which will hopefully eventually become unmanageable.

See also: The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth, the spacewalk footage from For All Mankind (1989), and spacecats on Wanelo.

2 Comments

  1. Postscript: Since this post, astronaut Chris Hadfield has gone and ushered in the real space age with his earthgazing blog and musical sincerity.

    Posted by Sean on 27 May 2013 at 11:37 am
  2. Very interesting post and video. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by Peter on 17 Aug 2013 at 4:40 am

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