Astronauts and cosmonauts—while getting to play with multibillion-dollar toys in space—also have an incredibly unique chance to view the Earth from a completely different perspective than many of us.
This perspective creates a newfound appreciation for our pale blue dot, as philosopher David Loy describes:
“To have that experience of awe is to, at least for the moment, let go of yourself, to transcend the sense of separation. So it’s not just that they were experiencing something other than them, but that they were, at some very deep level, integrating and realizing their interconnectedness with that beautiful blue-green ball.”
To the observer, borders seem to disappear as countries flow seamlessly into one another. Like a singular organism, Earth becomes something more than a map of divisions based upon ideology and geography. Those who share this vantage point see Earth as one ecosystem, with all parts artfully woven together to create a perfect home for millions of plant and animal species. Conflicts between nations become less apparent, and the need for a united planetary society to protect our beautiful home becomes increasingly obvious and imperative.
This realization of the interconnectedness of all life on Earth and the need to protect it, dubbed the Overview Effect, has been reported among astronauts from the Apollo program all the way through to the current International Space Station astronauts.
Astronauts are counted among the few who get to observe the Earth from the outside with the naked eye. For those of us on the surface, NASA continues to release stunning images and video from their Earth-orbiting spacecraft. Let’s keep their funding coming, so that all of humanity has the chance to learn about the importance of our beautiful home in space! http://www.penny4nasa.org/take-action/
Watch the short documentary “Overview” by The Planetary Collective, featuring commentary from experts and former Astronauts! http://vimeo.com/55073825