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The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition
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Downloaded by American Instituteand of Aeronautics Astronautics on September 20, 2017 | http://arc.aiaa.org | DOI: 10.2514/4.103223 reserved. All rights Astronautics.and of Aeronautics American Institute Copyright © 2014.

Chapter 1

THE OVERVIEW PROJECT

It is endlessly fulfilling. You never see quite the same thing as you are orbiting. There is a different ground track every time. The time of day is different; the clouds are different. The cloud patterns show different colors. The oceans are different; the dust over the deserts is different. It doesn’t get repetitive. —Space Shuttle astronaut Joseph P. Allen The Earth will show different sides of her face, and different expressions in a fast pace. You see oceans, you see deserts, the forests, and cities. And you see different times of the day. You will never be bored. —Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide

There are ways to get a taste of the Overview Effect without going into outer space. Anyone who flies in an airplane and looks out the window has the opportunity to experience a mild version of it. My own effort to confirm the reality of the Overview Effect had its origins in a cross-country flight in the late 1970s. As the plane flew north of Washington, D.C., I found myself looking down at the Capitol and Washington Monument. From 30,000 feet, they looked like little toys sparkling in the sunshine. From that altitude, all of Washington looked small and insignificant. However, I knew that people down there were making life-and-death decisions on my behalf and taking themselves very seriously as they did so. From high in the jet stream, it seemed absurd that they could have an impact on my life. It was like ants making laws for humans. On the other hand, I knew that it was all a matter of perspective. When the plane landed, everyone on it would act just like the people over whom we flew. This line of thought led to a simple but important realization: mental processes and views of life cannot be separated from physical location. Our “worldview” as a conceptual framework depends quite literally on our view of the world from a physical place in the universe. Later, as the plane flew over the deserts and mountains of the western states, the flood of insights continued. I could look down on the network of 1

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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roads below and actually “see the future.” I knew that the car on Route 110 would soon meet up with that other car on Route 37, although the two drivers were not yet aware of it. If they were about to have an accident, I’d see it, but they wouldn’t. From the airplane, the message that scientists, philosophers, spiritual teachers, and systems theorists have been trying to tell us for centuries was obvious: everything is interconnected and interrelated, each part a subsystem of a larger whole system. Finally, after I spent several hours looking out at the Earth’s surface, all the insights linked into a single gestalt. I expressed it as the following: People living in space settlements will always have an overview! They will be able to see how everything is related, that what appears to be “the world” to people on Earth is merely a small planet in space, and what appears to be “the present” is merely a limited viewpoint to one looking from a higher level. People who live in space will take for granted philosophical insights that have taken those on Earth thousands of years to formulate. They will start at a place we have labored to attain over several millennia. That moment of realization gave birth to the term Overview Effect, which meant, at the time, that the predicted experience of astronauts and space settlers would have a different philosophical point of view as a result of having a different physical perspective. I have been thinking and writing about the Overview Effect continually since that time, and this effort has expanded my understanding of the phenomenon enormously.

The Overview Effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit, in transit between the Earth and the moon, or from the lunar surface. It refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality that the Earth is in space, a tiny, fragile ball of life, “hanging in the void,” shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. The experience often transforms astronauts’ perspective on the planet and humanity’s place in the universe. Some common aspects of it are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.

In this book, I explore the fundamental nature of the Overview Effect, along with new insights, which include the following: †

The Overview Effect is only one of the changes in consciousness that can be brought about by spaceflight, and the nature of the experience

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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THE OVERVIEW PROJECT



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varies with the individuals involved and the type of mission being flown. The impact of the Effect is not limited to space travelers alone; communication of their experiences to others supports social transformation. Satellites and unmanned probes provide a technological analogue to the Overview Effect and other changes in consciousness that take place during manned flights. The Overview Effect and related phenomena are the foundations for a series of new civilizations evolving on Earth and in space. It is possible to grasp the true implications of this evolutionary process only by seeing it from the viewpoint of the universe as a whole; from that perspective, the Overview Effect may point to humankind’s purpose as a species.

Since beginning the Overview Project, I have come to see space exploration as part of a long tradition of central projects. According to a book based on research sponsored by Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell’s Institute of Noetic Sciences, central projects, such as the construction of the Gothic cathedrals and the Egyptian pyramids, are catalysts for social and personal transformation. These projects, although involving visible material artifacts, were actually vehicles for more abstract social and psychological aims. The great cathedrals, besides serving as highly visible central projects to attract the best and most adventurous minds of the age, also served to educate the consciousness of the larger population [1]. Building the cathedrals was also an explicitly spiritual project intended as a form of service to God. This distinction is important because projects that are meant to evolve human consciousness and projects meant to serve God are not necessarily equivalent. In this book, central projects are seen as a “means of focusing the energies of a population during an evolutionary transition to a higher level of culture,” [2] and I subscribe to the statement, “Perhaps the most recent central project was the Apollo project that culminated in Neil Armstrong’s famous footstep on the moon” [3]. Was the Apollo program the end of space exploration as a central project or just the beginning? My research on the impact of the Overview Effect suggests that it was merely a warm-up for space exploration’s potential role as the greatest central project in human history.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Chapter 2

THE EXPLORER FISH

I came back with a mass of stored data. I wanted to spend a lot of time thinking back on it and how it related to my experiences here on Earth. It takes a lot of time to do it. I don’t think I can assimilate it all in a lifetime, but I’m going to try! —Payload specialist Charles D. Walker It doesn’t matter if you look out the window one time or multiple times in terms of how impressive it is. It hits you just as strongly. —Space Shuttle and ISS astronaut Nicole Stott

A fish glides through a liquid world, aware of light and dark, predators and prey, dimly perceiving the ocean bottom below. On occasion, it may leap out of the water and experience something else strange and different. That experience, however, is rare and not an essential element of the fish’s life. This is “fish consciousness.” In regard to land, water, air, and sky, the fish’s knowledge of reality is highly conditioned and restricted by its physical surroundings. If you were a fish, you would have no idea what land was like and only the vaguest notion of what water was like, because water would be the immersive medium in which you lived. The idea of “sky” would be far beyond your comprehension. To us, it seems a strange and limited life. However, in terms of consciousness and evolution, we are closer to living the life of a fish than we might realize. Until recently, all human beings have existed in a state much like that of the fish and other marine animals. The planet Earth has been our ocean, from which we have been unable to escape. Even the remote possibility of leaving the planet became imaginable only relatively recently. As a result, it has been extremely difficult to conceive of life off the planet, and without direct experience, we’ve been limited to speculation. Scientists and science fiction writers have tried to understand the nature of the physical universe beyond our atmosphere, but their attempts were purely conceptual until 1961 when the first human being actually ventured into space. Since that brief and historic orbital flight by Yuri Gagarin, only a few hundred human 5

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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beings have experienced this wholly new form of existence: living and working in “space.” Their nonterrestrial time has been brief, just over a year on the longest journey. Compared to the time humans have spent on the Earth, their time in orbit or on the moon is hardly measurable. Nevertheless, the vital importance of their experiences is beginning to emerge. The evidence suggests that humanity’s expansion into the solar system and beyond will result in a fundamental transformation of the human species, an evolutionary step unprecedented in human history. To begin the process of understanding why this is so, let’s return to the example of the fish. EXPLORATION

AND

EVOLUTION

We do not know exactly how life arose on the Earth, but life on land may have evolved as fish and other marine species learned to breathe air, crawl through the mud, and eat “land food.” What a change it would have been for the first fish to crawl onto the land! It would have been assailed with new experiences unique to its species. For the first time, the fish would be able to see the ocean, and what had been the whole world would be perceived as part of something far larger. Water would no longer be the invisible context of life, but a visible place to go to and come from. The fish would have felt the wind blowing on its scales, the soil scraping its stomach, and gravity pulling remorselessly on its body. New colors, sights, and sounds would have crowded in on its sense organs, overwhelming it with stimuli. If the first “explorer fish” had been able to talk, it would have had a hard time explaining “land” to its fellows. How would it have described the colors that other fish had never seen, sounds they had not heard, views they could not imagine? What would they have made of “weight,” the drag on the explorer’s body as it tried to maneuver on the rocky shore, using fins as protolegs? How would they have adapted to calling what had been “the world” simply “the ocean?” Could they have understood the importance of what the explorer fish had done? Could they have imagined the implications? Of course, they might have tried to understand. “Amazing,” they might say. “That is quite incredible, and rather brave of you to have risked it.” Some might not have been so charitable. “Yes,” they might have said, “very interesting, but how is it relevant to our lives here in the sea? What good is this land to us?” This first explorer fish would have found it nearly impossible to explain to the other fish the full implications of its experience. On the basis of just a few hours or days on land, how could it envision the vast sweep of changes awaiting life on Earth? It would not have known exactly what it had done or why.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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THE EXPLORER FISH

7

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ANALOGY

AND

REALITY

The story of the explorer fish is an analogy, but the question it raises is real: Are our astronauts in much the same situation as that mythical fish [1]? They have entered and lived in a radically new environment, unknown to all but a few of their fellow humans. They have seen their planet from a distance, experienced themselves as weightless entities, gazed outward into an infinite universe, and traveled around the planet in 90-minute “days” and “nights.” They have been criticized for being too laconic, not expressive enough in describing their experiences. “Let’s put poets, not test pilots, in space,” some have said. However, that statement misses a critical issue: The problem may not be that the astronauts can’t describe their experiences, but that we can’t hear what they’re saying. The astronauts have tried to explain the experience to us, often in quite eloquent language. Some of their books are clear and to the point. But a shared context is critical for real communication to take place because, without it, what is meaningful to one person may be nonsense to another. Clearly, those who have not flown in space do not have a shared context from which to understand the astronauts’ descriptions of spaceflight. Skylab astronaut Ed Gibson has said, “Our coming back and sharing our experiences is like a drop of dye going into the ocean; it is quickly diffused. I think the pictures of Earth have made an impression, but it will be a matter of osmosis over a long period of time. The more who go, the more difference it will make” [2]. There is a real gulf between our explorers and ourselves, and we cannot bridge it until we admit that it exists. However, flying in space is not absolutely necessary to improve the communication process. The whole point of communication is, after all, to share experiences and create common ground among those who lack the same experiential background. The term Overview Effect is a tool for conceptualizing something most people have not yet experienced. It names the experience for the astronauts as well as for nonastronauts, thereby helping them communicate more easily. The Overview Effect and other concepts in this book should help develop common ground by describing spaceflight with new terminology and a new conceptual framework. Developing a clear perspective on the meaning of spaceflight has important public policy implications. When we see, for example, the potential importance of space exploration for human evolution, it provides the perspective required to define a new space program that can replace those that have gone before. Ultimately, we want to answer the essential question about space exploration and human evolution: What is the fundamental purpose of space exploration, and why do we do it? Lacking direct experience, many

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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have attempted to answer that question with analogies to the past, especially the establishment of colonies here on Earth and the development of frontiers. These analyses are valuable and should continue; however, they may be too limited, because all previous colonial and frontier experiments shared one common characteristic: they occurred within the biosphere of Earth. It is true that the settlers on Earth had to adapt to radically different circumstances in the Americas, Australia, and Africa. Nevertheless, all their efforts unfolded in an environment characterized by normal Earth gravity, Earthbound space/time coordinates, a natural atmosphere, and many other characteristics of life on Earth that we take for granted. As humanity moves out into the solar system, the developmental medium will be quite different, and the results are unpredictable. The thesis of this book is that space exploration is a major step in a long evolutionary journey, which we humans will be making not only for ourselves, but also for the evolution of the universe.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Chapter 3

AN OVERVIEW

OF THE

SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE

As you eat breakfast you look out the window . and there’s the Mediterranean area, Greece and Rome and North Africa and the Sinai. . You realize that in one glance what you’re seeing is what was the whole history of man for years—the cradle of civilization. You go down across North Africa and out over the Indian Ocean and look up at that great subcontinent of India pointed down toward you as you go past it . out over the Philippines and up across that monstrous Pacific Ocean—you’ve never realized how big that is before. You finally come up across the coast of California, and you look for those friendly things, Los Angeles and Phoenix and on across to El Paso. And there’s Houston, there’s home . and you look and sure enough there’s the Astrodome—and you identify with that, it’s an attachment. And on across New Orleans and then you look down to the south and there’s the whole peninsula of Florida laid out. All the hundreds of hours you’ve spent flying across that route down in the atmosphere, all that is friendly again. You go out across the Atlantic Ocean and back across Africa, and you do it again and again and again. You identify with Houston and then you identify with Los Angeles and Phoenix and New Orleans. The next thing you recognize in yourself is that you’re identifying with North Africa—you look forward to that, you anticipate it, and there it is. And that whole process of what it is you identify with begins to shift. When you go around the Earth in an hour and a half, you begin to recognize that your identity is with that whole thing. That makes a change. You look down there and you can’t imagine how many borders and boundaries you cross, again and again and again, and you don’t even see them. There you are—hundreds of people in the Mideast killing each other over some imaginary line that you’re not even aware of and that you can’t see. 9

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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From where you see it, the thing is a whole, and it’s so beautiful. You wish you could take one in each hand, one from each side in the various conflicts, and say, “Look. Look at it from this perspective. Look at that. What’s important?” Then you look back on the time you were outside on that EVA [extravehicular activity] and on those few moments that you could take, because a camera malfunctioned, to think about what was happening. And you recall staring out there at the spectacle that went before your eyes, because you’re no longer inside something with a window, looking out at a picture. Now you’re out there and there are no frames, there are no limits, there are no boundaries. You’re really out there, going twenty-five thousand miles an hour, ripping through space, a vacuum. And there’s not a sound. There’s a silence the depth of which you’ve never experienced before, and that silence contrasts so markedly with the scenery you’re seeing and the speed with which you know you’re moving. You think about what you’re experiencing and why. Do you deserve this fantastic experience? Have you earned this in some way? Are you separated out to be touched by God, to have some special experience that others cannot have? You know that the answer to that is no. There’s nothing that you’ve done that deserves that, that earned that; it’s not a special thing for you. You know very well at that moment, and it comes through to you so powerfully that you’re the sensing element for man. You look down and see the surface of that globe that you’ve lived on all this time, and you know all those people down there and they are like you, they are you—and somehow you represent them. You are up there as the sensing element, that point out on the end, and that’s a humbling feeling. It’s a feeling that says you have a responsibility. It’s not for yourself. The eye that doesn’t see doesn’t do justice to the body. That’s why it’s there; that’s why you are out there. And somehow you recognize that you’re a piece of this total life.. You’re out there on the forefront and you have to bring that back somehow. That becomes a rather special responsibility and it tells you something about your relationship with this thing we call life. So that’s a change. That’s something new. And when you come back there’s a difference in the world now. There’s a difference in that relationship between you and that planet and you and all those other forms of life on that planet, because you’ve had that kind of experience. It’s a difference and it’s so precious.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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AN OVERVIEW

OF THE

SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE

11

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And all through this I’ve used the word you because it’s not me, it’s not Dave Scott, it’s not Dick Gordon, Pete Conrad, John Glenn—it’s you, it’s we. It’s Life that’s had that experience [1]. —Apollo 9 astronaut Russell L. Schweickart

Russell L. (“Rusty”) Schweickart flew on the Apollo 9 orbital mission following the dramatic journey of Apollo 8 around the moon during Christmas 1968. His experience was clearly deep and profound, and he is articulate in communicating about it. Schweickart is a founder of the Association of Space Explorers, an organization of American astronauts, Soviet cosmonauts, and space fliers from other countries dedicated to investigating the implications of their experiences in terms of unity and cooperation on Earth and in space. What happened to Schweickart is an example of the spaceflight experience when the Overview Effect is at work. However, we should not assume that every astronaut or cosmonaut would describe the process in exactly the same way. One of the most exciting aspects of the Effect is that its interpretation is as varied as the astronauts and cosmonauts themselves. The Space Age is just over 50 years old, and as of 2014, there have been more than 500 space travelers from the United States, the former Soviet Union, and other countries [2]. These missions can be divided into nine different types: 1) suborbital (initial Mercury missions); 2) single astronaut orbital (later Mercury missions, Soviet Vostok and Soyuz missions); 3) multiple astronaut orbital (Gemini, two Apollo missions, Soviet Voskhod and Soyuz); 4) lunar orbital or flyby (three Apollo missions); 5) lunar landing (later Apollo missions); 6) temporary space station (Skylab and Salyut); 7) space shuttle (the space transportation system or STS); 8) permanent space station (Mir/International Space Station); and 9) space shuttle/Mir link. There is also a subcategory of missions including extravehicular activity (EVA), during which some of the most important experiences have occurred. These spacewalks took place as part of all American mission types after Mercury and all Soviet/Russian mission types after the Vostok series. The International Space Station (ISS) is a precursor of the space settlements of the future, essential building blocks of the “new civilizations” to be discussed in detail later in this book. These different mission configurations represent the physical technologies needed to explore and begin developing the “solar neighborhood,” of which the Earth is a part. However, development will be slow until more work is done to create low-cost access to low Earth orbit and new propulsion systems that will make the outer limits of the solar system accessible. We will have to move from a high cost/low access paradigm of space exploration to one of

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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low cost/high access. Until those problems are resolved, humanity will remain in a primitive pioneering phase of space exploration, and the spaceflight experience will retain its current shape. The advent of private enterprise into the space exploration arena promises to transform the paradigm. Unlike government programs, private companies have an incentive to lower costs and increase volume. Now that companies like Virgin Galactic have entered the arena, we can expect that many more people will begin to have the Overview Effect experience. This has enormous implications. THE HALO EXPERIENCE There is much more to space travel than the time actually spent in space. Its richer levels can best be understood by considering four characteristics that surround the core experience like a penumbra or halo: 1. There is a difference between the experience itself and the communication of it. 2. The experience begins long before the flight and ends, if ever, long after it. 3. The experience is relatively private while the astronaut is in space but becomes highly public on return. 4. The experience is given a meaning that serves societal needs, but may have little to do with the astronaut’s personal reality. Let’s look at these characteristics individually. THE EXPERIENCE AND ITS COMMUNICATION

The question most frequently asked of space travelers is “What was it like?” It’s appropriate that the question is phrased that way. Without knowing it, when people ask an astronaut what the experience is like, they are acknowledging that the answer will be a metaphor or simile because no experience on Earth is exactly the same. As Julian Jaynes, author of The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, pointed out, metaphor is more than a mechanism of language; it is through metaphor that language grows: “The most fascinating property of language is its capacity to make metaphors. But what an understatement. For metaphor is not a mere extra trick of language . it is the very constitutive ground of language” [3]. If Jaynes is correct, we should expect one result of space exploration to be that language will grow as the exploration experience is described more

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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AN OVERVIEW

OF THE

SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE

13

frequently. A typical example of the use of metaphor regarding spaceflights is that of Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau, who described his time on the space shuttle as a “dreamlike experience” [4]. Several astronauts have used the metaphor of visiting the Grand Canyon to comment on the difference between knowing intellectually what would happen in orbit or on the moon and actually being there. As former Senator Edwin (“Jake”) Garn of Utah, who flew on the space shuttle, put it, “The first time you look out at the Earth and see that, it’s a heart-stopper. I don’t care how many pictures you’ve seen of the Grand Canyon, it’s not the same as looking over the side and saying, ’My goodness, it really is that deep’” [5]. THE TIME FRAME OF

THE

EXPERIENCE

The second element that enriches the spaceflight experience is the challenge of putting boundaries around it. In the most limited definition, the experience begins with liftoff and ends with touchdown, but its impact goes far beyond that time frame. According to Marc Garneau, liftoff has a significant psychological impact even before it occurs, because you have to come to terms with the possibility that you won’t survive the trip. “One part of the total experience is the sheer adventure of the launch itself. That internal adjustment, making peace with yourself and squaring off your conscience and preparing for that very short experience, is an adaptation as well” [6]. To put it simply, the astronaut or cosmonaut must consciously or subconsciously prepare for death before liftoff. When a launch is successful, it is a kind of miracle and blessing that one continues to live, especially in having been transported to a new and extraordinary environment. As for the return to Earth, Byron Lichtenberg, who was the first payload specialist and who flew on the space shuttle in 1983 and 1992, noted that astronauts begin to want to “return to normal” as they near the end of the planned flight. “As it’s coming up to eight or nine days, you say, ‘It’ll be kind of nice to get back. I sort of miss hearing the breeze in the trees and the butterflies in the fields and the bubble of the streams and watching the flowers grow’” [7]. This is an interesting comment in light of the longer-duration flights astronauts have been making to the International Space Station, and current discussions of missions to Mars. Recently, a private company called Mars One announced plans to send people on a one-way trip to the Red Planet, and 200,000 people responded. For them, there will be no “getting back to normal” in the sense of returning to Earth. This will be a completely new kind of spaceflight experience. This will be space settlement.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Beginning and end are somewhat arbitrary concepts in referring to all spaceflights that have been made to date. Anticipation of the experience shapes people’s lives and careers, and the memory of it acts as a time-release capsule, emitting feelings, insights, thoughts, and ideas over the years after it has occurred. The experience first takes on a reality with the selection of the astronaut to join the exclusive group of men and women dedicated to space exploration and development. From then on, they are separated from others and treated as special people, regardless of how they might feel about themselves. American astronauts have long trained at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, a community of several thousand people dedicated to the space program and true believers in the benefits it can bring to humanity. Launches have taken place at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida, known as America’s Spaceport and also run by people who are extremely enthusiastic about the space program. Russian cosmonauts train at Star City, another separate community committed to space exploration. These feelings are magnified for the astronauts by the long training periods and the sense that each mission is extremely important. As Ed Gibson, a Skylab astronaut, explained, “You have to remember that we were in line for a mission for eight years; it’s like a double doctoral degree” [8]. Space shuttle astronaut Don Lind, who waited some 18 years for his flight, said that he didn’t mind it because he truly enjoyed what he was doing in supporting other missions, and he had “a front row seat for history” [9]. Everyone in the government space programs is constantly immersed in the broader experience. The astronauts and support personnel are continually planning new missions, providing backup for existing missions, or analyzing results of past missions. Even with the demise of the space shuttle program, American astronauts are still being sent to the International Space Station. Unlike other professions, in which many people can participate, there are still few space travelers. Astronauts compete for their positions against thousands of other candidates, which adds to the expectation of a positive experience and ensures a high level of motivation. All of that, in turn, is reinforced by the training environment. In most cases, only after years of expectation and months of training does the astronaut get into space. As the space shuttle program evolved, the training situation changed with the category of payload specialists, who were allowed to fly for a variety of reasons. For example, a country or company that paid NASA to launch its payload had the option of assigning a specialist to the flight. McDonnell Douglas sent Charles Walker on three flights to conduct electrophoresis experiments. Canada’s Marc Garneau also flew as a payload specialist, as did Garn. Payload specialists, who often fly with only a few months of training, have had a different mindset from that of other astronauts. Their attitudes are

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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probably much closer to those of people who will be space settlers of the future than to those of the career participants. The Soviet space program also included noncareer space travelers from other countries who flew as Intercosmos Soyuz cosmonaut researchers. More recently, several wealthy individuals have paid the Russian space agency to take them to the ISS for a week. They are the harbingers of the “space tourists” flying on Virgin Galactic and other commercial carriers. PUBLIC/PRIVATE BOUNDARY

Being in space is relatively private while it occurs, but it becomes intensely public on returning to Earth. If you were special before you went into space, you are more special on your return, because you are one of the few people who can answer the question, “What was it like?” You have experienced something available to a tiny fraction of the human population, something mysterious and hinting of the future. Because the astronaut is a public figure, he or she has to process the experience by constantly talking about it with other people. Marc Garneau said that it was much easier for him to cope with being in space than adjusting to being a public figure with the new expectations thrust on him by that role. Charles Walker, in discussing the impact of multiple flights, pointed out that between missions he was interpreting each flight on speaking tours. As a result, he said, his understanding of the experience changed every time he described it. Alan Bean, a former Apollo and Skylab astronaut who is a professional artist, said that what people want to know about spaceflight and what occupies astronauts’ minds on a mission can be quite different. Bean explained: As an astronaut, you think about all these experiences in a different way when you’re doing them than people are interested in hearing about when you get back.. With each experiment, for example, you have to know how to get it out of its box or how to get the foil off and then how to set it down and how to align it so that it has the right direction.. When you come back, people want you to talk about it in a completely different way. You begin to think about [it] only when people ask you. You were really refining other skills. [10]

On short missions, astronauts have an overwhelming number of tasks to complete. Companies have put millions of dollars into their payloads, and scientists have often devoted their professional careers to the experiments onboard. Astronauts feel a tremendous responsibility to perform well, and

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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they have little free time to reflect on their experience or to control their time while the flight is under way. Payload specialist Loren Acton was so concerned about doing a good job on his space shuttle mission that he concentrated primarily on the work and later felt that he might have missed something during his flight [11]. Those who have flown on long-duration missions to Skylab, Mir, or the ISS display a more reflective, philosophical tone in their reports. However, they, too, are given many tasks to complete in a less than ideal environment. For example, the reports from Mir missions voice deep concerns about getting along with fellow crew members, avoiding boredom, and coping with cramped living quarters. CULTURAL ROLES AND EXPECTATIONS

Cultural roles and expectations have an additional effect on astronauts and cosmonauts. Societies need heroes who are specially selected to undergo hardship and danger on the frontiers of civilization. Outer space is today’s frontier, and the astronauts have become today’s heroes, people who have extraordinary experiences unknown to others in society, facing challenges that require uncommon courage. This attitude began early in the American space program. A Life magazine editorial, “A Hero’s Words to Cherish,” quoted some of the words John Glenn spoke after he became the first American to orbit the Earth. Someone even composed a popular song about Glenn’s “epic ride” [12]. The apparently routine nature of space shuttle launches lulled American society into complacency until the Challenger disaster in 1986. The word hero was then used frequently to describe members of the crew. Charles Walker wrote in National Space Society Magazine that a new mythology of heroes was being born from that disaster. The astronauts fit into the mythical subconscious archetypes of the gods and heroes of old, flying beings who perform feats of daring no one else is able or willing to do. This pattern then repeated itself. Shuttle launches again seemed routine until the Discovery and its crew were lost in 2003. We realized once again that spaceflight is inherently dangerous. Today’s astronauts may want to ignore the hero role, but for millions of people, it is vitally important that they be heroic, because their heroism says something about what it means to be human. NASA actively discourages the image, and the astronauts may refuse to accept it, but that only increases the cultural pressure to create it. Astronauts sometimes allude to this issue when they express how difficult it is for them to talk about the actual spaceflight experience when they know what the audience wants to hear.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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They undoubtedly tailor their words to the listeners’ needs to some extent. This means that the experience, as it is understood by the culture, is created as much by our expectations as by what actually takes place. Alan Bean’s view is that people want more from the experience than may be there. “I have to admit that if I ran into somebody who had climbed the Matterhorn, I would probably say, ‘What is it like?’ The answer might reasonably be, ‘It is just like climbing all the other difficult mountains I’ve ever climbed’” [13]. THE CORE EXPERIENCE The space frontier is relatively close in distance and time. Most space shuttle orbits were 100–200 miles above the surface of the Earth, and it only took 8 1/2 minutes to reach low Earth orbit on the Shuttle. For most of us, outer space is closer than our favorite vacation spot. What makes it seem so far away has been the cost of getting there—about $250 million for each Shuttle launch. The cost is so high at least partially because we live at the bottom of a deep “gravity well” from which it is difficult to escape with current technologies [14]. The cost is also higher because of the heritage of the space effort as a government program with little incentive to reduce expenses. Psychologically, even low Earth orbit seems far away, but that will change as less expensive launch technologies are developed. Even then, being on the frontier will have the power to change a person’s fundamental reality in ways that are not now possible on the surface of the Earth. The four main components to the core experience include changed perceptions of space, changed perceptions of time, silence, and weightlessness. PERCEPTIONS OF SPACE

The truth is that we are already in space. As astronaut Sandy Magnus notes, we know this intellectually, but the astronauts know it experientially [15]. The Earth is a natural spaceship orbiting the sun, which is itself hurtling around the galactic center, which is in turn rushing through the universe along with billions of other galaxies. Because of our location on the “ship,” we do not feel its motions directly. As a result, modern humanity experiences its place in the universe much as our ancestors did—the Earth appears to be stationary while everything in the heavens wheels around us. The big change for the astronauts is that their physical and mental realities are brought into alignment when they go into space; they have a direct experience of the Overview Effect. As Jeff Hoffman has said, “You see the sun as a star.” [16].

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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And former Senator Garn said, “You just want to look all the time, because it finally tells you that this Earth really is round and it really is traveling through space. You’ve seen it for yourself” [17]. One common theme in astronauts’ descriptions of changes in spatial perceptions is seeing the Earth from orbit and being emotionally unprepared for the experience. Don Lind’s comments are typical: “I have probably looked at as many pictures from space as anybody . so I knew exactly what [I] was going to see. There was no intellectual preparation I hadn’t made. But there is no way that you can be prepared for the emotional impact.. It was a moving enough experience that it brought tears to my eyes” [18]. Prince Sultan Bin Salman al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, who flew on the space shuttle as a payload specialist, echoed Lind’s words: “I think the minute I saw the view for the first time was really one of the most memorable moments of my entire life. I just said, in Arabic, ‘Oh, God,’ or something like ‘God is great.’ It’s beyond description” [19]. In the words of Nicole Stott, “‘Indescribable’ is a word that is used a lot, but I think it’s accurate. You look out the window and pictures just don’t do justice to what you see. It is a dynamic, crystal-clear view that just glows, and that doesn’t come across in the pictures and videos” [20]. PERCEPTIONS OF TIME

Our experience of time results from living on a planetary surface. A day is the time it takes the Earth to rotate on its axis. A year is the time it takes for the Earth to revolve around the sun. A day could just as easily be called a “rote” for rotation and a year a “rev” for revolution, in which case we might remember their origins. Instead, time has come to be an absolute: seconds, minutes, hours, days, and years are abstractions measured by clocks and unrelated to the planets to which they owe their existence. The abstraction changes for astronauts, who are no longer on, but outside of, the planetary body that is the source of these units of time. In orbit, an astronaut experiences a sunrise and sunset every 90 minutes by a clock set to Earth time. Language changes as space travelers begin to measure time in terms of “orbits.” Space shuttle astronaut Jeff Hoffman commented, “I quickly stopped carrying any ground clock in my mind. It became irrelevant.. Everything went by our orbit clock, Mission Elapsed Time, because all our activities were scheduled in its terms. For my internal planning activities, I tended to use the orbit as the basic unit of time” [21]. Time seems to speed up in orbit, but the farther away one gets from Earth, the more it appears to slow down. On the moon, according to Apollo

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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astronaut Gene Cernan, “I was watching time go by on Earth, but time as we understand it did not really affect us on the moon” [22].

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SILENCE

Sound results from the ear detecting vibrations in the air. Because space is a vacuum, the only sounds that space travelers hear are those that they or the ship make, and during an EVA, even those noises are sharply reduced. The quiet, coupled with weightlessness, undoubtedly accounts to some extent for the “dreamlike” quality Marc Garneau described. Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter said: The first thing that impressed me when I got into orbit was the absolute silence. One reason for this, I suppose, was that the noisy booster had just separated and fallen away.. But it was also a result, I think, of the sensation of floating that I experienced as soon as I became weightless. [23]

On EVAs, the silence intensifies. Soviet cosmonaut Valentin Lebedev, describing a space walk outside his Salyut space station, wrote, “All around there is perfect silence, no sense of the speed of the flight. No wind whistles in your ears, nothing weighs on you. The panorama is calm, majestic” [24]. And Sandy Magnus really noticed the silence of orbit when she returned to Earth. “I remember after my first mission, my parents were taking me out to eat in Cocoa Beach, and they were driving me to the restaurant. I looked around and said to myself, ‘Wow, it’s really crowded and noisy down here’” [25]. WEIGHTLESSNESS

Human beings take “weight” for granted because we experience it constantly. For our bodies to feel weight, they must be in proximity to another body, such as a planet. Even then, weight is relative. The moon, because it is smaller than Earth, provides one-sixth as much gravity, and Mars about one-third. On Jupiter or Saturn, a human would feel that he or she weighed tons. Because of this relativity, 1 g has become a standard, referring to a weight equal to that experienced on Earth, and 0 g its opposite, referring to an absence of the experience of weight. According to Sandy Magnus, you really cannot understand the reality of 1 g without experiencing that opposite reality: “All of us understand what gravity is, but I would argue strongly that you have no idea what gravity is until you have left it, come back, and experienced that horrible force trying to push you into the ground. It is a completely different kind of knowledge” [26].

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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As many as half of all astronauts experience a kind of space sickness known as space adaptation syndrome. The cause is unknown, but moving around in 0 g and a resulting disorientation is probably a primary contributor. There is a pleasant, even euphoric reaction to weightlessness when it is under control. According to John Glenn, for example, I found weightlessness to be extremely pleasant. I must say it is convenient for a space pilot.. The fact that this strange phenomenon seemed so natural at the time indicates how rapidly man can adapt to a new environment. I am sure that I could have gone for a much longer period in a weightless condition without being bothered by it at all. You feel completely free. The state is so pleasant, as a matter of fact, that we joked that a person could probably become addicted to it without any trouble. I know that I could. [27]

Jeff Hoffman has also described it as an addictive experience [28], and as payload specialist Byron Lichtenberg put it, “It was just amazing to go wherever you wanted. You could fly up in the corner, you could hang upside down. There was no ‘up’ or ‘down’ anymore” [29]. Being weightless is the human opportunity to fly, to feel like a bird. Up and down mean nothing at all in space, further contributing to the sense of living in a fundamentally different medium. This experience is magnified when astronauts leave the spacecraft or space station and go on an EVA. John Herrington found that he was quite aware of the difficulty of determining what was “up” and what was “down” on one of his excursions: Once, I was crawling out of the airlock to this truss, using a handrail. I was looking at my hands as I was moving along, looking up relative to the space station, and then instantaneously, I was looking down at the space station, and I hadn’t moved. My mind was suddenly telling me I was looking down rather than up, and that was strange. Astronauts will tell you that this happens coming out of the airlock. You feel you are coming up and out of the space station rather than down and below it, and the reality is that you are down and below relative to the Earth. [30] SUMMARIZING THE TOTAL EXPERIENCE

Seeing the Earth from space and in space while experiencing weightlessness and silence: these key elements of the Overview Effect demonstrate why simulating the experience on the surface is incredibly difficult. Visually, the astronaut is receiving a much greater flood of information than he or she has had to process in the past. Kinetically and

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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aurally, however, stimuli are removed. We can view pictures or films taken by astronauts from orbit or the moon, and we can add 3-D or Imax to enhance the sense of actually “being there.” We can also have brief moments of weightlessness on an airplane flying parabolic flights, as the Zero-G Corporation offers to its customers. People have also been experimenting with flotation tanks and sensory deprivation for many years now. The challenge is to integrate all the elements of the Overview Effect experience without actually leaving the surface. The results would be worth the challenge, however. RETURNING

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EARTH

Most space travelers flourish in the new medium. They enjoy themselves and often regret having to come home. Having been out of the “womb,” they feel that returning is a constriction of possibilities. And they wish others could also have the experience. In Gene Cernan’s words, “You can’t return home without feeling that difference.. You wonder, if only everyone could relate to the beauty and the purposefulness of it, the reality of the infinity of time and space, how our star moves through time and space with such logic and purpose” [31]. Being in orbit or on the moon is an intense, human experience. Analysis can capture the essential features of the spaceflight but cannot do it justice. Most astronauts see it as the culmination of their goals, a feeling reinforced by a community of fellow astronauts and supportive space program workers. There is an intense psychological buildup to liftoff, punctuated by a note of fear, followed by a feeling of incredible power as the rockets fire, and then the sense of moving into a whole new world where one’s perceptions of the universe itself are transformed. Charles Walker said, “Space is a place, but it is also an all-encompassing experience” [32]. The apparent ease with which human beings adapt to such an alien environment, and then sometimes regret returning to Earth, suggests several possibilities: †





The feeling of letdown on returning to Earth mirrors how humans feel after any “peak experience,” whether it is getting married, running a marathon, climbing a mountain, responding to a crisis of some kind, or graduating from college. Because we probably evolved from aquatic creatures of some kind, the weightless, silent environment of space reminds us of our former ocean home. Human adaptability to the space environment is a natural extension of the species’ ability to survive and thrive in any number of ecological niches on

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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FRANK WHITE

Earth. This point in eloquently made by Sandy Magnus when she says, “Humans are incredibly adaptable, and wherever we send people, they’ll be fine. We will adapt and we will thrive, because that’s what we do as a species” [33]. Human beings have an evolutionary predisposition to leave the Earth and evolve into the universe. It is part of our destiny and we not only adjust to it, but also enjoy it. This thesis is presented, for example, in the excellent Kindle book by Steven Wolfe, The Obligation [34].

The key, though, is that our first explorers of the nonterrestrial environment enjoy being there, and even find it “addictive.” This indicates that, as Jeff Hoffman suggests, when commercial spaceflight brings more people into that environment, more will want to go, and space exploration will make a transition into space development and settlement. IS IT A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE? The evidence suggests that without question, being in space is a physical experience quite different from any on Earth. It is also a mental experience filled with new stimuli and insights that can have enormous impact. But is it a spiritual experience? This question has generated significant debate and uncertainty. Early in the space program, reports began to circulate to the effect that, “All the astronauts have religious or spiritual experiences.” Even today, many people believe that all astronauts report that they have had profound experiences in space and that their lives are fundamentally changed. The reality is far more complex than that, and these differences will be brought out in greater detail in succeeding chapters. There are, however, a few key insights that can be offered here. First, I connected my own experience flying cross-country with spiritual practice, as my description of that moment in Chapter 1 points out. In a 2013 conversation with space philosopher and author Steve Wolfe, I put it this way: I thought people living in space settlements would always have an “overview” and they would intuitively know what the spiritual masters have been trying to explain to us. I immediately tied it to what spiritual teachers and philosophers have been saying, so in that sense it’s not necessarily new. It’s just that for the first time in history, large numbers of human beings will know it without having to be Zen practitioners or spiritual followers in some way. [35]

In this fashion, I related the Overview Effect experience to spirituality, but with a twist. I focused largely on the possibility that future space travelers White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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and space settlers would simply know certain truths without necessarily considering them to be spiritual. In ongoing dialogue with my colleagues at the Overview Institute, especially co-founder David Beaver, we have settled on the term cognitive shift to define the experience of most of the astronauts, largely because it is a value-neutral term that leaves open the possibility of someone describing the meaning of that shift as “religious” or “spiritual.” Astronaut Don Lind took an interest in this issue, discussed it with “just about everyone who went to the moon,” and said, “Obviously, the people who had a profound religious background before they left were impressed in those terms, and those who were too busy to be religious before they left were too busy to be religious when they came back. So I don’t think that sort of thing changed anybody” [36]. Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who has spent many years constructing a new conceptual framework for understanding his own space voyage, argues that although the experience is the same for all, its interpretation varies widely with the individual [37]. In the film Overview, Mitchell describes what happened to him on his return trip from the moon and goes on to talk about how he visited experts at a local university to see if they could come up with a term to explain the nature of the experience. He reports that he was told it was “savikalpa samadhi.” When they described that state to him, he responded that it sounded like what had happened to him. The Wikipedia entry about this term says that, “In this state, one lets go of the ego and becomes aware of Spirit beyond creation” [38]. It also cites the Overview film and notes that he compared his experience of seeing the Earth from space with this form of samadhi [39]. Mitchell has made it clear that he is more comfortable using scientific terms to explain his experience, and yet when he describes it, others consider it “spiritual.” One of the great challenges of the Overview Effect is that we have no choice but to use the terminology we have at hand, but it may be totally inadequate to the task. Many descriptions of the Overview Effect on the Internet cite Mitchell’s experience and use it to make the point that the experience is inherently spiritual. This presents a problem, because Mitchell’s experience appears to be more unique than general. In fact, I felt after interviewing him that something had happened that went beyond the simplest definitions of the Overview Effect, and I dubbed it the “Universal Insight.” If the Overview Effect allows us to see the unity and oneness of the planet, then the Universal Insight brings a similar understanding of the nature of the universe and our place in it. After further exploration of this distinction, I think the two are not fundamentally different, but one is an intensification of the other.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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The Universal Insight is an intensification of the Overview Effect that brings a similar understanding of the nature of the universe and our place in it. It tends to occur when astronauts look beyond the Earth and focus their attention on the universe in which our planet exists.

Don Lind’s observation that religious people tended to interpret their findings in religious terms seems to hold true. For example, in Andrew Chaikin’s excellent book, A Man on the Moon, one astronaut who went to the moon says that he felt God was guiding him and his colleague to specific rocks on the lunar surface [40]. Resolving this issue requires a precise definition of “spiritual,” and the culture’s interpretation may distort the nature of the core event. Still, both the halo and core elements offer parallel experiences typical of many different spiritual paths. However, the relationships are far more subtle than one might expect. Throughout history, people have been initiated into the mysteries of higher consciousness. The purpose of these efforts has always been an experience of inner transformation, and the parallels between the inner and outer journey have been striking. The emphasis on being selected for and living in a separate community distinct from the rest of the world, with long periods of training and discipline, for example, are quite similar in spiritual practices and in the astronaut community. In many disciplines, such as Zen Buddhism, the specific focus is on “the practice” rather than on the ultimate “experience,” which is also true, for many people, of spaceflight. The metaphor of “the mission” and “the journey” are powerful symbols both for practitioners and for astronauts. Many disciplines of spiritual growth use the metaphor of the “path” to describe the process of awakening to enlightenment. The pilgrimage to a holy place, taking a physical trip to reinforce the spiritual one, is also a timehonored tradition in many cultures. In most spiritual practices, growth is attained through an expansion of one’s sense of identity. The initiate increasingly identifies with larger and larger systems beyond the individual self until he or she identifies with the Absolute, the universe, or God. That process is mirrored in the experiences characteristic of spaceflight, as Rusty Schweickart’s description of his own shift in identity clearly shows. The willingness of astronauts to fulfill the societal need for heroes, risking their lives for the sake of humanity as a whole, is a self-sacrificing element characteristic of a spiritual person’s place in society. In addition to the halo experience perhaps being unconsciously

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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AN OVERVIEW

OF THE

SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE

25

spiritual in its structure, the core element includes many factors that are consciously sought in producing breakthroughs in consciousness. Intense physical work followed by periods of meditation and contemplation, sometimes of a holy image, are typical of monastic communities and others devoted to spiritual development, and this pattern is followed closely in space exploration. Confronting one’s own death, followed by rebirth, is a central theme in many schools of growth and development. In spaceflight, the experience of one’s fears at liftoff, followed by the transition into a wholly different world in orbit, mirrors the death/rebirth cycle. Finally, the weightlessness and silence of space contribute to sensory deprivation, conditions that are cultivated in isolation tanks and other efforts to achieve shifts in awareness. There certainly have been breakthrough experiences akin to “enlightenment” on space missions. However, this does not make spaceflight a spiritual experience per se. Just as some people can go to church and feel nothing whereas others are enraptured just by looking at a flower, there are those who have had profound experiences in outer space and those for whom it was simply a job well done. Edgar Mitchell avoids the word spiritual and discusses, instead, expansions in consciousness and belief systems. He said that being open to the new information provided by the experience is the key: “To me, the difference between getting and not getting an ‘aha’ experience out of it is whether it shifts your structure a bit. Do you get a sense of freedom, of expansiveness, because you’ve just experienced something that is different from your previous experiences and beliefs?” [41]. Going into space has not been a religious experience like that felt by Paul on the road to Damascus. He was directly contacted by Jesus, who confronted him, and changed his life from that of a persecutor of Christians to one of the faith’s greatest evangelists. Still, it is probably accurate to say that spaceflight is a spiritual experience for some and not for others, and that it is a modern metaphor for a journey to higher awareness. Space exploration has perhaps always been a central project for humanity without our fully understanding it. As such, it is a holistic experience, encompassing physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of human existence. Also, as in the construction of Gothic cathedrals, the opportunity for personal growth and transformation is available for everyone working on the project, not just the astronauts. For those who believe that the universe was created, they may see exploring the cosmos as leading to a better understanding of the creator. The experience has varied not only among individuals and societies, but also over time. The perceptions and feelings of today’s space travelers are different from those of the past, just as today’s breakthroughs will be the everyday realities of future civilizations. Spaceflight, like so many other elements of

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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life in a human system, evolves, and that process will continue as we learn more about how we can use it to change ourselves and our social systems. As this book is being revised, a major change looms: the advent of commercial spaceflight, in which so-called “New Astronauts” will be going on suborbital “hops,” and later into orbit and beyond. Although they will likely not have the training and preparation of the original astronauts, there will be many more people going, increasing the probability that some of them will have transcendent experiences that they will bring back to the surface and share with others. Moreover, as awareness of the Overview Effect increases, more and more people will be taking the trip specifically to have the experience. This is in stark contrast to the original astronauts, who were sent to carry out missions specified by their governments, not to have profound insights. A quantitative change in the number of human beings having exposure to the environment beyond the Earth is likely to lead to a qualitative change that we can, at this point, imagine, but not fully describe. When I asked Michael Lopez-Alegria, a former astronaut who is now president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, what would come of this new era of spaceflight, he said it would be difficult to predict, but he thought it would be for the good of the world [42].

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Chapter 4

EARLY ORBITAL MISSIONS AND HINTS OVERVIEW EFFECT

OF THE

SCHIRRA: It’s kind of hard to describe all this, isn’t it, John? GLENN: Yeah, it sure is, Wally. You can’t describe it. —Mercury astronauts Wally Schirra and John Glenn in Appointment on the Moon There was no intellectual preparation I hadn’t made. But there is no way you can be prepared for the emotional impact. —Shuttle astronaut Don L. Lind

The Overview Effect is a message to humanity about who we are, where we are in the universe, and where we are going. Efforts to communicate this message began with the earliest orbital missions. “What was it like?” and “What does it mean?” were the questions of the early 1960s, as they are today. The sight of the Earth elicited the most consistent comments, and this remains the heart of the experience of the Overview Effect. The first person to enter the region beyond the Earth’s atmosphere was Yuri Gagarin, who clearly answered the question as to whether it was an extraordinary emotional experience. He later wrote of his flight, “Trembling with excitement, I watched a world so new and unknown to me, trying to see and remember everything.” Gagarin also compared the experience to flying: “The Earth through the window of the spacecraft looked approximately as it does from a jet plane at high altitudes. The mountain ridges, the great rivers, massive forests, ocean shorelines stood out sharply. I could see both clouds and their faint shadows on the surface of the Earth” [1]. Soon after Gagarin’s mission, Alan Shepard became the first American in orbit. Shepard’s flight lasted only 15 minutes, but it was long enough for him to be impressed. It was now time to go to the periscope. I had been well briefed on what to expect, and one of the last things I had done . before suiting up was to study . some special maps which showed me the view I would get. I had some idea of the huge variety of color and land masses and cloud 27

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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cover which I would see from 100 miles up. But no one could be briefed well enough to be completely prepared for the astonishing view that I got. My exclamation back to Deke [Donald K. Slayton] about the “beautiful sight” was completely spontaneous. It was breathtaking. [2]

Shepard’s comment on not being prepared for the view is typical of later reports comparing intellectual expectations to the actual sight of the Earth from orbit. The two Americans who flew suborbital missions, Shepard and Virgil I. (“Gus”) Grissom, had time only to be “stunned” and “fascinated” by the view before they returned to Earth. It was left to John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, to begin describing the planet in detail: I could see hundreds of miles in every direction—the sun on white clouds, patches of blue water beneath and great chunks of Florida and the southeastern U.S.. While I was reporting in by radio to the Canary Island tracking station, I had my first glimpse of the coast of Africa. The Atlas Mountains were clearly visible through the window. Inland, I could see huge storms from brush fires raging along the edge of the desert. [3]

Glenn was also impressed by the beauty of the sunsets: The sun is perfectly round and it gives off an intense, clear light which is more bluish-white than yellow.. Then, just as the sun starts to sink into the bright horizon, it seems to flatten out a little. As the sun gets lower and lower, a black shadow moves across the earth until the entire surface that you can see is dark except for the bright band of light along the horizon.. It is a fabulous display. [4]

All seven original American astronauts were test pilots, a breed not given to displaying excitement during a flight. Space shuttle astronaut Jeff Hoffman pointed out that this attitude is reinforced by a tradition that radio time in flight is a precious commodity, not to be wasted in idle chatter. Because many who followed the Mercury astronauts were also pilots, this may account for the sometimes low-key descriptions of the earlier flights. Looking back at what the astronauts wrote and said about spaceflight, however, there is little doubt that many were deeply moved by what they saw and felt. A few stand out from the others in expressing the depth of those feelings. Among the early American astronauts, Scott Carpenter is unique. Calling his Mercury mission “the supreme experience of my life,” Carpenter mixed descriptions of the view from orbit with discussions of his emotions. He

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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noted that on the first orbit he concentrated on the control systems and did not really look around. When I finally did, the sight was overwhelming. There were cloud formations that any painter could be proud of—rosettes or clustered circles of fair-weather cumulus down below.. I could look off for perhaps a thousand miles in any direction, and everywhere I looked the window and the periscope were constantly filled with beauty.. I found it difficult to tear my eyes away and go on to something else. Everything is so new and so awe-inspiring that it is difficult to concentrate for very long on any one thing. Later on, when I knew that I was returning to some wonderful sight that I had seen before, I could hardly wait to get there. Using the special camera I carried, I took pictures as fast as I could, and as I raced towards night . I saw the beginnings of the most fantastically beautiful view I have ever had—my first sunset in space. [5]

Crossing the United States in the early morning light, Carpenter noted that he could see the ground “remarkably well” and “at every new sight, my elation was renewed, and I kept waiting again for the next one” [6]. Carpenter gave the space program managers a scare by using up too much of his fuel during the flight and landing 200 miles downrange from the recovery area. Unfortunately, Carpenter’s enthusiasm for his experience and his landing error have become intertwined over the years, with more attention being paid to the latter. After that, Walter Schirra decided it would be far better to fly a “textbook flight,” which he did. Although it was a technical triumph, it appears to have been a much less emotional and exciting experience. Gordon Cooper, on the final Mercury flight, created a stir when he reported incredible detail in his observations of Earth from an orbit of 101 miles. He said he could see houses in the Himalayan Mountains, Tibet, and the southwestern areas of the United States. He claimed to see smoke rising from the chimneys of individual houses in Tibet and the lakes near the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston [7]. Experts in optics suggested that Cooper’s claims were implausible and that he might be hallucinating. However, his reports were later found to be consistent with research work at a National Bureau of Standards laboratory in Colorado, suggesting that vision may suffer when closer to image-distorting turbulence in the lower atmosphere and therefore might well be improved in orbit [8]. Some of the impact of seeing the Earth from orbit may derive from its unexpected clarity, which may also be a component of the Overview Effect.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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SUMMARIZING

THE

EARLY FLIGHTS

During the period from 1961 to 1963, the Soviet space program followed a path of increasingly longer orbital flights, and the reports of their cosmonauts were not unlike those of the astronauts. Shortly after the end of the Mercury program, the two national efforts diverged. President Kennedy’s commitment to a moon mission truncated the Mercury series and pushed the United States ahead into Gemini and Apollo. The Soviets eventually abandoned their lunar efforts and made an ongoing commitment to long-duration orbital flights. As a result of these program changes, the social impact of spaceflight began to shift as well. However, even this brief review of the earlier suborbital and orbital flights suggests that the experience can have a major effect on one’s perceptions of life. Scott Carpenter commented, It was so thrilling and so overwhelming that I only wished I could get up the next morning and go through the whole thing all over again. I wanted to be weightless again, and see the sunrises and sunsets, and watch the stars drop through the luminous layer, and learn to master that machine a little better so I could stay up longer. There’s no doubt about it, space is a fabulous frontier, and we are going to solve some of its mysteries and bring back many of its riches in our lifetime. I would not miss that for anything. [9]

The idea that there are no boundaries on the planet except natural ones is not strongly pronounced in accounts of the early flights. Rather, there is an emphasis on the beauty of the Earth as seen from space and the excitement of the experience itself. There are, however, early linkages of the perspective from orbit with social issues on Earth. Life magazine’s report on John Glenn’s flight stated, “Glenn is obviously eager to revisit man’s ‘new ocean’.. But Glenn also professes ‘no better purpose in my life or my endeavor . than that we might have a little more peaceful cooperation in the world in this area’” [10]. Between April 1961 and May 1963, 10 human beings first saw the Earth from orbit (see Table 4.1). After millions of years of confinement to the surface of Earth, humanity had finally achieved a toehold in space. The idea that space exploration and planetary peace are linked became a much stronger theme, which continued beyond the early flights and goes on today. In announcing that he would stand for reelection to the Senate in 1986, Glenn reflected on the privilege of seeing the Earth from orbit and his continuing desire to bring peace and unity to the world [11]. We now know as well that President Kennedy saw this link and did his best to convince the Soviets that the Apollo program ought to become a joint

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Table 4.1

OVERVIEW EFFECT

31

Early Spaceflights

Flight

Date

Astronaut/Cosmonaut

Duration

Vostok 1 Freedom 7 Liberty Bell 7 Vostok 2 Friendship 7 Aurora 7 Vostok 3 Vostok 4 Sigma 7 Faith 7

4/12/61 5/5/61 7/21/61 8/6/61 2/20/62 5/24/62 8/11/62 8/12/62 10/3/62 5/15/63

Yuri Gagarin Alan Shepard Virgil (“Gus”) Grissom Gherman Titov John Glenn Scott Carpenter Andrian Nikolayev Pavel Popovich Walter Schirra Gordon Cooper

1 hr 48 min 15 min 15 min 25 hr 18 min 4 hr 55 min 4 hr 56 min 94 hr 22 min 60 hr 57 min 9 hr 13 min 34 hr 19 min

Total flights Z 10, hours in space Z 236.30, days in space Z 9.84. Source: Furniss, T., Space Flight: The Records, Guinness Books, Enfield, UK, 1985.

U.S./Soviet mission to the moon. This is a topic I have covered at length in my book, The New Camelot [12]. For that reason, I will not go into it in great detail here. However, recent research has shown us that President Kennedy saw cooperation with the Soviet Union in space as a way to unwind the Cold War on Earth. Almost from the beginning of his presidency, Kennedy repeatedly reached out to the Soviet leaders, proposing that the two superpowers work together, rather than competing on the space frontier. As he made progress in private, he began to describe the U.S. space program in a different way publicly. Speaking before the United Nations on September 20, 1963, about 2 months before his death, he made a remarkable proposal: Finally, in a field where the United States and the Soviet Union have a special capacity. there is room for new cooperation, for further joint efforts in the regulation and exploration of space. I include among these possibilities a joint expedition to the moon. Why. should man’s first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition? Why should the United States and the Soviet Union, in preparing for such expeditions, become involved in immense duplications of research, construction, and expenditure? Surely we should explore whether the scientists and astronauts of our two countries—indeed of all the world—cannot work together in the conquest of space, sending someday in this decade to the moon not the representatives of a single nation, but the representatives of all of our countries. [13]

The speech might be dismissed as rhetoric, but the president backed it up with action. In a memo dated November 12, 1963, he made his plans clear to White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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NASA administrator James Webb: “I would like you to assume personally the initiative and central responsibility within the Government of a program of substantive cooperation with the Soviet Union the field of outer space, including the development of specific technical proposals” [14]. We will never know what might have happened if President Kennedy had lived, but we can say with confidence that the outcome would have been quite different from what actually transpired after his death. We can also say with equal confidence that he saw the connection between the Overview Effect and events on Earth as clearly as did some of the early astronauts.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Chapter 5

LATER ORBITAL AND LUNAR MISSIONS: THE OVERVIEW EFFECT AND OTHER CHANGES IN PERCEPTION Being in Earth orbit vs going out beyond must be separated. Philosophically, we have really had two different space programs. —Gemini and Apollo astronaut Eugene A. Cernan [Going to the moon] gets you closer to a more universal experience because of the distance and wider view. You identify more with the universe as it is instead of the Earth as it is. —Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell

As the United States completed the Mercury program in 1963, the two spacefaring powers of that time were drawing even in their space race, even as President Kennedy attempted to reshape the competition into a collaboration. By the end of 1963, the Soviets had registered a series of impressive firsts: the first man in space, the first person to spend a full day in orbit, the first orbit of two spacecraft at the same time, and the first woman in space. However, President Kennedy had transformed the American space program by providing it with a sense of vision and purpose, essential elements in driving a human system forward. In announcing the Apollo project, Kennedy gave the American initiative a clear-cut goal: to land a man on the moon and return him safely by the end of the decade. The Gemini program, which followed Mercury and preceded Apollo, began in mid-1963 and became the laboratory where many of the essential elements of the Apollo effort were tried out in Earth orbit. After the highly successful Apollo moon landings, the Skylab space station program briefly paced the Soviet efforts to perfect long-duration Earth orbit missions, moving toward the establishment of a permanent human presence in space. These later orbital and lunar missions added three important components to the conditions that astronauts and cosmonauts faced in outer space: extravehicular activity (EVA), allowing the space traveler to experience the nonterrestrial environment more directly than in a spaceship or on a space station; longer missions, allowing for time to reflect on what was being seen; and missions beyond the Earth’s orbit, which allowed the entire Earth to be 33

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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seen for the first time. These elements encouraged not only the experience of the Overview Effect, but also deeper experiences, which I have called the Copernican Perspective and the Universal Insight.

The Copernican Perspective is the realization that the Earth is not only a whole system (of which human beings are a part), but also a part of the solar system. This perspective recognizes that Copernicus was right: the sun, not the Earth, is the center of the system.

Rusty Schweickart said that the EVA, in particular, allows the astronaut to see the universe with “no frames and no boundaries,” not even a spaceship window. For Earth dwellers who cannot conceive of flying in a spacecraft, the importance of this new distinction may be obscure, but most astronauts who made EVAs confirmed that it is a completely different experience. LONGER MISSIONS AND SEEING THE WHOLE EARTH In the early missions, the astronauts were kept busy and came back to Earth after a few orbits. As Gemini and Apollo astronaut Michael Collins described it, being in Earth orbit is a bit like riding a roller coaster because sensations and experiences come and go very quickly. Longer missions in orbit and trips to the moon and back allow space travelers more time to take in and process the information their senses are sending to them. This can lead to experiences quite different from those that take place on a suborbital hop or short orbital mission. For all the impact of seeing the planet from a 100- to 200-mile orbital distance, astronauts at that level do not see the whole Earth, but rather large sections of its surface. Not until 1968, when Apollo 8 went to the moon, were astronauts (and those of us at home) able to view the whole Earth. Eugene Cernan explained: Without question, when you are in Earth orbit, you get a new perspective, but you don’t have time to get philosophical about it.. When you leave Earth orbit, all those coastlines and rivers you see in orbit become oceans and continents. You can see from pole to pole and ocean to ocean without even turning your head. [1]

Lunar missions are unique in the history of space exploration because they include every important element of the spaceflight experience. Astronauts going to the moon orbit the Earth, leave low Earth orbit, see the whole Earth, White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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and have longer missions. Some even conduct an EVA on a “planet” other than Earth.

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LATER ORBITAL MISSIONS

AND THE

OVERVIEW EFFECT

Russell L. (“Rusty”) Schweickart, selected in 1963 in the third group of American astronauts, had not flown in space prior to Apollo 9. His commentary, which introduces Chapter 3, illustrates a fundamental change in astronaut awareness that begins with later orbital and lunar missions. In particular, he saw that the divisions among nations, the “parts” of which we are so aware on the surface of the Earth, disappear and become unimportant from orbit because the astronaut now sees the whole. He also realized that these insights change the viewer’s sense of his or her identity. Schweickart’s experience was special in another way because of his active efforts to communicate it to the public and through the Association of Space Explorers. When I interviewed him, I asked what happened when he told others about his experience. Did they change as well? His answer was that they do. “In some cases, nothing is transmitted at all. Often, it is so profound and immediate that it scares me” [2]. My personal response to Schweickart’s work over the years has also been instructive. In mid-1985, I was writing a paper on the Overview Effect for a conference at the Space Studies Institute (SSI) in Princeton, New Jersey. As I entered Schweickart’s words about being “the sensing element of humanity” into the word processor, I suddenly knew what he meant. It was an “aha” experience for me. I saw humanity as an organism and grasped the reality of his experience as the “eye.” I felt that, in writing it down, I was like a neuron firing, sending the message down to others. It had taken 16 years for the message to get from the universe to Schweickart to me. I realized that although it may take even more time in the future, a message is indeed being transmitted. The number of astronauts who have deep experiences may not be as important as how well they communicate them to others. That is why the Overview Effect must be seen from a sociological (group) as well as a psychological (individual) perspective. Over the years, as I have given more public talks about the Overview Effect through the auspices of the Overview Institute and other organizations, I have increasingly described it as “a message from the universe to humanity about who we are, where we are, and where we are going as a species.” This characterization seems to resonate with most people. From a psychological viewpoint, it is important to know how many astronauts had profound experiences and what they were. From a sociological perspective, the primary issue is how they interpret the experiences and transmit the message to the rest of us. One articulate

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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astronaut using today’s highly evolved communications systems can accomplish that task almost alone. At the same time, as my colleague David Beaver and I have discussed, all of the astronaut experiences do not have to be “profound” to be meaningful. If, as we believe, all of them have had a shift in worldview, that is extremely significant. LUNAR MISSIONS

AND THE

OVERVIEW EFFECT

Twenty-four astronauts went to the moon. They either landed there, orbited the moon, or flew by it and returned to Earth. Of those, 12 walked on the lunar surface [3]. The astronauts make up an infinitesimal percentage of the planet’s population. The lunar astronauts constitute one of the most exclusive minorities in the world, and the “moon walkers” are an elite within an elite. Not surprisingly, it also appears that the Apollo astronauts have had some of the most impressive experiences in space. The astronaut in orbit has a new and different relationship with the Earth, but the planet is still the primary point of reference in the universe as a whole. By contrast, the lunar astronaut sees the Earth grow smaller each day of the voyage and enters the gravitational field of another planetary body. For a brief period of time, instead of relating primarily to the natural system of Earth, along with several billion other humans, the tiny human system known as the Apollo crew relates more directly to the moon. As Schweickart described it, the lunar astronauts see the Earth very differently from those who go into Earth orbit. And a little later on, your friend . goes out to the moon. Now he looks back and he sees the Earth not as something big, where he can see the beautiful details, but . as a small thing.. The contrast between that bright blue and white Christmas tree ornament and the black sky, that infinite universe, really comes through. [4]

The orbital astronaut sees the Earth as huge, whereas the lunar astronaut sees the Earth as small and feels the awesome grandeur of the entire universe. This brings home the meaning of Gene Cernan’s view that there are two different space programs, one in Earth orbit and the other beyond. Both programs change the astronaut’s perception of the Earth and of his or her own identity, but in quite different ways. Schweickart said, The Earth is so small and so fragile and such a precious little spot in that universe that you can block it out with your thumb, and you realize on that small spot, that little blue and white thing, is everything that means

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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anything to you—all of history and music and poetry and art and death and birth and love, tears, joy, games, all of it on that little spot out there that you can cover with your thumb. And you realize from that perspective that you’ve changed, that there’s something new there, that the relationship is no longer what it was. [5]

Gene Cernan used similar language: “You . say to yourself, ‘That’s humanity, love, feeling, and thought.’ You don’t see the barriers of color and religion and politics that divide this world. You wonder, if you could get everyone in the world up there, wouldn’t they have a different feeling?” [6]. Michael Collins, who orbited the moon while Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. (“Buzz”) Aldrin Jr. were the first humans to walk on it, also wrote about the experience of being “100,000 miles out, to look out four windows and find nothing but black infinity, to finally locate the blue and white golf ball in the fifth window, to know how fortunate we are to return to it” [7]. Seeing the Earth from the moon intensifies the awareness initially engendered in orbit that there are no real boundaries between us on Earth. Collins described this, writing: I think the view from 100,000 miles could be invaluable in getting people together to work out joint solutions, by causing them to realize that the planet we share unites us in a way far more basic and far more important than differences in skin color or religion or economic system. The pity of it is that so far the view from 100,000 miles has been the exclusive property of a handful of test pilots, rather than the world leaders who need this new perspective, or the poets who might communicate it to them. [8]

Collins realized that having a few people see the planet from 100,000 miles away is only the beginning of the experience for the society. In our interview, Collins elaborated on this last point by saying that the best crew for an Apollo mission would be a “philosopher, a priest, and a poet.” Then he added, “Unfortunately, they would kill themselves trying to fly the spacecraft” [9]. Overall, there is something incredibly powerful about going to the moon. Gene Cernan said, for example, When I was the last man to walk on the moon in December 1972, I stood in the blue darkness and looked in awe at the earth from the lunar surface. What I saw was almost too beautiful to grasp. There was too much logic, too much purpose—it was just too beautiful to have happened by accident. It doesn’t matter how you choose to worship God.. He has to exist to have created what I was privileged to see. [10]

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Thus, the lunar astronaut, in seeing so much more of the solar system and the universe than the orbital astronaut, begins to sense that an underlying purpose may lie behind it all. Like Cernan, he may see the hand of God, or some higher power, at work. However, seeing a purpose in the structure of the universe does not necessarily imply a divine presence. It could simply mean, as I have suggested in the Cosma Hypothesis (see Chapter 10), that it “all fits together,” has a reason for existing, and is evolving to a higher level of order [11]. Apollo astronaut Jim Irwin and others have suggested that it is the contrast between the Earth and the moon that jolts astronauts into a different awareness. The Earth is a water planet, beautiful, full of life, and hospitable to life, whereas the moon seems hostile and dead (though we have found since then that this is a limited, and not totally accurate, perception because there seems to be water on the moon). As we have noted earlier, one of the most unique lunar mission experiences belongs to Edgar Mitchell, who flew on the Apollo 14 mission and was the sixth man on the moon. Just as Russell Schweickart’s experience is a model for the Overview Effect, Mitchell’s is a great example of the Universal Insight. Significantly, the experience occurred while Mitchell was gazing at the Earth. According to an article in Omni magazine, On the way back from the moon, while contemplating the Earth, Mitchell had a “peak experience or a religious experience, depending on what word you want to use.” It was an “explosion of awareness, an aha! a wow!” It was, apparently, what a religious person would call a revelation. He came to realize that the universe is made up of spirit and matter but that they are not separate. The bridge is consciousness. God is something like a universal consciousness manifest in each individual, and the route to divine reality and to a more satisfying human, material reality is through the human consciousness. [12]

Cernan’s Apollo experience seemed to produce a confirmation of our traditional Judeo-Christian view of God, i.e., that of the Creator of an orderly and beautiful universe. Although Mitchell also had a revelation about God, his perception of the Divine is somewhat different. In our interview, Mitchell said that he could now articulate his understanding of the experience much better than when he was interviewed for the Omni article [13]. He explained that his breakthroughs came from being completely open to the initial experience and then spending 16 years interpreting it. He said he was attempting to develop a systematic structure for describing his experience with great precision. In terms of its eventual implications, Mitchell believed that space exploration would revolutionize our value systems:

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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It is one of the more powerful experiences that humans can have, and the technological event of breaking the bonds of Earth is far more important than the technology that went into it, because of this perspective . getting outside of Earth and seeing it from a different perspective, having this sort of explosive awareness that some of us had, this abiding concern and passion for the well-being of Earth . will have a direct impact on philosophy and value systems. It’s got to be investigated far more thoroughly. [14]

Schweickart’s experience was the foundation for the Association of Space Explorers. Edgar Mitchell founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences with the goal of an entirely new philosophical system based on his new perception. In this way, the impact of the frontier on a single astronaut is amplified and magnified throughout society and may affect the lives of millions. Gene Cernan perhaps summed up the lunar experience best when he said, “I can talk about it for a long time. It is one of the deepest, most emotional experiences I have ever had” [15]. Something significant happened to the astronauts who went to the moon, and to the nation (and planet) that sent them there. To some extent, neither the astronauts, nor the country, nor the planet has been quite the same since. The lunar missions were a transformational reaching outward by humanity, followed by a long period of equilibrium that continues even today. These missions were shaped by the politics of Earth at the time and produced unpredictable results that will profoundly affect the politics of the future. SKYLAB

AND THE

EARLY SALYUT MISSIONS

Once the so-called “space race” had ended, the Soviet Union turned away from the moon and began to establish its leadership in long-duration missions in low Earth orbit. For a brief time in the post-Apollo era, the United States followed the same path with the Skylab program. The Skylab program used off-the-shelf Apollo materials to build and staff a temporary space station. The nine Skylab astronauts, who manned the station in three different crews in 1973 and 1974, learned a great deal about the psychology and sociology of living on the frontier. Their extended stays in orbit, from 28- to 84-day durations, allowed them to experience the Overview Effect over time, with an opportunity to absorb and assimilate the experience. On such extended missions, the astronauts also learned how people living in orbit over long periods might relate to one another. Their experiences confirmed what their predecessors had found, but Apollo and Skylab really were different approaches to space exploration. Alan Bean, a veteran of both programs, reported that except for the first and the last few days, Skylab did not offer the astronaut the continuing

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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stimulation of the lunar mission. However, it did encourage a more contemplative approach to spaceflight. Many Skylab astronauts developed a strong interest in Earthgazing. For example, the Skylab 4 crew, Gerald Carr, Edward Gibson, and William Pogue, seemed to draw some of the same insights from the experience as Schweickart did. Toward the end of the mission, the astronauts made Earthgazing a daily ritual. As Gibson and his two crewmates sat looking at the Earth, they found that they were being drawn into a new frame of mind. Much of what they saw they already knew, but actually seeing it provided a crystal clarity. Gibson, for example, knew that the world didn’t have any boundary lines marked on it like a library globe, but he was nonetheless surprised when he saw from space that there were no dividing lines between people [16]. According to Gibson, the experience had a lasting effect on him. “In no way could we on Earth, or any group of people or any country, consider ourselves isolated; we are all in this together.” He reportedly felt that he could understand more clearly than those who had not been in outer space how this is “one world” [17]. Carr said that those who came back from the experience brought with them an increased interest in ecology because “they see how much snow and desert there is, and how hard it is for the people who live there.” As a result, one becomes more “humanitarian” [18]. The Skylab astronauts confirmed that being outside on an EVA was even more powerful than being inside the spacecraft. Jack Lousma, the pilot for the Skylab 3 mission, reported, It’s like a whole new world out there! Your perspective changes. When you’re inside looking out the window, the Earth’s impressive, but it’s like being inside a train; you can’t get your head around the flat pane of glass. But if you stand outdoors, it’s like being on the front end of a locomotive as it’s going down the track! [19]

Ed Gibson, who went on three EVAs, agreed when he said, “That is really the great outdoors. You feel as though you are a satellite yourself. You understand that it is you and the universe” [20]. Gerald Carr, who was out on EVA for a total of about 15 hours, talked about seeing the Earth against the backdrop of the whole universe. “I reared back and looked at Earth with no local frame of reference at all. It was a fine experience. I also looked at the comet Kohoutek and got a feeling for the infiniteness of the universe. There are billions of stars, many that you can’t see from the ground” [21]. Gibson described a serenity he gained from the experience: You see how diminutive your life and concerns are compared to other things in the universe. Your life and concerns are important to you, of course. But you can see that a lot of the things you worry about don’t

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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make much difference in an overall sense. The result is that you enjoy the life that is before you; you don’t sweat so much about the next milestone.. It allows you to have inner peace. [22]

THE MEANING

OF THE

EXPERIENCES

In retrospect, the race to the moon that captured so much attention seems far less significant than what happened to the moonracers themselves and to those involved with far less dramatic programs such as Skylab and Salyut. The potential range of experiences on the frontier appears to be greater than what was originally imagined. For some, there was certainly a sense of an overview, but for others, the results were more subtle and powerful. We can see, for example, the outlines of the Copernican Perspective, a realization of the Earth’s place within the solar system, and the Universal Insight, a realization of the Earth’s place in the universe, appearing in the commentaries of these astronauts. Astronauts who flew many years later continue to make similar reports. Many of these astronauts have come back to Earth and begun to pursue activities that not only carry the message, but also aim at changing human consciousness and social awareness. Knowing that their message has transformational impact, they want to share it. The Association of Space Explorers and Institute of Noetic Sciences are two institutions that would not have existed without the space program, even though there was very little in NASA’s planning to indicate that these would be typical spin-offs of space exploration. Years later, Ron Garan returned from his time on the International Space Station and began Fragile Oasis. This is a website dedicated to addressing the contradiction that Garan felt while looking at the serene, beautiful Earth from orbit while knowing that so many people on the surface had too little food, water, or health care to enjoy any significant quality of life [23]. Some astronauts apparently experienced no change in their lives or chose not to report on it; however, as space shuttle astronaut Charles Walker and lunar astronaut Edgar Mitchell have both pointed out, it may take months or even years to absorb and interpret what happened to them. For this reason, silence may not mean that there has been no shift in a space traveler’s personal awareness or that nothing will occur in the future. It has taken us more than 50 years to begin to understand the impact of space exploration on human beings and on society, and there is still a great deal that we do not know. We may never know all the societal effects, because it will not be possible to trace some of the subtler influences. However, every new bit of

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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information adds to the ability to shape human evolution through space exploration, thereby developing new, more effective human civilizations. One of the most intriguing questions is how space exploration will affect our ideas about, and experiences of, the Divine. In some traditions, “the heavens” and “Heaven” have been seen as much the same place, and also as the habitation of God. Humans never went there physically, unless they were translated directly, as in the case of Elijah, who ascended into the heavens in a fiery chariot. Now, humans are routinely going into that realm and are coming back with different reactions. Gene Cernan said the experience confirmed his view of a Creator; Edgar Mitchell felt he had a revelatory understanding of God’s nature that did not fit into the typical paradigms of the time. Jim Irwin said that he felt that the moon had a “spiritual quality,” felt that “God was near him,” and implied that He had shown the astronauts an important moon rock [24]. More research is needed to determine how this important question will resolve itself over time. In fact, that research is now under way at the University of Central Florida (UCF). An interdisciplinary team at UCF received a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to conduct a 2-year research project looking at “Space, Science, and Spirituality” [25]. This project should provide us with valuable new information on the spiritual aspects of space exploration and the Overview Effect.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Chapter 6

AFTER APOLLO: CONSOLIDATION OF

THE

EFFECT

You can’t see the boundaries over which we fight wars, and in a very real way, the inhabitants of this Earth are stuck on a very beautiful, lovely little planet in an incredibly hostile space, and everybody is in the same boat. —Space Shuttle astronaut Don L. Lind When you go above the planet, what you see is a system that is highly connected and interwoven. —Shuttle and ISS astronaut Sandy Magnus

After the last Apollo mission in 1972 and the Skylab missions in 1973, the American space program entered a quiet period. Except for the joint ApolloSoyuz flight in 1975, no manned American spacecraft left Earth from late 1973 until April 1981, when NASA launched the first space shuttle on the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight. Space activists look at this period and mourn the lost opportunities to push forward from the beachheads on the moon and in low Earth orbit. However, what happened was perfectly understandable, predictable, and potentially positive. As Gene Cernan pointed out, Apollo was not so much a triumph of technology as a triumph of the human spirit that helped us, perhaps ahead of our time, to reach the moon [1]. The United States was committed to the moon program as part of the New Frontier vision that included a war on poverty, a Peace Corps to aid the Third World, a defense of democracy all over the planet, and elimination of racial prejudice at home. It was an ambitious vision. However, by the end of 1963, President Kennedy, its architect, had been assassinated. By the end of 1968, when Apollo 8 took the first men to lunar orbit, the nation was in disarray. Martin Luther King, Jr., symbol of the nonviolent effort to achieve racial justice, had been killed, and Robert Kennedy, heir apparent to his brother’s vision, was also dead. The metaphor of the frontier seemed to die with the president who had embraced it. Still, the space community mounted an effort to build on the successes of Apollo and Skylab. A task force under Vice President Spiro Agnew produced a report not unlike a later publication by the National Commission on Space. 43

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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It envisioned a shuttle, a space station, a moon base, and exploration of Mars. However, the many problems of the Nixon administration diverted attention from the space program in the early 1970s, and the report never came close to implementation. The nation had reached beyond itself with Apollo, and as Don Lind pointed out, the success of the old space program represented one of the only counterweights to a general feeling of pessimism in the late 1960s and early 1970s when Americans didn’t think very much of themselves, but their pride in NASA boosted their self-esteem. The United States simply could not meet all the demands on its political, social, and economic systems to maintain the transforming direction that Apollo had charted for it. Landing on the moon was a goal that was part of a vision, but it never made sense as an end in itself. As a result, the program slipped back into equilibrium from 1972 to 1981, when the launching of the Space Shuttle Columbia represented the next leap ahead. Within the context of a larger vision of taking the next steps in human evolution, the goal set for the space shuttle—routine and economical access to space—was correct. However, underfunding of the project resulted in design compromises that made this goal unobtainable. The explosion of Challenger in 1986 slowed progress and raised the question of whether the space shuttle was the best vehicle to achieve affordable access to low earth orbit. However, as a means for consolidating and extending the impact of the Overview Effect, the shuttle was a superb system. VALUE

OF THE

SPACE SHUTTLE

Regardless of how the space shuttle is viewed in the future, its missions provided us with a wealth of new insights about the spaceflight experience. The shuttle was a good vehicle for that kind of research, because it sent a wide variety of people into orbit for reasonably long periods of time in a shirtsleeve atmosphere. (Rather than wearing spacesuits or other special clothing, astronauts routinely carried out their duties in t-shirts and shorts.) Although going into space may soon become routine, the human experience will remain extraordinary for some time to come. Former shuttle astronaut Joseph P. Allen has written extensively about his experience. He said: For each crew member, there will always be the anxious and interminable waiting, the stunning moment of ignition, the thrill of acceleration and the silent surprise of sloe-black space. There will always be the marvel of seeing the Earth from orbit, the wonder of having escaped from its bounds. [2]

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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AFTER APOLLO: CONSOLIDATION

OF THE

EFFECT

45

After his successful rescue of an errant satellite, Allen was interviewed on the television program Good Morning America and was asked whether astronauts felt euphoric when they were carrying out an extravehicular activity (EVA). Allen’s reply was that anyone who is not euphoric in that situation is not paying attention [3]! According to Charles Walker, shuttle astronaut Gordon Fullerton felt some of the same attraction to Earthgazing as the Skylab 4 crew did, and said that he could have spent the entire 8 days of the mission looking out the window [4]. The Overview Effect has affected many shuttle astronauts. For example, Prince Sultan Bin Salman al-Saud of Saudi Arabia flew on the 18th mission during a hostage crisis involving TWA Flight 847. Asked for a comment on the situation while he was in space, he said, “Looking at it from here, the troubles all over the world, and not just the Middle East, look very strange as you see the boundaries and border lines disappearing” [5]. Later, al-Saud became a leader in the Association of Space Explorers. Charles Walker and others have reported clear examples of the Overview Effect and other changes in awareness, such as the Universal Insight. He found the experience of seeing the world as a distinct entity “enlightening” and wanted to learn more about the magnitude of the universe. Thus, space shuttle travelers, like their predecessors, continued to cite the difference between knowing intellectually what it would be like to see the Earth from space and experiencing it directly. Sandy Magnus has been especially articulate on this subject. In my interview with her for this book, I asked her what stood out from her spaceflight experience. She replied: Mainly, I would say that there is a difference between intellectual knowledge and experience-based knowledge. You know it is hot outside when you hear it is 110 degrees, but you don’t really know it’s hot outside until you walk out the door and you get blasted with a wall of heat hitting you in the face. It is not just an intellectual fact anymore; it is experience that you have connected with that piece of data. So there are these different levels of understanding. For those of us who have been able to see our planet from space, and had that kind of experience, you take a bunch of intellectual knowledge—that the planet is 25,000 miles around and the oxygen is already significantly depleted 29,000 feet up from the surface—these facts that all of us learn in our textbooks have been transformed for those of us who have traveled above the planet and experienced it. So our knowledge of it is different. [6]

As my colleagues and I have discussed what is exactly the distinguishing feature of the cognitive shift we call the Overview Effect, we have concluded White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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that it is the experiential understanding of the Earth as a planet in space that seems most common to all astronauts. Joe Allen also noted that learning more about home is an experience we have when we travel on the surface of the Earth. For example, an American living in a foreign country learns a great deal about the United States by comparison; traveling in space offers similar opportunities. Charles Walker found that being an astronaut with a concern for ecology was related to his earlier work. “I see the experience of spaceflight as an extension of my previous perceptions and experiences. Fifteen years ago, I was involved in environmental activities in my community. I participated in the first Earth Day” [7]. Walker’s statement is fascinating because it links past and future. The symbol of Earth Day was the whole Earth as seen from an Apollo spacecraft, and years later the payload specialist referred back to it as an influence in his life. After Apollo, there is an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and many ecology-oriented causes and organizations use the whole Earth as their symbol. Indeed, some would argue that, without Apollo, there would have been no ecology movement. Joe Allen remarked that the EPA “wouldn’t have received a penny before those pictures from orbit” [8]. Space exploration continually lays the groundwork for bringing larger numbers of people a new understanding of themselves and the universe in which they live. Like Walker, they then become part of the evolutionary process of taking humanity out into that universe. CHANGING EXPECTATIONS When Alan Shepard went into space, he stated that he could not have been prepared for the view he saw. Although the experience is still stunning, there has been more preparation over the years. In looking at successive phases of exploration, one can detect a shift in expectations on the part of astronauts. Although being in orbit is still extraordinary, it is not anomalous. Payload specialist Loren Acton said that in the end, he could not “untangle” his actual experiences from “selffulfilling prophecies.. It was what I expected to be impressed with, and I was. Did it change me? Yes, because all at once it made these rather pedestrian realizations something that other people want to hear about, and I had enough sense to realize that this was going to be the case” [9]. Acton, who became active with the Association of Space Explorers, decided to use the credibility generated by his trip into orbit to improve the quality of life on Earth: I was going to be prepared to come back and say things that were constructive from my frame of reference. I would like to save the world.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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I think the world is pretty neat. I think we are on a dangerous course, that we have to evolve, to change, to solve problems differently than we used to. [10]

Acton sees a direct link between space exploration and human evolution, understanding that he can use his experience to move society toward a more cooperative path. The shuttle also created the possibility of a more direct relationship between space exploration and social change by serving as the vehicle to transport the first politicians into space. THE POLITICAL OVERVIEW More than one astronaut told me that they would like to see a summit conference in orbit. They believed that political leaders would make different decisions if they could see what the astronauts saw. In fact, although a large-scale gathering of world leaders in orbit may still be far in the future, two American politicians did fly on the shuttle. One of them, former Republican Senator Edwin (“Jake”) Garn of Utah, echoed the experience of the unity of the planet as seen from orbit: You certainly come to the recognition that there aren’t any political boundaries out there. You see it as one world, and you recognize how insignificant the planet Earth is when you look at ten billion stars in the Milky Way and recognize that our sun is a rather minor one. [11]

Garn also spoke of his sadness as he realized the imperfections of the planet’s social systems and questioned the causes of inequities and hostilities among the Earth’s people. In orbit, he concluded that it was not the fault of people, but the failures of governments, the desire of a few political leaders for power and control, that had led to disasters. When asked what impact space exploration would have on the evolution of society over time, he replied, “I don’t see vast changes quickly, but there’s no doubt in my mind that if more people fly, there has to be more understanding of what I’m talking about” [12]. Former Democratic Congressman (now Senator) Bill Nelson of Florida flew on the shuttle in January 1986. He told how looking at the Middle East from orbit symbolized his hope for humanity: “The irony of that view struck me, that it was so neat and so contained and so packaged in my window, when in reality it was anything but that 220 miles below” [13]. Since Nelson’s flight in the 1980s, there has been a dramatic shift in the situation on the ground in the Middle East with the impact of the so-called “Arab Spring.” However, it is more likely the result of the “technological Overview Effect” that results from satellites and the Internet than from other

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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factors. Nelson believed that space exploration held out an enormous opportunity for humanity, and he also thought that the view from orbit would ultimately be salutary. It confirmed his view of the space frontier as a unique environment in which adversaries could cooperate, and that has come to pass with the International Space Station (ISS). One measure of the challenge of transmitting the Overview Effect message occurred when Nelson returned to Earth and was interviewed by a television network on Martin Luther King Day. When he was asked about his experience, he began to talk about the lack of borders and boundaries that he saw, and was beginning to articulate the concept of the Overview Effect when the interviewer cut him off and directed him to talk about the progress, or lack of it, in civil rights since King’s assassination. Nelson wanted to communicate the Overview message, but the medium was not ready for it. “SPACE” TAKES

ON

NEW MEANING

“Space” has become more than a word describing the region beyond Earth. It has become a metaphor, a symbol of humanity working out its destiny: war or peace, cooperation or competition, love or hate. The Overview Effect says it all: we are one; we are all in this together; war and strife solve nothing. Returning to Earth, the astronaut has many choices regarding transmission of the message, and each person uses the experience in terms of his or her own interests and place in society. However, because of the cultural role they have played, people who have been in orbit or on the moon often have a credibility unmatched by others. Most of our cultures are replete with stories of angels, messengers, sky-gods who come from above with a better view of what is happening below. Even for those who are not religious, this symbolism of people who go into the regions of God (or the gods) and return is powerful. As Loren Acton notes, the influence of astronauts, cosmonauts, and other space travelers back on Earth may be the most important aspect of recent missions. The space shuttle program, regardless of the other benefits it may or may not have brought to society, consolidated the impact of the Overview Effect and supported its dissemination to the people on Earth. The ultimate impact could be substantial, Nelson suggested, if the superpower leaders were in fact to arrange a summit meeting in space. “It would have a positive effect on their making decisions on war and peace” [14]. The space shuttle pointed to a future when living on the frontier with a new perspective would be normal. As Bonnie Dunbar put it, “With successive flights, I have become more at home in space.. I miss looking down on the Earth and out into the universe” [15]. Her views are echoed by Al Sacco: “For me, being in orbit was very comforting. In some ways, I was more comfortable in space than on Earth, and I hated to leave that environment” [16].

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Chapter 7

INDIVIDUAL

AND

CULTURAL VARIATIONS

I remembered the words of Gagarin: “We are all testers; everyone does something for the first time. A new vehicle, new equipment, new instruments, a new research program.. Each person makes his own ‘test’; each does something for the first time.” —USSR pilot cosmonaut Gherman Titov I really enjoyed working with different people and different cultures. Especially on orbit, you feel like you are really at home in a way, with your family. It’s like being together with your brothers and sisters. —Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide

INDIVIDUAL VARIATIONS There are as many interpretations of the spaceflight experience as experiencers and, similarly, as many Overview Effects as people who have been in orbit or traveled to the moon. To some extent we all create our own reality, whether on Earth or in space. As a result, there are inevitable variations in describing that reality, on Earth or in space. What is profoundly moving to some may be meaningless to others; a wonderful evening for one person may be a crashing bore for another. No one can go into the space environment completely without filters. The question is how open-minded the astronaut can be and how preconceptions interact with the experience to produce new ideas. According to Edgar Mitchell, “It was a very powerful experience for some of us because we were open to whatever it meant, without prejudging what it was going to be” [1]. During the Mercury era, Scott Carpenter prepared himself for an extraordinary experience, and he had one. Wally Schirra, by contrast, was determined to focus on the job at hand, and his satisfaction came from doing his job well. Mitchell, who had a “peak experience” on the return trip from the moon, was “always oriented toward philosophy, toward the fundamental 49

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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cosmological and theological questions” [2]. There are indications that he had laid the groundwork to have a breakthrough on his journey, and he succeeded. Alan Bean pointed out that the astronaut rarely has his or her mind on philosophical matters, but Bean’s paintings reveal a strong personal statement about space exploration and his special effort to share it with others. The expressions of the experience are different, and therefore the transmission of the message varies widely, though there are some commonalities. The astronauts bring individual and cultural variations to the key elements of spaceflight, and additional elements are provided by society. Not only do different astronauts have a variety of ways to communicate the experience, but their listeners will also hear what they say in different ways. The result is a multiplication of the number of spaceflight experiences within human culture and an increase in the likelihood that the overview message will be transmitted. The multiplier effect means that sending a limited number of people off the planet can lead to a broad-based social transformation. The experiences of the few become new information for the many, serving as fuel for social evolution. SOCIAL CONTEXT The specific social context of each flight, as well as the environment of space, is critical to the perception of the missions by the astronauts and the public alike. When Charles Lindbergh flew the Atlantic alone, it inspired the world because it was a dangerous leap into the unknown by one man. Gene Cernan has said that people could relate to Lindbergh’s deed because they recognized a triumph of the human spirit in his action. Today, thousands think nothing of flying across the Atlantic and the Pacific because it has become routine. As they fly over the Earth, they ignore the view that generations in the past longed desperately to see. In some cases, like my own, however, they experience a version of the Overview Effect, and it has an impact. This book is an example of how a mini-experience of the Effect can lead to broader results, i.e., the writing of the book itself, which was inspired by a cross-country airplane flight. When NASA portrayed the space shuttle flights as routine, the public and the media slipped into bored acceptance of each launch. The truth is that most of those flights were far from routine. The Rogers Commission investigation into the Challenger accident revealed problems on many flights, some of which came within inches or moments of threatening the lives of the crews. Years later, the tragedy repeated itself with the Columbia accident.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Had the flights been considered dangerous, some of the problems that occurred, such as pad shutdowns of the engines, aborts-to-orbit, and tires blowing out on the landing runway, would have been perceived differently. In fact, danger has been present in every flight from Gagarin’s first orbit to the Apollo missions to the space shuttle/Mir linkups and to the International Space Station (ISS), but society chooses how to deal with it differently at different points in time. In the United States, public interest in American space missions has depended on whether the particular flight is a first, which always contains an element of danger and uncertainty. Although the space shuttle missions were eventually dubbed ordinary, the very first flight generated excitement because no one knew if the new system would work. Apollo 13, although it was the third mission to the moon (and therefore “routine”), generated worldwide interest because an explosion on the spacecraft forced the crew to make a flyby of the moon and return to Earth. The astronauts were in real danger from the moment of the explosion until splashdown. So Apollo 13 was exciting because it was the first time American astronauts had faced jeopardy of that magnitude. For the same reason, a movie about the incident drew large crowds, as compared with The Right Stuff and other films about the space program. Sadly, the Challenger disaster rivaled the first moon landing in the attention it created because it represented a number of firsts. What was to have been the inaugural flight of the Space Flight Participant program turned out to be the first American experience of loss of life in flight. The next space shuttle flight was watched with intense interest because of Challenger. Once again, the unknown had entered the American space program, and the unknown, not the routine, draws people to almost anything, including space. For the same reason, the first flight of Sir Richard Branson will draw huge attention. As I told him during our interview for this book, it will generate a lot of buzz because it will be the first flight of any individual on a commercial spacecraft. Even more fascinating is the fact that he plans to take his 90+-year-old mother and his two children. So it will also be a flight that will put the oldest person and the two youngest people in space, as well as the first knight! First flights are also the most extraordinary ones for astronauts; after that initiation, there is a shift in perspective. According to Charles Walker, one becomes more accustomed to the environment of space, and it makes a difference. “Each person adapts with successive trips. You feel more comfortable each time, and you know what to expect psychologically as well. You adapt more readily to the environment and are less stunned by the perspectives and the sights” [3].

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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CULTURAL VARIATIONS

AND

COMMONALITIES

Americans tend to think of activities and exploration in space as being equivalent to “the American space program,” but this is certainly no longer an accurate way to view the situation. Space exploration and development has become a global enterprise (see Table 7.1). The American people respond to exploration metaphors, and space exploration is often compared with the founding of the country and settling of the West. This is understandable because the United States no longer has a physical frontier, so the space program serves a cultural need for the vision to remain alive. Other countries look at the enterprise quite differently, and each deals with space exploration in its own way and sees it through its own cultural filters. The Canadians, for example, never created their own launch capability. Instead, they established their own niche by developing a crew of payload specialists to ride the space shuttle, and by focusing on such technologies as the space shuttle’s robot arm. The European nations have been quite assertive in their approach to space. In addition to their own national programs, they created the European Space Agency (ESA), which has developed an unmanned launch capability, the Ariane rocket, and is charged with creating an autonomous European presence in space. Europe has a robust Earth satellite capability, and has also been a major contributor to building the International Space Station. Japan has an active program built around its own fleet of rockets. The Japanese have also participated in the ISS and have flown on space shuttle missions. The Japanese have even sent their own unmanned rockets to the moon and Mars. In describing the various aspects of the Japanese program, astronaut Akihiko Hoshide said: By doing these things, we began to understand safety aspects, reliability, and also how to operate a mission. We have a mission control center and they are monitoring the “Kibo” module, working together with other mission control centers all over the world. Over the years, through space shuttle missions, we gained a lot of experience, and that helped us get to this point. [4]

The People’s Republic of China represents a fascinating cultural variation. China’s abrupt termination of its assertive trade and exploration program in the fifteenth century, and its subsequent stagnation as a society, are often cited as an example of what happens when nations stop exploring. The Chinese launched their first astronaut into low Earth orbit in 2003. Over a 10-year period, their space program made rapid progress. Since then, China has launched 10 astronauts into low Earth orbit and is making plans to

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Table 7.1

53

Human Space Program: First Half-Century Plus (1961 to late 2013) [5]

Total missions Nations whose citizens had flown Lunar landings Person-days in space Person-years in space

536 38 6 29,000 77

build a space station by 2020, about the time that the ISS will reach the end of its working life. The Chinese space agency has also landed a rover on the moon and announced plans to build a moon base, and many observers believe that the People’s Republic is on the verge of taking the lead over the United States and Russia in human space exploration. China has satellite-launching capabilities with its Long March unmanned vehicle, and offered its services to American companies that were put in a bind by the Challenger situation in 1986 [6]. China continues to compete for business in the satellite-launching marketplace. The old Soviet program, with roots in prerevolutionary Russia, was based on an interesting philosophy. It evolved out of a synthesis of Nikolai Fyodorov’s mysticism, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky’s inventiveness, and Karl Marx’s revolutionary ideology, all coupled with the practical political mind of Lenin and his successors. Fyodorov, chief cataloguer in the Moscow library in the mid-nineteenth century, exerted a significant influence on Russian intellectuals and innovators, including Tsiolkovsky. He painted a broad picture of the human purpose in space, not unlike the “great purpose” proposed in Chapter 10. Tsiolkovsky built on that foundation and anticipated many of the practical problems to be overcome in rocketry and space station design. Marxism added to those visions a view of history unfolding as thesis/ antithesis/synthesis, manifesting itself as dialectical materialism, and culminating in a worldwide revolution. Communism began as an expansionist political ideology, and it was quite natural to see it as expanding into outer space. The Soviet space program in its early days from 1957 to around 1969 functioned as a powerful propaganda weapon in the Soviet Union’s competition with the United States, especially for Third World attention and loyalty. All the early firsts sent messages to the people of Earth that the Soviet system was superior, and it jolted the United States out of a quiet belief in its own dominance into a high pitch of competitive fervor. During the period from 1969 to 1990, the Soviets launched or attempted to launch many flights to build, expand, and repair the Salyut and Mir space

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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stations. They never went to the moon or developed a space shuttle, but they moved ahead of the United States in long-duration missions. They became the reigning experts on actually living in space, and it is no surprise that the U.S. program chose to cooperate with the Russians when the opportunity arose [7]. As the 21st century dawned, President Kennedy’s vision of U.S./Soviet (now Russian) cooperation began to be realized in the building of the ISS. In fact, his more expansive hope for all the nations of the world to cooperate on the space frontier is unfolding through the 15 countries working together on the ISS. The Soviet experience produced a difference in the impact of later missions on cosmonaut consciousness. The cosmonauts’ detailed reports of time in orbit include musings about the view of Earth from space, coupled with the more immediate concerns of getting along with crewmates, getting work done, missing their families, and coping with boredom [8]. Many of these early experiences with longer missions have been reproduced on the ISS. However, with modern communications technology available to them, today’s space station inhabitants do not feel as isolated as did their predecessors. Even during the Cold War, something significant began to emerge within the Soviet and American space programs. Cosmonauts and astronauts realized that they had something in common that transcended the differences between their two countries. They expressed the most concrete feelings of unity in the founding of the Association of Space Explorers and in its goals, as stated in the press release that announced the First Planetary Congress in the fall of 1985. The astronauts and cosmonauts wanted to meet with each other because of a shared vision, resulting from their experience in space, which unites them in a way that obscures their cultural differences.. All the space fliers who attended acknowledged they had been substantially affected during their flights by a heightened awareness of how great the creative potential is on our Earth but how tiny and fragile its body is. [9]

In our time, the ISS has consistently confirmed that space fliers of all nations find a new level of common purpose when they are in orbit together. As Ron Garan puts it: The International Space Station is a wonderful example of international cooperation, where you have a number of nations in an international partnership working for this common goal . Some of these countries have not always been the best of friends, and it really is an amazing example. [10]

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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55

Nicole Stott concurs: “It’s neat to see how well things work out with the team on orbit. We don’t even think about who is from where. It is like a family or team anywhere working together” [11]. As more women have flown, we might expect that there would be genderbased variations in their descriptions of what happens in orbit. If so, these differences are difficult to detect. In writing this book, I have asked almost every female astronaut if men and women reacted differently to the experience. All of them said no. As space shuttle astronaut Janice Voss put it, “There are a lot of individual variations, but nothing in terms of gender” [12]. Bonnie Dunbar agreed: “Astronauts face a lot of problems in space, but I don’t think there is a female perspective on those problems. I solve them just like the guys, and it really isn’t a gender question” [13]. The differences in response to the spaceflight experience are real; however, they exist within a common context, which involves elevating the mission of humanity to a higher plane of understanding. The diversity in communicating a unifying vision enriches the message and ultimately makes it more powerful.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Chapter 8

THE TECHNOLOGICAL OVERVIEW

I think that the technological impacts are likely to be more important than the philosophical in the near term. I think the impact of worldwide communications has already been tremendous. —Space Shuttle astronaut Jeffrey A. Hoffman The beneficial effect to mankind of having an array of 10,000 satellites around the Earth is, well, “Earth-shattering.” —Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson

Marshall McLuhan said that “the medium is the message” and that our technologies are extensions of ourselves. By that, he meant that the structure of communications media is itself a message to society and that technologies emulate our organic sensing capabilities. Humans are now establishing sensing capabilities into the solar system and beyond. These technologies also tell us that increasingly more sophisticated overviews are available on a permanent basis. Like manned space exploration, unmanned exploration includes a spectrum of possible experiences and a resulting range of effects on human thought and social evolution. To grasp the variety of experiences and uses of unmanned systems, these flights can be categorized as follows: 1) flights that allow us to look back at the Earth, 2) flights that allow us to explore the solar system, and 3) flights that allow us to look out into the universe. The missions that allow us to look back at the Earth or communicate from point to point on the Earth reinforce the Overview Effect. These flights include satellites in low Earth orbit and in geosynchronous orbit. Flights that help us to understand the solar system and our place in it coincide with the Copernican Perspective; these include probes that orbit, fly by, or land on other planets or their satellites (moons). Flights that help us better understand the universe as a whole, to achieve Universal Insight, consist primarily of telescopes and other monitoring devices placed in Earth orbit, with their “eyes and ears” pointed outward. From the perspective of most people on the Earth’s surface, manned and unmanned flights have many similarities as well as differences. Whether a 57

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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human being sends back pictures of the planet from orbit or a satellite does it, those of us on Earth see the view through someone or something else.

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UNMANNED FLIGHTS

AND THE

OVERVIEW EFFECT

Earth-orbiting satellites provide a technological parallel to the Overview Effect experienced by astronauts in orbit, building the Overview Effect as part of our collective reality on a continuing basis. Experiencing the overview as an astronaut is a stunning emotional process. Experiencing it on Earth while looking at a picture or a film is less dramatic but still analogous. When astronauts see the Earth from space, they comprehend that it has a natural unity. Satellites embody the message that the planet is also becoming a social unity. Just as the Overview Effect can be broken down into a variety of experiences, Earth-orbiting satellites can be categorized by function and the variety of experiences provided by unmanned flights becomes more apparent. Satellites can be used for a number of purposes, including weather prediction, remote sensing, telecommunications, navigation and location determination, and military intelligence. WEATHER PREDICTION

Weather prediction is a common example of the institutionalization of the Overview Effect that we take for granted. Every night, television viewers see a picture of the Earth taken from a satellite, and the meteorologist uses the photograph to predict the future weather on the basis of the overview. Monitoring and predicting weather via satellites brings the technological version of the Overview Effect down to mundane reality. The existence of a satellite in orbit, “seeing” exactly what the astronauts see, helps people and societies make decisions every day. The poorest among us today has greater knowledge of the short-term future than did the greatest of kings in earlier times. Before 1957, no human beings, regardless of their wealth, power, or influence, could see the approaching weather because there were no satellites. Today, everyone can benefit from this capability. The ability to predict the weather carries with it much broader and deeper implications. Weather patterns support or erode social and political stability. For example, a poor harvest in Russia caused by bad weather has profound policy implications in the United States and elsewhere. Slight shifts in the climate and in weather patterns may dramatically affect political policies over time. With an entire cable channel devoted to the weather, many people are alive today because weather predictions based on satellite data helped them avoid a hurricane’s fury or a blizzard’s dangers. This in itself has a powerful effect on all our lives.

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REMOTE SENSING

“The key to the importance of Earth observations from space,” according to Geoffrey K.C. Pardoe, author of The Future for Space Technology, “is the macro-scale overview that is obtainable from the satellite” [1]. This was true in the 1980s, when Pardoe wrote his book, and it is true today. Remotesensing satellites are similar to weather satellites because they look down on Earth from orbit and send back information on what they see. The difference is that they focus on cataloging the Earth and its resources rather than on weather forecasts. They generate information that may, for example, reveal the existence of previously unsuspected natural resources or changes in vegetation color that might, along with weather data, indicate the onset of a drought. Like weather satellites, remote-sensing systems are catalysts for interdisciplinary research. They can support a multitude of fields, including agriculture, archaeology, civil engineering, ecology, economics, fishery, forestry, geodesy, geography, geology, hydrology, meteorology, mining, oceanography, politics, and sociology [2]. COMMUNICATIONS

Telecommunication applications dominate the commercially successful aspects of the space enterprise in general and of the satellite business in particular. They are the harbinger of commercial development of the high frontier, and without them there would be no global communications systems, no Internet, no World Wide Web. Like weather forecasting, we take the Internet for granted and most people probably do not connect it with space development, but it is a miraculous manifestation of the technological Overview Effect that creates planetary unity on a daily basis. In the words of Charles Zraket of the Mitre Corporation, satellite telecommunication has “revolutionized” international communications traffic, creating “an explosion in who gets to know what and what gets to be known” [3]. The telecommunication component of the unmanned space program makes the metaphor of a planetary nervous system into a reality. Going beyond a vision of the Earth as a whole system, the worldwide telecommunication system provides a practical foundation for linking all human social systems, so that almost anyone is able to communicate with anyone else on the planet without considerations of time and distance. People are now able to collaborate without being forced to congregate [4]. Communication satellites have an inherently transformational impact on society because they force it to go beyond its current form of organization. The satellite communication business has, from its inception, supported international cooperation. The placement of a communication satellite,

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coupled with its function, make it difficult for even the most nationalistic countries to take a single-nation approach to the funding and administration of such a system. In the case of communication satellites, the international organization known as Intelsat, for example, has more than 100 members who provide capital and share in using the system. Communication satellites have already affected international politics. Ironically, the fall of the Soviet Union, the country that put the first satellite into orbit, may well be attributed to the power of communications that satellites allowed. Anachronisms such as the Berlin Wall were able to keep people from moving freely, but nothing could keep information out of the Eastern Bloc. And all the information coming into that region contradicted Communist views of the world. The People’s Republic of China is now trying to control use of the Internet for the same reason, with only limited success. The Web played such a huge role in recent Middle East upheavals that they were called the “Facebook revolutions.” These developments do not mean the end of the nation-state as a political system, but they may herald its demise as the dominant form on Earth. The nation-state is a relatively recent invention, and nationwide communication and transportation have been its technological underpinning. Those who pioneered the development of the nation-state were revolutionaries in their time because it was an advance over the political forms of the day. In the early 21st century, those who see the next step as a transition to a planetary civilization are supported by the technological Overview Effect [5]. Communication satellites do not necessarily cause the transformation, but they aid it. It can be argued that the first perceptions of the Earth from space generated the consciousness to treat global problems as if they were local, and the satellites provided the capability for the planet’s population to link up and work together. As Astronaut Don Lind pointed out in the 1980s, “We probably would have responded to the Ethiopian famine without space pictures.. But the intensity and personal involvement wouldn’t have been the same” [6]. Sensations of time and space are transformed for an astronaut in orbit, and the communication satellite provides an ongoing transformation in these perceptions for those on Earth. By moving outside the frame of reference of the planet, the astronaut has a different experience of space/time. The satellite, remaining outside the Earth’s frame of reference permanently, makes that change a permanent one. Don Lind was speaking in the mid1980s, but nothing has happened since that time to contradict his insight. On the contrary, we have seen numerous other examples of fundamental changes being wrought because our planet is ringed with communication satellites. More recently, pioneers of commercial spaceflight like Sir Richard Branson have proposed even more dramatic deployments of satellites in low

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Earth orbit, laying the foundation for planetary management on a broad scale [7]. A new company called Urthecast has placed high-definition cameras on the International Space Station (ISS) and is beaming pictures of the Earth to cable systems in near-real time [8].

Planetary management emerges from the recognition that if the whole can be perceived, it can be the focus of practical as well as abstract interest. Specifically, it refers to the possibility of interacting with the Earth from the perspective of the Overview Effect, managing the whole system for the good of all its parts.

NAVIGATION

AND

LOCATION DETERMINATION

A satellite injects a new experience of space and time into our social system. The entire surface of the planet becomes “one” in terms of communication. The next step is to be able to look back and see ourselves within the space/time matrix of the Earth. Navigation and location-finding satellites provide that ability. These systems include a unit to be carried by the user on Earth, a computer for processing information from a number of points, and the satellite itself. In the developed world today, most drivers would find themselves at a loss without their GPS systems. Similarly, trucking companies use the technology to know the location of every unit in their fleet at a given time. As with other space exploration and development efforts, the intent of the work in location and navigation is not to increase human self-awareness. Nevertheless, that will likely be one of the side effects. With the Overview Effect as originally defined, an astronaut looks at Earth from orbit or from the moon and sees it as a whole system. A location-finding satellite looks down at Earth and shows us ourselves within that system. MILITARY USES

Military advantage and national competitions have long been drivers behind the commitments of national resources to put people and machines into space. To a military strategist, space is the new “high ground.” Satellites play the same role in military matters as in other areas of human activity, providing a perspective that previously was not available to military planners. The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), or “Star Wars,” reflected that type of thinking about the frontier. For those interested in seeing space as an arena of peaceful exploration by all humanity, SDI is an anathema, a “weaponization” of space.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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All military satellites are not, however, threats to peace. They can also support a reduction in the likelihood of major conflicts being triggered by miscalculations. As Jesco von Puttkamer, former manager of long-range planning in NASA’s Office of Space Flight, explained, “The proper military use of space can actually safeguard peace” [9]. Situated outside the Earthbound frames of references, satellites can spy on opposing nations in relation to troop movements, construction of missile bases, weapons testing, and much more. Michael Collins, when asked whether space exploration and development was contributing to world unity, focused specifically on the military satellite issue, arguing that “space has been helpful and stabilizing in the area of spy satellites. They [the Russians] cannot move a truck, van, or missile without our knowing about it, and vice versa” [10]. Military satellites also reduce military tensions by providing independent verification in arms control agreements. In presatellite days, on-site inspection was a key issue that held up test bans and other arms control treaties. Today, on-site inspections are less essential because the satellite is essentially always “on-site.” It is impossible to know whether military satellites are playing a stabilizing or destabilizing role internationally, partly because most of them have been launched secretly. Just as military pilots have used the skies to bomb people and cities as well as military targets, so might the overview from space be seen as a strategic necessity by today’s military strategists, with consequences that we cannot easily predict. EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE

The idea of a unified approach to understanding the whole Earth and humanity’s relationship to it has long been a goal of government space programs. The closer we get to this goal, the closer we will be to planetary management. As far back as 1983, the Advisory Council of NASA established an Earth System Sciences Committee to review the science of the Earth as an integrated system of interacting components, recommend an implementation strategy for global Earth studies, and define NASA’s role in such a program [11]. In 1986, the committee published a summary of the recommended program, entitled Earth System Science: Overview, which stated the following goal: “To obtain a scientific understanding of the entire Earth System on a global scale by describing how its component parts and their interactions have evolved, how they function, and how they may be expected to continue to evolve on all time scales” [12].

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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UNMANNED MISSIONS, THE COPERNICAN PERSPECTIVE, AND THE UNIVERSAL INSIGHT In describing the experiences of the astronauts in the first edition of this book, published in 1987, I realized that there were other changes in awareness that built on the Overview Effect and expanded on it. All of the shifts that the astronauts experienced dealt with the relationship between parts of wholes. “Copernican Perspective” is a term I coined to describe the realization that the Earth is not only a whole system (of which human beings are a part), but also part of the solar system. This perspective recognizes that Copernicus was right: the sun, not the Earth, is the center of that system. The Overview Effect is the essential insight necessary for the building of a planetary civilization. The Copernican Perspective is the essential insight needed to build a solar civilization. In his excellent book, Wonders of the Solar System, Brian Cox discusses the value of unmanned flights and says: Mission by mission, piece by piece, we have learnt that our environment does not stop at the top of our atmosphere. The subtle and complex gravitational interactions of the planets with our Sun and the billions of lumps of rock and ice in orbit around it have directly influenced the evolution of the Earth over the 4.5 billion years since its formation and that influence continues today. [13]

What a paradigm shift this is! Although Apollo and other manned missions have brought human beings into a new relationship with and understanding of the terrestrial environment, our robotic representatives have done the same for the solar environment. We are beginning to see how all the parts of the solar system interact as a whole system and the role each part plays. As a society, we have begun to experience the Copernican Perspective, and robot probes have played the key role in this process. Our unmanned missions into the solar system are too numerous to name here, but they have included robot landings on the moon and flybys of the moon; probes to nearly every planet by the United States, the former Soviet Union, and Japan; the American Voyager spacecraft, which conducted spectacular flybys of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and their moons and has now left the solar system altogether; the Galileo mission into the heart of Jupiter’s atmosphere; and the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and beyond. This probe recently provided data strongly indicating a vast ocean under the surface of Saturn’s moon, Enceladus [14]. Even though humans have yet to land on Mars, we know a great deal about this planet because Earthlings have sent so many robots there. For example, the Mars Pathfinder created a new paradigm of relationship between robot

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explorers and humans back on the Earth. By sending back pictures and data that were transmitted directly to the Internet, Pathfinder made the Copernican Perspective available to everyone. The two rovers named Curiosity and Spirit survived years beyond their expected life on the surface of the red planet, exploring it and sending back spectacular photographs that are reminiscent of Arizona’s deserts. A few years ago, NASA pulled off an amazing flight by guiding a car-sized rover called Curiosity to Mars and landing it safely. Now, Curiosity is living up to its name, poking and prodding Mars to see if it once had water, or even life, hidden under its rocky soil. Robot missions to Mars have been unique in their impact on human consciousness about Earth. For example, studies of planetwide Martian dust storms in 1970 laid the groundwork for the nuclear winter hypothesis, which created a fundamental shift in our understanding of the survivability of nuclear war. The Gaia Hypothesis, which has focused on describing the nature of life on Earth, began when James Lovelock was asked by NASA to consult on search-for-life experiments that accompanied the Viking mission to Mars [15].

The Gaia Hypothesis, which was originally advanced by James Lovelock, states that life, rather than being a mere passenger on Spaceship Earth, plays a vital role as a balancing and regulating mechanism. It suggests that the entire planet is an interconnected, living organism.

All these missions have yielded insights into the nature of the solar system, bringing many surprises and significant new information. Although no humans have visited any part of the solar system other than the moon, the continuing transmission of television pictures into the homes of people all over the world institutionalizes the Copernican Perspective in the same way that satellites institutionalize the Overview Effect. Moving beyond the Copernican Perspective, the Universal Insight is a recognition not only that the Earth is a whole system and a part of the solar system, but also that we are part of the universe and have an important role to play in it. Astronomers, by the nature of their profession, have always known about the Universal Insight. Now, the technological analogy is being extended by astronomers who are lifting our observational tools into space. The Hubble Space Telescope, designed to generate new information about the universe as a whole and the human place within it, has been sending

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spectacular images of galaxies, star clusters, gas clouds, and other celestial objects back to Earth for more than 20 years. Studies of this type have already gone far beyond academic interests. Perhaps the most significant question about our solar system is not connected with what it contains, but whether it is unique or one among many. Answering this question is, of course, the prelude to answering the question of whether Earth is unique. Astronomers have now developed methods for detecting planets around distant stars based on variations in the stars’ brightness. This technique led to the confirmation that there are indeed other solar systems out there, increasing the likelihood of Earth-like planets as well. In 2009, NASA launched the Kepler spacecraft, equipped with a photometer to constantly measure the variations in brightness of 145,000 stars in our “solar neighborhood.” In 2013, an exhaustive examination of the Kepler data led to the astonishing conclusion that there might be as many as 40 billion Earthlike planets in our galaxy alone [16]! Of course, this study is an extrapolation that could be off by several orders of magnitude, but even if we reduce the total by half, the result is still 20 billion planets, which increases the possibility of intelligent life like ourselves existing in abundance in the Milky Way galaxy, and there are billions of galaxies in the universe. To quote Brian Cox again, who wrote the following passage before Kepler’s findings: “All of these missions have yielded insights into the nature of the solar system, bringing surprises and treasure troves of new information” [17]. OUTER SPACE, INNER SELVES For years, a debate has raged over the relative value of manned vs unmanned exploration of space. Both approaches have an impact on social evolution, as we have shown. Responding to ideas in this chapter, Paul Blanchard, a consultant to NASA who helped develop the report of the Earth System Sciences Committee, pointed out some important facts about the relationship between manned and unmanned exploration. Speaking of explorers and discoverers of the past, he said, In those times, discovery had to be undertaken by human beings. There was no way to automate discovery. One of the problems under the surface here is that for the first time in history, we are able to mount very extensive and revealing voyages of discovery with no human participants, thus removing the necessity of having a leader or hero. [18]

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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I suggested to Blanchard that the primary reason for humans to go into space was its positive impact on human consciousness. He agreed, and said that in terms of manned space exploration, it would tell us more about ourselves than about space. Ultimately, manned and unmanned programs should be seen not as competing priorities, but as critical elements of the same process. Both are forms of exploration that teach us about the universe and ourselves. For this reason, it seems clear that the farther out human beings look, the further inward we will see.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Chapter 9

DISSEMINATING

THE

OVERVIEW

One of the reasons I give a lot of talks . [is] to try to make it real for people in the best way that I can, to give them some feeling of direct connection to the program. —Payload specialist Byron K. Lichtenberg There is something important about people just understanding what is going on up there. —Space Shuttle and ISS astronaut Nicole Stott

Experiencing the Earth as a unified whole is more than an idea for astronauts; it is a powerful reality. It is a message from the universe, not to space fliers alone, but to all of humanity. Now the question is, how can larger numbers of people get that message? There are two basic approaches to answering this question. One is the transportation-oriented approach of taking more people into orbit or on suborbital hops; the other is the communication-oriented approach of replicating the experience, in various forms, and diffusing it around the planet. With the advent of commercial spacecraft built by Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, and others, a dramatic paradigm shift is already under way, leading to low-cost access to Earth orbit. Will that support a cognitive shift at a planetary level? My colleagues at the Overview Institute and I believe it will. Consider the fact that, since 1961, all the government space programs of the world have flown about 530 people into space. At this writing, Virgin Galactic has signed up some 600 “new astronauts.” If Virgin flew that many people in, say, 3 years, they would have surpassed the efforts of governments throughout the world in over half a century. This quantitative change seems likely to lead to a qualitative change of significant proportions. In Carrying the Fire, Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins wrote, “Fred Hoyle, the British astronomer, suggested as early as 1948 that the first picture of the whole earth would unleash a flood of new ideas” [1]. However, he went on to say that simply seeing pictures of the whole Earth is not enough to achieve the full impact; rather, one must actually be there, 100,000 miles away, to get the full implications of the experience. This distinction 67

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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highlights a potential barrier to communicating the urgency of the message. As my colleague David Beaver notes, the first pictures from orbit or the moon of the Earth in space were startling because they were new to surface dwellers as well. As the pictures become ubiquitous, people may say (and I have heard this said) that they know what the Overview Effect is, but they do not know it directly, as the astronauts do [2]. Still, it may not be necessary for an entire society to feel the full impact for a shift to take place. The astronauts represent the species, and in them we have the most powerful experiences of spaceflight being felt by a tiny sample of the whole population. The impact of their communication may seem insignificant; as Skylab astronaut Ed Gibson said, their talking about it is like a “drop of dye in the ocean,” but the diffusion of dye into a liquid changes its composition and color. Their messages to us may work similarly to change our perspective over time. DIFFUSION

OF THE

OVERVIEW EFFECT

Diffusion is a good way to understand how new ideas are disseminated into societies. Communication researchers have documented a familiar pattern by which new ideas or practices are adopted by society as a whole. The pattern applies in the same way to issues ranging from the adoption of the smoking habit to the abolition of slavery. According to this diffusion of innovation (DOI) theory, people fall into five basic groups in adopting new ideas. The percentages of the population they represent are innovators (2.5%), early adopters (13.5%), early majority (34%), late majority (34%), and late adopters, or laggards (16%) [3]. New information coming into a human system from the environment is processed in a sequence, starting with the innovators and concluding with the late adopters. The innovators are the first to take up the new idea; they then pass it on to the early adopters. Once these two groups make an idea their own, it is on its way to becoming a part of mainstream thought. No one, including innovators, takes on something unknown right away, skipping straight to the adoption or confirmation stages of the process. They have to first become aware of a need for the innovation, then become interested in it, decide to try it, evaluate it, then adopt it and confirm its value over time. The adoption curve rises slowly in the beginning, when the innovators and early adopters are going through the process, accelerates rapidly until about half the population has adopted, and increases at a slower rate while the later adopters come aboard. When about 20% of the population has taken up the innovation, the curve becomes virtually unstoppable [4]. Having our planet adopt the Overview Effect as its predominant worldview would seem at the moment to be in the awareness-building

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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stage. Those of us who believe the message is vital are trying to communicate the need for the innovation that the astronauts are sharing. The most important audiences for any innovation are the innovators, early adopters, and early majority, because their absorption of the message really makes it take off. The government-sponsored astronauts have been the “super-innovators” of the Space Age. Other innovators are those involved in national space programs, space interest groups, and various pro-space exploration activities. From my own perspective, I believe this pattern is now playing itself out with the Overview Effect. I first began talking about the phenomenon in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As far as I can determine, my first public use of the term “the Overview Effect” was in 1985. Houghton-Mifflin published the first edition of this book in 1987. For the first 20 years after that publication, the idea seemed to be diffusing into society slowly, if at all. In 1998, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics published the second edition, which was critical in keeping the concept alive. In 2007, David Beaver organized and funded the first Overview Effect conference, which was held in Washington, D.C., as part of the Space Frontier Foundation’s annual meeting. At that event, David and I resolved to form the Overview Institute, which was launched at the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference in May 2008. The idea of the Overview Effect began to gain traction after that event, but really accelerated in 2012 when we premiered the film Overview by Planetary Collective at Harvard University. Key members of the Planetary Collective team, Guy Reid and Steven Kennedy, had read The Overview Effect in their teens and had resolved to make a film about it. I assisted them, linking Guy, Steve, and Christoph Ferstad with members of the Overview Institute and astronauts who had been interviewed for this book. Perhaps because it is a video rather than still pictures, Overview seems to have a profound effect on viewers. Here are just a few comments that people have left on the Vimeo website: “I was left in awe and in tears after watching it. I can just imagine how it would feel . if I had the chance of being up there too.” “This is a wonderful film and a truly inspiring way to remind everyone that we live on the most incredible, interconnected, pulsating, living, breathing Earth; and we must take care of her! Thanks for making it.” “An inspiring tribute to this spaceship we call Earth.” “Using the word AWEsome is totally appropriate.” “That was amazing, inspiring, thought-provoking, and beautiful. Thank you.”

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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The overall statistics, after about 18 months, are somewhat startling: more than 6 million plays, more than 17,000 likes, and nearly 450 comments on Vimeo [5]. The numbers spike to as high as 50,000 or more viewings per day when a site like Upworthy touts the film, and then settle back to a more typical 5000 a day. Over the course of its first year, the film averaged well over 12,000 plays per day on Vimeo alone. (It is also available on YouTube.) I recently conducted an analysis of the extent to which awareness of the concept might have grown since 1987, with this book’s first edition. I estimated that about 440,000 people might have heard about the Overview Effect from November 1987 to December 2012, a span of 25 years, and an average per year of 17,600. In the 1 1/2 years since its premiere, with some 6 million people viewing the film on Vimeo, there has been a 266-fold increase in the number of people being exposed to the idea annually [6]. In this way, the change in people’s awareness of the Overview Effect acts as much like an exponential curve as a diffusion of innovation curve. Exponential curves seem to develop slowly and then suddenly, seemingly overnight, accelerate upward asymptotically. The early adopters and early majority are now emerging in response to the Overview Effect message. They are becoming “Overviewers.” It is through this diffusion process that the experience of spaceflight is translated into an idea that has a powerful effect on society as the message reaches more and more people. Hearing an astronaut speak, seeing a film like Overview, or looking at a poster of the whole Earth begins the adoption process by bringing awareness of the overview to the audience. David Beaver suggests that even though words alone cannot convey the experience, words are needed to provide a context for it [7]. These experiences are not as deep as being in orbit or on the moon, but the impact is broader because a film or poster can be replicated more easily and less expensively than the direct experience. In some cases, people who are made aware of the Overview Effect go through transformations almost as powerful as those of the astronauts, and in unpredictable ways. I refer to people who have achieved astronaut awareness without going into orbit or to the moon as Terranauts.

Terranauts are people who have achieved “astronaut awareness” without going into orbit or to the moon. They have realized that the Earth is a natural spaceship (described as “Spaceship Earth” by Buckminster Fuller) and all of us are, in a very real sense, astronauts who make up its crew.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Consider the case of Ray Bright, the inventor of “bioflight,” an approach to gymnastics, space travel, and life based on an understanding of what it means to live in a three-dimensional reality. In 1979, Bright was working as a gymnastics instructor at Chico State College in California. He realized that whenever we jump into the air, even just a foot off the ground, we are flying—if we see it that way. With the right attitude and a little more equipment, such as a trampoline, we can fly even better. In space, well, Bright had already worked out many of the basic ideas behind bioflight, but the way the final piece fell into place is an excellent example of dissemination of the Overview Effect. An article in Air & Space magazine stated, [Bright] describes the experience as akin to satori, the Zen state of enlightenment. “I was looking at the famous NASA photo of the Earth floating in space. It’d been made into the front of a greeting card, and the word ‘Home’ was printed on the part of the photo that was just black space. Of course, the idea was that ‘Home’ meant Earth—suddenly, I saw space as home, because in space, everything I’d been trying to do my whole life in terms of movement would be possible. In space, gymnastics wouldn’t be gymnastics—it would be flight. Human flight. Ultimate flight. Bioflight.” [8]

Bright not only taught people basic gymnastic techniques, but his approach was at one time also seen as a potentially useful training method and space sickness prevention technique for astronauts before they went into space [9]. SPACE

AS

HOME

The idea of space as “home” is a truly remarkable shift in worldview for a person who has never been off the Earth. It is reminiscent of some of the feelings expressed by astronauts regarding how much they felt at home in space. Even among writers and thinkers who are cognizant of the Overview Effect, the big insight seems to be that the Earth is our home in a vast and sometimes hostile universe. This feeling is reflected in what many of the astronauts say about their experiences, and in the excellent book, Home Planet, by my friend and colleague, Kevin Kelley. I also worked briefly on a planetarium show at the Museum of Science in Boston, and they titled it, “A Planet Called Home.” Early in my association with the Space Studies Institute, I wrote a paper called “The Stars Our Home: Exploring the Human Implications of Settlements in Space.” As I look back on that time in the late 1970s, the

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title sounds somewhat prophetic. As I have stated more than once in this book and in talks on the subject, “We are in space, we have always been in space, and we will always be in space.” Perhaps one of our biggest challenges is precisely to feel at home in space! Martin Rutte, a management consultant in Toronto, Canada, is another Terranaut. He told of the transformation that he experienced on hearing a talk by Edgar Mitchell. There were about two or three thousand people there, and he was standing alone on the stage.. Behind him, on a rear-view projector, was the picture he saw coming back from the moon, of the Earth with black all around it. He spoke about his experience of seeing that, and I was riveted on the picture. When he talked about coming back and what it was like to look at that and how it altered his life forever, that he saw that we were one planet and we were one universe—there was one instant when it went “click” and I just got it. I knew exactly what he was talking about. I think it was the first time I had that kind of global consciousness directly. [10]

According to Rutte, the insight penetrated deeply and continued to influence his work as a consultant to corporate executives seeking to define a vision and purpose for their organizations. He later commented on my article “Space Exploration and Human Evolution”: “It was all there and I knew exactly what you were talking about. It was just ‘bang,’ an explosion in me” [11]. He went on to integrate the ideas of the Overview Effect, the Copernican Perspective, and the Universal Insight into the training he conducted with his clients. [12] These are just two examples of how the insights that had been the exclusive property of astronauts begin to diffuse into society as a whole. Although it may not be possible to replicate fully the Overview Effect without going into orbit or to the moon, similar experiences are available to us all. They can then be used as foundations for personal growth and transformation. The Overview Institute is dedicated to achieving a global cognitive shift similar to that experienced by the individual astronauts. As cofounder of the Institute, it occurred to me that we could use the diffusion of innovation theory to achieve our goal. As a result, we launched the 1:100 Project, asking everyone who had seen the Overview film to share it with 100 others. If this happened, we would reach 400 million people, or more than 5% of the world’s population. This, in turn, would be more than the 2.5% of early adopters on the Earth Although this may seem ambitious, please bear in mind that a music video called “Gangnam Style” reached 1 billion viewers on YouTube.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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THE OVERVIEW EFFECT

73 AND THE

WHOLE EARTH SYMBOL

There is an “overview,” or experience of seeing the Earth from a distance, and there is an “effect,” or response by the individual or society to this profound experience. If the idea of the Overview Effect as a message is correct, we should be able to detect evidence of the overview experience being disseminated in support of a more peaceful, self-aware, and ecologically careful species. For example, many astronauts return with an intense interest in ecology. From space, it is easy for them to see the interdependence of Earth’s environment and the cost to humanity if anything is done to make the planet unlivable. The ecology movement, which had begun to build a constituency in the 1960s, reached a peak of public awareness in 1970 with Earth Day. This event occurred a year and a half after Apollo 8’s transmission of the dramatic television pictures of the Earth from the moon, and less than a year after Apollo 11’s lunar landing. Robert Poole, author of Earthrise, stated, “As the Apollo astronauts returned to Earth, the environmental movement took off. Earthrise was followed by Earth Day.. Earth Day has become a fixture of American life, and it can be traced directly back to Apollo 8’s view of the Earth” [13]. Using the whole Earth as a symbol, the movement gained momentum and entered the mainstream in the 1970s, supporting legislation in the United States and creating a permanent corps sympathetic to ecological concerns. There are many other examples of the whole Earth’s power as a symbol. Psychologist Peter Russell, author of The Global Brain, wrote, The profound impact of this Earth view has resulted in this picture being used in almost every sphere of human activity. It adorns the walls of offices and living rooms; it is a greeting card, a T-shirt, and a bumper sticker. Ecological movements and planetary institutions incorporate it in their logos, as do educational institutions and business corporations. At one time or another it has been used to advertise just about everything from cars, washing machines, and shoes, to book clubs, banks, and insurance companies. Yet in spite of all this exposure, the picture still strikes a very deep chord, and none of its magnificence has been lost. [14]

The peace movement incorporated the whole Earth symbol into its work as well. For example, Beyond War, which was founded in the 1980s, used the symbol in its logo and on letterheads, greeting cards, and a pin that supporters wore. A card accompanying the pin stated the organization’s belief that nuclear weapons had made war obsolete, and that we must “build a world beyond war.” The message on the card continued, “We live on one planet,

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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with one life support system. The survival of all humanity, all life is totally interdependent.. This pin symbolizes the earth we all share, surrounded ‘by a spirit of good will.’” In the first hour of Beyond War “interest evenings,” the concept that “we are one” would be introduced with the showing of the film No Frames, No Boundaries, including the Schweickart commentary and pictures of an astronaut on an extravehicular activity (EVA) [15]. PLANETARY MANAGEMENT The Overview Effect message is richer in meaning than it appears to be at first glance, and it contains many submessages. One is planetary management, the recognition that if the whole can be perceived, it can be the focus of practical as well as abstract interest. Once we fully grasp that the Earth is an interconnected system, we cannot avoid realizing that it must be managed accordingly. However, planetary management does not mean planetary manipulation. Planetary management should be seen from a stewardship perspective. A regard for all life as sacred becomes a practical as well as moral position when we see the critical role that life plays in maintaining the whole system. If the next step in human evolution is to build a planetary civilization, then we must see and deal with problems and opportunities on a global level. We must also not only observe, but also be able to communicate with the planet as a whole. This message is implicit in the whole Earth symbol itself. Because symbols work at a subconscious level, often unnoticed by the conscious mind, it makes sense that this new symbol may already be having a quiet, though dramatic, effect that will eventually show up in new disciplines, like planetary management. AUTHORITY

OF THE

ASTRONAUTS

The idea of Earth as one system is fundamental to the development of a new civilization of which Earth is a part and a whole at the same time; pictures of the whole Earth are the symbols of that civilization. However, there are many barriers to the achievement of the next step. Julian Jaynes, author of The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, suggested that earlier civilizations, such as ancient Greece, “hallucinated” gods to tell people what to do when they were under stress and required direction. As the situations faced by those “bicameral societies” grew more complex, the hallucinated gods were unable to provide answers, and the rational or “unicameral” mind evolved. In the early 21st century, society has reached several impasse points that the rational mind has

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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been unable to completely resolve, such as the threat to human survival posed by nuclear weapons, terrorism, and ecological collapse [16]. So far, we have not been able to see the path taking us beyond these dangers, and we are looking for guidance. Payload specialist Loren Acton recognized that he has a special status and that his ideas about peace will be more readily accepted because he has been in orbit. Senator Bill Nelson said that being in space confirmed his image of a place where adversaries can work together for peace and that his experience gave his advocacy more credibility. Marc Garneau pointed out that he and other astronauts have become public figures to whom special qualities are attributed [17]. At a time when almost every other authority on Earth is being questioned, the astronauts are being given even more credibility. Space shuttle astronaut Jeff Hoffman says it is not necessary to go into outer space to understand humanity’s next evolutionary steps, that people who remain on Earth can have the same realizations. However, by giving a kind of demigod status to the astronauts, society invests their words with a transcendent authority that can play a significant role in the movement of society beyond the obstacles it now faces. Does the attention accorded the astronauts represent an effort to re-create old gods in a new guise? Consciously, the answer is no. At an unconscious level, however, it may represent a strategic move by humanity to ensure its own survival. As we consider how the Overview Effect is being disseminated, we might ask ourselves, “Is it merely coincidence that one of our major space efforts was named after Mercury, the Greek god of communication, and one for Apollo, the god of knowledge?” Echoes of this relationship may be found in the various religious heritages as well. Angels are depicted with wings because they can fly, and prophets are taken up into the sky in vehicles that traverse the heavens. The domain of God or the Divine is Heaven, which is typically understood to be located above the Earth. Perhaps astronauts, being merely human, should not be given divine authority, but it is easy to see why they sometimes are, and how it might be useful to us as a species.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Chapter 10

SPACE EXPLORATION

AND

HUMAN PURPOSE

It is precisely this shift in viewpoint and what it implies for the capability of the human being and for our view of the universe that makes it so powerful. —Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell There is a difference between intellectual knowledge and experiencebased knowledge. —Space shuttle and ISS astronaut Sandy Magnus

This might be a good time to pause and look back at the quest we set out on at the beginning of this book, that is, to create a “philosophy of space exploration.” Be warned that this is not a task for the fainthearted, and understand that we will do it, in the words of President John F. Kennedy in describing Apollo, “not because it is easy, but because it is hard” [1]. Forging a philosophy begins and ends with an overview, moving into levels of abstraction that are not comfortable for many of us. At the same time, some kind of philosophy is the conscious or unconscious context for practical activity of all kinds. Politicians develop political philosophies and act on them in legislatures when they pass laws for the rest of us. For example, they balance the claims of liberty and equality, and where they come down on those first principles guides their beliefs about the proper role of government. In ordinary discourse, we say that “my philosophy is .” and then follow with a description of basic concepts that guide our actions in the “real world.” So we need a philosophy of space exploration and development that will guide what humanity does as it leaves the planet of its birth and ventures out into the universe beyond. If we had been there when the explorer fish described in Chapter 2 first flopped onto land, we would have seen just one individual of a species engaged in a new behavior. We could not have observed the billions of years of evolutionary steps that had led to that moment, nor would we really know the implications of the event. Even if we hold to a religious view that humans were initially a creation of God, we know that humanity’s early movements into space are occurring against the backdrop of billions of years of 77

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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evolution, which has built the series of systems needed to lift a few hundred individuals out of the gravity well and into a new environment. My colleagues Alex Howerton, Kevin Kelley, and Steven Wolfe have written eloquently about this process [2]. Land exploration didn’t “just happen,” and neither does space exploration. Systems evolved step by step to make both possible. To fully comprehend the meaning of the astronauts’ experiences, one must understand them as part of the story of systems on Earth. The logical extension of space exploration is that it supports the development of human social systems, so that they can function as elements in a wholly new type of system. Building on our prior knowledge of the Overview Effect and its institutionalization through technology, I have called this new structure an overview system.

An overview system is a pattern of organized self-awareness in which the whole is perceived as the context of all the parts within it. An overview system can exist at any level within the universe, from a planet to a solar system to a galaxy and beyond.

At the moment, space exploration is supporting the creation of a planetary overview system composed of the following: † † † †

The physical system of the planet Earth The living system known as Gaia The human social system we call humanity A worldwide technology system, technos

Technos is the worldwide technology system (technosystem) consisting of satellites, networks, computers, tablets, smartphones, robots, androids, and other interconnected electronic entities.

The overview system, like all systems, is a group of parts so related to one another as to form an organic whole. Depending on the point of view, a part can also be a whole, and a whole can be a part in an even larger system. Every system is a whole and a part at the same time. For this reason, they are sometimes called holons [3].

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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The planetary overview system is a holon, functioning in turn as a part in a larger overview system. In this chapter, we will look in some detail at the components of this overview system and reconsider the astronauts’ experiences against the backdrop of that analysis. EARTH

AS A

PHYSICAL SYSTEM

When the solar system formed, the Earth was a physical system consisting of matter and energy and governed by the laws of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics states that in a closed physical system, energy is continuously dissipated into a form that is no longer available for useful work. This is called an increase in entropy, and it is an irreversible process. As it occurs, a physical system moves from a state of maximum order to maximum disorder, toward an equilibrium of randomly moving atoms and molecules. Obviously, if something hadn’t happened, the Earth would be a dead planet today and there would never have been land exploration, space exploration, or any of the other topics discussed so far. What happened was that life appeared on the scene. Unlike their physical counterparts, living systems do not run down. Instead, they maintain themselves by importing energy from the environment, processing it, and exporting waste back into the environment. People, for example, do this every day when they eat food, extract its energy, and excrete bodily wastes. Rather than moving toward a state of disorder, life moves toward a steady state of maximum order, maintaining itself regardless of changes in the environment. Living systems balance entropy within their own boundaries. However, by exporting waste into the larger environment, they actually increase entropy overall. On a global scale, for example, this shows up as pollution. However, once living systems appeared on Earth, a wholly new process came on the scene. Evolution, operating according to its own set of laws, appeared as a counterforce to thermodynamics, offering the opportunity to build new kinds of systems. The advent of living systems also heralds the appearance of information, which R. Buckminster Fuller called “negative entropy.” All evolving systems are in a continuous state of motion in time and space, and information is the fuel that powers this process. As they respond to feedback, systems move through different states. The three most important are equilibrium, in which the system appears to be unchanging, at least for a period of time; change, in which the system appears to move away from equilibrium, but is still recognizable as the same system; and transformation, in which the system becomes something else altogether while still retaining characteristics of earlier states.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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EVOLUTION Let me be clear about something: I understand and respect the fact that some people say they do not believe in evolution. By that, I think they mean “Darwinian evolution.” I am not contradicting that view, but I mean something broader. In my view, the continuing movement of systems through system states is evolution, and as it takes place, more complex structures emerge from simpler ones in response to new information from the environment. For living systems, the Earth has been the primary environment for eons. Climatic changes or other shifts in the information flow have resulted in the rise and fall of thousands of species over time. The key to survival is that as a species, seen as a system, enters into or becomes aware of a new environment, the quantity of new information may be enough to move the system beyond simple changes and take it into a state of transformation. An environment can provide this opportunity for an organism in two ways, both of which are directly related to space and exploration. One way is that the environment itself transforms, leaving it to the organism to adapt or perish. That is apparently what happened to the dinosaurs, which were challenged to adapt to major changes in the Earth’s biosphere (perhaps as a result of the Earth’s collision with a comet, or a large meteor hitting the planet) and evolved into birds. A second method is that the organism, through exploration, can leave an old environment and move into a new one. This appears to be what happened when life left the seas and moved onto land. In this way, exploration is the characteristic of a system seeking transformation to a new level of existence. Passive resistance to exploration is the sign of a system struggling to maintain stability at its current level; however, it is extremely difficult for systems merely to maintain stability. They tend to fall apart or devolve because they are unable to absorb new information as it becomes richer and more complex. The implications are obvious in regard to space exploration. Outer space is an environment that provides human beings with rich new sources of information, encouraging adaptation and evolution. We already see this happening with the Overview Effect. The information that is being presented to us by the astronauts is so powerful and overwhelming that we are still trying to absorb it. So what would happen if humans decided to ignore this knowledge and limited their exploration to Earth alone? Once an environment is totally explored and understood, could a species evolve? CONSCIOUS SYSTEMS

AND

HUMAN SYSTEMS

At some point in the Earth’s evolutionary process, intelligent systems emerged as the next logical step beyond living systems. Intelligence is often White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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seen as something quite mysterious and special, but it is really a more sophisticated means of processing information, providing the ability to learn and change behavior based on the learning. It also allows for modeling, the ability to create an image different from current reality and then modify the environment to fit that vision. This, in turn, provides the opportunity to go beyond mere information and create knowledge, which is information organized with purpose in mind. Beyond intellect alone is consciousness, or self-awareness, which is keyed to a system’s level of evolution and to the whole of which it is a part. Selfconscious awareness refers to a system becoming cognizant of itself as existing both distinct from and in relationship to other systems. For example, the remarks of the astronauts suggest that their nationalism diminished while they were in orbit or on the moon, and they became aware of humanity as a whole system. At the same time, the vastness of the universe reminded them that humanity is also distinct from everything else in space. The shift in their own sense of identity was a shift in what they considered “self” and “other.” How a system identifies “other” is as important as how it identifies “self,” because self cannot exist without other. As Edgar Mitchell put it, “There’s the individual/universal dyad. On the spectrum of consciousness, points of view can be anywhere along that. Most of us are clustered down toward the individual point of view. The moon experience catapulted us toward the other end” [4]. Many people think of the primary “other” as God, an experience that humans have had for millennia. For others, the universe is the primary other, and some might see the universe and its glories as a manifestation of God’s power. How the astronauts felt while in space seemed to be a combination of the power of the experience coupled with earlier upbringing. Some used religious language, others used scientific terms, as all of them tried to explain something no one had experienced before. As intelligent systems become more conscious, they also become increasingly aware of entropy and negative entropy. The issue of how to use energy effectively without being overwhelmed with pollution becomes an essential evolutionary issue. That is why the Overview Effect brings with it a strong ecological warning. Human systems are among the most sophisticated organizational forms evolved to date for institutionalizing intelligence and self-awareness on Earth. They possess the primary properties of other systems, as well as special properties that make them unique [5]. Human social systems, like other systems, evolve. They follow the patterns of equilibrium, change, and transformation and the building up of more complex out of simpler forms. They can also fail to adapt to new situations and become extinct, as the history of past civilizations illustrates.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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The distinguishing property of human systems is that they create and use new technologies as tools of social evolution. In fact, a human system can be defined as a group of human beings evolving together as a whole system and using technology to do so. The word technology is derived from the Greek root technologia, meaning “systematic treatment.” Technology is a systematic treatment of any problem or endeavor, which means that machines and labor-saving devices are only one type. Physical technologies like automobiles, computers, airplanes, and robots represent only one dimension of the technology-creating tendencies of human systems. Physical technologies are key because they lay the foundations for using energy to create information and knowledge. However, although physical technologies provide the basic elements of the process, others are brought to bear to complete the picture. Mental technologies represent systematic approaches to the problems of everyday life in a human social system. They include legal systems (a technology designed to maintain social order), psychotherapies (a technology designed to enhance the functioning of individual human systems), and economies (a technology designed to regulate transfers of goods and services). They are bodies of knowledge built up over long periods of time, so all-pervasive that we hardly notice how they, like physical technologies, constantly change to meet new demands and needs. Spiritual technologies represent an effort to sustain a link to the spiritual experience of the universe, generating a relationship with God, an ultimate oneness, “the Universe,” or “System of Systems.” These often show up in society as organized religions and religious practices, which are only the exoteric or public aspect of spiritual technologies. Throughout human history there also has existed a more private or esoteric tradition that is less well known. Spiritual technologies play a vital role in defining human purpose and feeding values, norms, and beliefs into the domain of mental technologies for everyday use, while also balancing the often traumatic impact of physical technologies on societies [6]. Historically, different technologies have driven social evolution. The advent of Christianity during the Roman Empire had tremendous impact as a spiritual technology. The empire’s efforts to integrate the new information represented by Christian thought into its existing mental technologies failed, helping to bring down a civilization that great armies had failed to defeat. Today, physical technologies are the driving force of social evolution on Earth. Rapid developments in physical technologies are triggering fundamental transformations in our mental technologies and generating a compensatory response in the spiritual domain. Physical technologies are altering the environment in which all systems on the planet exist, forcing both adaptation and evolution. Radically new information is being fed into all

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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systems on Earth, causing some to evolve while others fail to adapt and, instead, devolve. The Soviet Union, for example, collapsed at least partially because the satellites it had pioneered began beaming information into the Eastern bloc and the Soviet empire that undermined Marxist doctrine. If human systems reacted only to pressures from the environment, they would probably become erratic and highly unstable because the outside pressures are changing all the time. In fact, the evolutionary direction of a system is guided by elements within the system as well as external influences. In a living system, the information in a species’ gene pool constitutes one element of its distinguishing properties. In a social system, the inner drive is found at the interface among the physical, mental, and spiritual domains. Here, the system defines its own fundamental worldview as a combination of physical, mental, and spiritual knowledge, and this is where success or failure plays out. This “human technologies interface” is where value systems and philosophies are formed as the foundation of a culture’s sense of vision and purpose. Where these are lacking, the interface becomes unstable, and the system loses energy in trying to define itself. Managers of the system spend their time tinkering with subsystems and feedback loops when the problem is with the value system at the interface among them all [6]. A human system holding to the same ideas for too long will experience itself as being stuck, and can remain in that state only briefly. It must then go into decline or produce events designed to call forth a sense of vision and purpose, moving it into a different system state. These situations are usually perceived as a crisis, but they are also an opportunity, and they often result from exploration. These metaideas and metaexperiences may be much grander and more comprehensive than any that went before, or they may be fundamental challenges to the system’s continued existence. In any event, the social system must transform to take in the new idea or meet the challenge. The Overview Effect, seeing and feeling the unity of Earth, is a metaexperience. The whole Earth symbol is a metaidea based on that experience. The human systems now on Earth will be unable to absorb this new information without going through a fundamental transformation. HUMAN SYSTEMS

AND

SPACE EXPLORATION

Exploration is a movement outward into a larger whole system, feeding off the richer information content of that system and pumping it back into the subsystem as energy. Looking at evolution on Earth, we find a continuing process of exploration since the planet’s creation. Seeing these connections between exploration and evolution offers humanity something new and

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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unprecedented, a method for shaping our own evolution. Space exploration is the ultimate journey from part to whole, one that is for all intents and purposes endless. Because the Overview Effect and other shifts in consciousness resulting from space exploration are metaexperiences (and a society must transform itself to incorporate them), a society firmly committed to space exploration would find it difficult to stagnate. We already find a concrete example of a society—the Soviet Union—that tried and failed to commit itself to space exploration while remaining stagnant philosophically. Ultimately, planning the human space program is equivalent to planning the evolution of human civilization. Realizing the fundamental role of exploration in shaping social evolution is a major step forward in understanding the importance of astronauts’ experiences in space. Their descriptions are the beginning of the construction of the message that leads to fundamental social change. However, there is potentially much more involved than human evolution alone. What may be at stake is the evolution of the universe itself. Let’s consider how that might affect our philosophy of space exploration. Occurring at the same time as the birth of the various national space programs over the past 50 years, a new system type has been emerging, which I call a technosystem. Functioning cooperatively with humanity and the natural system of the planet, its emergence is partially responsible for creating the conditions leading to the appearance of the planetary overview system. A technosystem is a nonorganic interconnected system like that described by the term “Technos.” This new technosystem has evolved from physical technologies and is on the verge of becoming autonomous, approaching the time when it may self-replicate and function as if it had self-awareness. The growth of the technosystem holds out the possibility that the first nonliving, yet intelligent, system will soon appear on Earth. The heart of the system is the microchip, which mimics the structure of the human brain and is present in almost all new physical technologies such as computers, robots, and telecommunication, but increasingly is finding its way into older technologies as well. We have already reached the point where the functioning of some of these systems is beyond human understanding. For example, when the stock market recently crashed for a brief time, no one really knew why, and several observers said the system was too complex to fix.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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The exploration of physical space has been both a cause and a beneficiary of the birth of the technosystem. The Apollo program catalyzed development of the silicon chip, because the moon mission demanded smaller, lighter computers. In the early 21st century, the infrastructure of the technosystem encompasses the world, with computers and robots all over the planet being linked by satellites into an artificial nervous system of enormous capability. The planetary nervous system is encased in the Internet and World Wide Web; as these entities evolve, they will be replaced by other systems. Evolution demands more and more sophisticated information-processing capabilities, and all the humans on the planet working together could not provide what is necessary for the next stage. The technosystem, as an extension of our knowledge development skills, can provide that capability in conjunction with human beings. Cyberspace as we know it would not exist without our presence in outer space, and there are profound ethical and moral principles involved in the emergence of cyberspace as a reality. Until recently, it seemed that the technosystem existed to serve the purposes of humanity and would always function in a subservient role. However, the same might have been said not long ago about humanity in relationship to the natural system of which it was a part, and it is simply not clear that the technosystem will remain in a secondary status forever. It may become a kind of “species” in its own right. The advent of artificial intelligence may prefigure the development of systems that so closely mimic human intelligence and self-conscious behavior that they might as well be considered both intelligent and aware. This line of thinking has led many to take seriously the concept of the “singularity,” that moment when artificial intelligence eclipses human intelligence [7]. There is the distinct possibility that humanity will soon be sharing both the Earth and space with a nonorganic species that is as competent and skilled as we are. Popular culture reveals that human beings are concerned about such a future arriving before we are ready for it. Many years ago, author Isaac Asimov pondered the potential scenarios in his Foundation trilogy, which was as much about robots as it was about space exploration. In the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, a computer named Hal decides to intervene in a critical space mission. More recently, filmmakers brought out the Terminator series, in which the technosystem decides that humanity is a dangerous species and needs to be destroyed. In Battlestar Galactica, the “cylons” begin what amounts to a slave revolt and move on to the elimination of humanity as well, triggering an all-out war. Regardless of how the technosystem ultimately evolves, it has already moved beyond its original limits, and it has become essential to the

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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maintenance of civilization at its current level and critical in taking it to the next one.

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OVERVIEW SYSTEMS REVISITED It generally takes a long time to create new kinds of systems through natural processes. Some 5 billion years ago, the planet Earth was a physical system, matter and energy interacting according to the laws of thermodynamics. It took about 500 million years for simple cells to appear, bringing the first living systems on the scene. Homo sapiens, the prototypes of modern human beings, came on the scene only about 35,000 years ago, and worldwide human civilizations appeared in the past 3000 years. On this timescale, the space age is very brief, but a great deal has happened very quickly. Having lived through it, people find it easy to take these dramatic changes for granted, but if a totally new kind of system is emerging, that is a major development. The dawning of a planetary overview system represents a coming to awareness of a human social system at a high level. It occurs when a civilization achieves an overview of itself in space and time and an experience of itself autonomously and in relationship with other systems. The overview is, of course, symbolized by the view of the planet from space as a whole system, but it is the resulting revolution in thinking that is most important in the emergence of the overview system. Placed against the backdrop of evolution on Earth, the Overview Effect becomes more than just an experience of astronauts in space. It can also be seen as the signal that a new system has been born. A UNIVERSAL PERSPECTIVE

ON

SPACE EXPLORATION

In a piece called “Perspective Is an Interesting Word,” Edgar Mitchell wrote, After months and years of training and study-hours, days, months, and years of perfecting and testing an immense system of man and machine which would place me there in space—all of that was but a foreshadowing of my realization of the place man has in the scheme of the universe. [8]

The question “Why should human beings explore the universe?” is like a Zen koan that has been posed by the universe for all of humanity. The answer is important, but the effort to find it is more valuable because it forces us to think in new ways. A Zen koan is a question the rational mind simply cannot answer. The student of Zen, struggling to comprehend the koan, must leave

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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the familiar levels of thought and penetrate a deeper reality. He or she moves closer to enlightenment not by finding the answer, but by seeking it. The answer may be unexpected and surprising because it requires the student to step into a new frame of mind where relationships among things are radically altered. The secret to answering a koan is often to look at how you are trying to approach the question, and then turn that approach on its head. When the question “Why should human beings explore the universe?” is asked, we tend to answer in terms of how the exploration will benefit human beings, and all the answers sound much the same. However, the answer may be more expansive than only the benefits to humanity, a species that arrived on the scene an instant ago in comparison with the age of the universe. This is painful for humans to consider, but let’s ask what happened to the aquatic animals who ventured onto land millions of years ago. The fish species has derived very little benefit from land exploration, and seen from a purely self-interested point of view, they should have stayed home. In fact, most experts believe that dolphins and whales are descended from land animals who gave up on that environment and returned home to the oceans of the world. We, the successive generations of land dwellers, have been the greatest beneficiaries of the efforts by the explorer fish and its adventurous friends. Land exploration served a much broader evolutionary purpose than the fish could ever have imagined, and space exploration may do exactly the same for human beings. Justifying the enterprise purely in terms of human self-interest may be too narrow a framework for understanding this koan. Turning it on its head requires that we stop asking how space exploration benefits us alone. The question must be answered from a universal point of view, rather than from the perspective of an individual or even an entire species. This shift in perspective, this overview, makes all the difference. Let’s ask the question this way: “From the point of view of the universe as a whole, what is the purpose of human evolution beyond the Earth’s biosphere?” If the whole system organizes the part, supporting it to evolve in ways that are beneficial to whole and part alike, the purpose of human space exploration will not be found in human desires and ambitions alone, but must be viewed as a phenomenon actively encouraged by larger forces. Another koan is hidden in the question “Why explore the universe?” It asks, “What does humanity offer to the universe?” Now the question looks radically different and requires a new mindset to provide an answer. Looking back, we see that the evolutionary pattern of bringing forth increasingly complex systems is clearly being played out on Earth. The planetary overview system, of which humanity is a part, is the most complex to date. This suggests that we have a role to play as part of the overall ecology of the universe.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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It is easy to see, from an ecological perspective, how most species fit into a pattern, fill a niche, and play a role that is beneficial to other parts and to the whole. However, when ecologists come to the human species, they see far too many harmful behaviors. Humans create acid rain, dump toxic wastes, destroy the ozone layer, and accelerate global warming. Even the astronauts, while enjoying the experience of the Overview Effect, sometimes expressed concern about what their own species seems to be doing to the planet. Space shuttle astronaut Jeff Hoffman called the pollution situation “appalling” in a talk at Harvard’s Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Edgar Mitchell, the Apollo astronaut who experienced many profound insights on his lunar expedition, also had a feeling that humanity might be like a malignant growth, a cancer on planet Earth. Beneath that blue and white atmosphere was a growing chaos that the inhabitants of planet Earth were breeding among themselves—the population and technology were growing rapidly out of control. The crew of spacecraft Earth was in virtual mutiny to the order of the Universe. [9]

Ron Garan had a similar realization while on an extravehicular activity (EVA) during his time on the International Space Station: I think in some ways the orbital perspective is the call to action that occurs from the Overview Effect.. The orbital perspective is the recognition of the undeniable and sobering contradiction between the staggering beauty of our planet and the unfortunate realities of life on our planet for many of its inhabitants. [10]

The scientific view is consistent with some religious perspectives. In Genesis, sin enters the Garden of Eden as humans disobey God. For their rebellion, they are cast out into the world and made to struggle and suffer to survive. Although the two paradigms of religion and science seem to be different, their interpretation of human behavior is remarkably similar. Since the Industrial Revolution, it seems that we have been trying to repeal the second law of thermodynamics without fully comprehending it. However, the evolutionary process does not create favorable conditions for a species unless there is at least a tentative function for it to perform. The process is also experimental in that it will go down a particular path, abandon it, and then begin again, sometimes deserting species altogether. Still, certain enabling conditions must always allow the species to exist initially. Thinking about enabling conditions points to a raison d’eˆtre. To find out why a mammal, fish, or insect exists, we look at what is unique about it, rather than what is ordinary. Unique properties provide important clues because they highlight the utility of a capability, not merely for the

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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species, but for the system of which it is a part. To follow the line of thought developed in the discussion of koans, purpose must be understood in terms of the function it serves for other systems. If we were able to grasp the role of human beings in that dimension, we would be able to understand humanity’s purpose in the universe in a way that might appeal to scientists, philosophers, and spiritual people alike. At the same time, it may not be necessary for human beings to understand their role to fulfill it. Some years ago, I made a presentation at a space conference in Atlanta and suggested that the human role might be to seed life and intelligence through the universe. One of the audience members asked if I thought we were like the bees pollinating flowers, and I said yes. More recently, my colleague Steve Wolfe, in his novel The Obligation, has one of the characters say to another, “Without being aware of what she is doing, the bee is fulfilling a vital role of pollinating the flowers, providing an essential reproductive role for the flowers” [11]. Peter Russell suggests in The Global Brain that we do not need to understand our role in universal evolution any more than a cell in our body needs an awareness of the entire organism [12]. This much is clear: the unequaled aspect of the human species from a universal perspective is its role in creating and maintaining overview systems. The overview system, in turn, increases the level of self-awareness in localized regions of the universe. Beyond that, the transportation/communication capabilities of the technosystem suggest that the overview system is designed to disseminate its qualities beyond the boundaries of a specific planet. An overview system is a pattern of organized self-awareness, similar on a larger scale to the sense of self that an individual has. The achievement of an overview on a personal, social, or planetary level is essential to self-definition and self-differentiation, seeing the self as whole and complete and at the same time a part in relationship with other systems. It may be, then, that the reason for human space exploration and evolution beyond the biosphere is to support the development, in turn, of planetary, solar, galactic, and universal overview systems. The development of these levels of consciousness in the universe would be exemplified in humanity by the development of planetary, solar, galactic, and universal civilizations in a symbiotic relationship with natural systems and technosystems. Gaining an overview of the Earth, which has occurred only in the past few decades, heralds the creation of a planetary civilization and planetary consciousness. It lays the foundations for achieving an overview of the solar system, prefiguring the creation of a solar civilization. Barring an evolutionary reversal, there is no reason why the process would not go on throughout our galaxy and the other galaxies. Insofar as human history involves an evolution from lower to higher states of awareness, space exploration supports that process by elevating the

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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awareness of individuals within the human system and encouraging social evolution [13]. Consistent with the spirit of central projects throughout history, the building of successively more complex civilizations in space as central projects of humanity will help people to identify with higher levels of consciousness and social organization, enriching their mental and spiritual experiences. As more overview systems are created and linked together, the final outcome would be for the universe itself to become an overview system [14]. If God is seen as the ultimate overview system, we might expect that this process would bring humanity closer to an understanding of God, although the process could also divert our attention from the divine as we become engrossed in the power of what humanity can do. Still, this exploration could serve a great purpose for humanity. It may be necessary to seek the answer for many years as we explore the universe, and that might be sufficient to accomplish our goals. There is some evidence, however, that the overview hypothesis has a reality to it. Many thinkers have searched for this type of role for humanity within the universe, and they have come to similar conclusions. GAIA HYPOTHESIS The Gaia Hypothesis is closely related to the overview hypothesis in origin and in thought, and it also emerges as something of a detective story. James E. Lovelock, its originator, links it with the Overview Effect when he says: “The outstanding spin-off from space research is not new technology, but that for the first time we have been able to look at Earth from the outside and stimulated to ask new questions” [15]. Gaia: An Atlas of Planet Management, which was inspired by Lovelock’s work, includes the following: When space scientists began devising life-detection experiments, one group suggested that a life-bearing planet might show an unexpected mix of gases in the atmosphere if life were at work. When they looked at Earth in this light, their predictions were borne out with a vengeance. Earth’s mix of gases, and temperature, were hugely different from what they predicted for a “non-living” Earth, as well as for neighbouring planets. [16]

Lovelock began by trying to devise experiments that would detect life on other planets, specifically Mars. As so often happens with Mars, the research led back to new knowledge about Earth. The question Lovelock asked was how Earth’s atmosphere could violate the rules of steady-state chemistry. Why did it not move toward an equilibrium state according to

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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the second law of thermodynamics? He found that “the atmosphere is not merely a biological product . but more probably a biological construction . an extension of a living system, designed to maintain a chosen environment” Life, rather than being a mere passenger on Spaceship Earth, plays a vital role as a balancing and regulating mechanism. “The entire range of living matter on Earth, from whales to viruses, can be regarded as a single entity, capable of manipulating the environment to suit its needs” [17]. If the Gaia Hypothesis is correct, then the Earth, in keeping with the second law, would be much more like Mars if life did not exist here. Life doesn’t just drop in and go along for the ride; it earns its keep by supporting a planet’s evolution. Understanding that living systems have helped make the Earth what it is today puts exploration and the accompanying transportation of living matter to other planets in an entirely new light. Terraforming, or remaking other planets into more Earthlike environments, begins to sound like what has been happening on Earth for millions of years. THE GLOBAL BRAIN, SPACESHIP EARTH,

AND THE

COSMA HYPOTHESIS

In The Global Brain, Peter Russell theorized a “fifth level of evolution” strikingly similar to the overview system, and suggested that human beings are now becoming integrated into a “global social super-organism.” Building on Lovelock’s theories, he called the coming to awareness of this superorganism the Gaiafield [18]. In language similar to Steven Wolfe’s, Russell also posed a paradox, which is that individual awareness might be too restricted to recognize that this is even happening. In a description reminiscent of the earlier analysis of fish consciousness, Russell pointed out that a single cell in a human body “knows nothing of the consciousness that emerges from the living system as a whole”; therefore, “it is not altogether surprising if we find it equally difficult to conceive of evolutionary stages as far beyond us as we are beyond single cells” [19]. The Gaiafield might exist at this moment, and we might not know it except by indirect inference. Russell sees space exploration as Gaia extending her nervous system outward, seeking contact with other Gaias, which is similar to the idea of evolving planetary, solar, and galactic overview systems [20]. R. Buckminster Fuller, originator of the Spaceship Earth concept, believed humanity was endowed with innate and spontaneous drives of hunger, thirst, and species regeneration. These drives probably were designed into humans to ensure that human life and the

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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human mind . ultimately would discover its own significance and would become established and . operative not only aboard planet Earth, but also in respect to vast, locally evidenced aspects of Universe. Mind possibly may serve as the essential anti-entropic (syntropic) function for eternally conserving the . self-regenerating scenario which we speak of as “Universe.” [21]

Fuller envisioned a process beyond entropy and negative entropy, which he called “syntropy.” He argued that humanity is as essential to the universe as life is to Earth. Reading these authors and thinking about the Overview Effect led me to the Cosma Hypothesis. It is basically a scaling up of the Gaia Hypothesis, and suggests that everything in the universe is a part working with the other parts to maintain the whole. Insofar as life is one of the parts, the universe is alive, and insofar as intelligence is a part, the universe is intelligent.

The Cosma Hypothesis suggests that everything in the universe (“Cosma”) is a part working with the other parts to support evolution of the whole. Insofar as life is one of the parts, the universe is alive. Insofar as life is intelligent and aware, the universe is intelligent and aware.

THE COMMON TASK The nineteenth-century Russian philosopher of space, Nikolai Fyodorov, developed the idea of the common task, basing it on a series of striking concepts: The root idea . is that human beings do not have their natural home on Earth; rather they are organisms whose ecosystem is more properly the whole cosmos.. In Fyodorov’s view, everything is alive, from the gigantic suns of distant galaxies to the smallest pebble under our feet here on Earth. Everything is organic: the biggest difference between the life of rocks and the life of human beings is that they live at different velocities in time and at different degrees of consciousness in space. Because people have consciousness in the highest degree, it is their task to “regulate nature,” not just here on Earth, but throughout the universe. [22]

Fyodorov was a true space philosopher! The common task, great purpose, and central projects are similar concepts built on similar assumptions. Although the existence of such a purpose may White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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not be a proven scientific reality, having been described as a plausible future it can be embraced by a species searching for meaning. If humanity were to adopt the great purpose or common task as its central project, that would transform the current view not only of space exploration, but also of human existence. The process of space exploration would then be seen not from our own egocentric perspective, but from a universalistic point of view. The answer to our Zen koan would be that the purpose of human evolution beyond Earth is to make a contribution to, rather than to exploit, the universe. We should also admit that it may be just as important to discover our universal purpose as to fulfill it. The work should be considered in terms of centuries and millennia, rather than years, as the ongoing central project of humanity. Every human being has something to offer, and everyone can participate in a new human space program. If the Earth is a spaceship, we are its crew, and we need to begin acting like a team playing a game that is cosmic in scope. The scientists and technologists can build the spaceships needed for our exploration of the universe, but we will also require visionary political leaders, teachers, philosophers, and others to build our conceptual and spiritual vehicles and keep the various domains of our human system functioning harmoniously. Again, Steve Wolfe has mapped out these personality types and defined their functions in The Obligation [23]. It would be a mistake to dismiss the role a philosophy of space plays in developing an operational space program. Fyodorov was a mentor to the inventor Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, whose elaborations of his teacher’s ideas formed the basis of the Soviet space program. This means that part of the existing human space program has already been operating on the basis of universal principles. If we were to choose a future focused on realizing our purpose in the universe, the work of all national space programs would look far different than they do, and the title of astronaut Michael Collins’s book, Carrying the Fire, would seem prophetic. Humanity’s negative behavior must also be taken into account. It is difficult to imagine that the evolutionary process, having brought the species so far, would want it to spread out into the universe as a polluter, atomic bomber, and creator of toxic waste. Humanity has been irresponsible in its stewardship of the planet, especially in the past 200 years. However, this has been partially a result of ignorance, the lack of understanding that the planet is finite and that populations are growing exponentially. If the overview hypothesis is correct, the process of sending people into space should not only affect the astronauts, but as their insights are transmitted throughout society it should bring positive changes and a more responsible species. We would hope to see people become more interested in preserving the environment, preventing war, and fostering other life-

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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sustaining endeavors. The evidence already presented suggests that this has happened in the environmental area and that it is linked to changes in awareness associated with space exploration. Regarding violence and war, the issue is more complex. In his book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker wrote: This book is about what may be the most important thing that has ever happened in human history. Believe it or not—and I know that most people do not—violence has declined over long stretches of time, and today we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence [24].

Pinker does not suggest that this shift has been caused by the Overview Effect. In fact, he traces the changes in violent behavior to factors that have been relevant for centuries, if not longer. However, his research may lay the foundation for additional investigation as to what role space exploration has played in supporting the evolution of a more peaceful species in the past halfcentury. SHAPING EVOLUTION THROUGH SPACE EXPLORATION Yuri Gagarin, the first space traveler, understood the importance of his situation clearly when he wrote that “the point was not the distance . but the principle. Man had overcome the force of gravity and gone out into space” [25]. The breakthrough was not that Gagarin, the individual, was having such an experience, but that humanity, represented by Gagarin, could see the Earth and eventually the universe in a new way. Remember that evolution occurs when the environment communicates radically new information to a system. In the case of space exploration, the new information is communicated initially to our representatives, the astronauts and cosmonauts, and then to others through a variety of channels. Moreover, the level of technological development necessary to achieve spaceflight coincides with the creation of global communication capabilities so that a large percentage of the Earth’s population can get the message, as it did with the Apollo 8 “Earthrise” image and the Apollo 11 moon landing. As astronauts return to Earth to tell their stories, the Effect spreads, creating the shared context that provides the foundation of a new philosophy and a psychology for a new civilization. This new perspective is at the heart of the planetary civilization that I call Terra and the solar civilization that I call Solarius. To date, these developments have gone largely unnoticed, because a society moving into a new level of existence often takes for granted what once had been extraordinary. In addition, as Peter Russell pointed out,

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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it is difficult for individual “cells” to conceive of what is happening with an entire “organism.”

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Terra is a planetary overview system manifesting as a planetary civilization with a presence in Earth orbit, institutionalized awareness of the planet as a whole, and planetary management as its primary science.

Solarius is a solar overview system manifesting as a solar civilization with a presence throughout the solar system, and based on awareness of the solar system as a whole. The fact that a shift goes unnoticed or is not acknowledged doesn’t mean that it hasn’t taken place. The experience of the Earth as a whole system without boundaries, floating like a jewel against the backdrop of infinite space, is already causing psychological and social transformations to occur. The messages sent from outer space by the sensing organs (astronauts and robot probes) to the body politic of humanity are simply too significant to integrate into society’s paradigms without having those paradigms transform. However, although we have the necessary physical technology to begin our exploration of outer space, we may not previously have seen the possibility of the universal purpose that might stand behind and support our efforts. Each step taken in the old space program has reasserted the need for a new understanding, and the same will be true of the new space program now being born. Biological evolution has been occurring on the Earth for billions of years, human social evolution only for thousands. During that time, the process has been driven primarily by the whole system through the imparting of information to its parts. Humanity, as it becomes more aware of the forces at work, has the opportunity to guide and shape its own evolution, working in partnership with the whole. Barbara Marx Hubbard has written extensively of “conscious evolution” and of space exploration as the birth of a “cosmic species” [26]. Space exploration, in creating overview systems, is the key to this expansive future. Individual consciousness is clearly affected by spaceflight, but the specific personal experiences of astronauts are not as important as the meaning that they and society give to those experiences. From a social

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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systems point of view, their personal impressions are transformed into metaexperiences of great power and importance. We can therefore shape a new human space program that consciously uses space missions to guide the human evolutionary process. BEYOND THE OVERVIEW EFFECT As long as space exploration continues, it will support the development of new civilizations and more complex systems of awareness. As I originally defined it in the 1980s, the Overview Effect typically occurs in Earth orbit. It is a realization of the unity and interdependence of all life on Earth, an understanding that, seen from space, there are no boundaries on the planet except those we create in our minds or through our actions. The Overview Effect is the foundation of the philosophy necessary to build a planetary civilization and a planetary overview system. The Copernican Perspective tends to occur in extended Earth-orbit missions or on journeys to the moon as a realization of a sun-centered (heliocentric) rather than Earth-centered (geocentric) reality. The Overview Effect having communicated the reality of the Earth as a whole, the Copernican Perspective establishes that it is also a part. This experience is the foundation for a solar civilization and a solar overview system. Finally, especially for astronauts who have gone to the moon, there is the Universal Insight, a realization of how small the Earth is in the scheme of things. There is a sense of the unity of everything in the universe and an understanding that our ultimate destiny is to become “citizens of the universe” [27]. This is a recognition that not only the Earth, but also the universe itself is a unity of which we are a part. This experience is the foundation for building a galactic and eventually a universal civilization and corresponding overview systems. The overview hypothesis and Gaia Hypothesis give way to the Cosma Hypothesis. Over time, we may gain a greater understanding of that system of systems, the Creator of all universes. In each of these cases, an intellectual understanding of our place in the universe is replaced by a direct experience, which leads to a shift in one’s sense of personal identity. These concepts can be used not only to look into the future, but also to shape present public policy in developing space programs. For example, the space shuttle was a low Earth–orbit vehicle. From the point of view of social evolution, it consolidated the insights of the Overview Effect and began the understanding of the Copernican Perspective. The International Space Station (ISS) now continues the process of consolidation. Future space missions will consolidate the Copernican Perspective and encourage even more experiences of the Universal Insight. The significant variable in this equation is not the plans for new exploratory

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activities, however. What is new is that we can go about the process with a clear intention, which was not the case with the shuttle and the ISS. Having been passively molded by evolution for millennia, we have gained the knowledge to shape the process by the way we plan our space exploration activities. This shaping elevates our sense of self and our understanding of the role of the human species beyond what it has ever been in the past. Our knowledge of the relationship between space exploration and human evolution puts a powerful tool in our hands as we begin the task of building the new civilizations beyond the bounds of Earth. We have ceased to play a finite game and are now playing an infinite game. This changes everything [28].

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Chapter 11

THE OLD SPACE PROGRAM AND THE NEW SPACE MOVEMENT

We won’t go back to the moon or on to Mars perhaps for another generation, not until something new challenges us. President Kennedy challenged us.. He said we should do it, “not because it was easy, but because it was hard.” —Gemini and Apollo astronaut Eugene A. Cernan Space travel needs a new birth, and if we can tap into the desire to go into space, incredible things can come from it. —Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson

The old space program of the United States endured for 28 years, from the formation of NASA in 1958 until the Challenger accident in 1986. Since then, the United States has been trying to create a new space program that would incorporate a renewed sense of vision and purpose. More than 25 years later, there is still much work to be done. If we are going to have a truly new space program, the most important changes will not be in the areas of physical technologies or management techniques, but in the philosophy that provides the motivational foundation of the program. It should evolve through a deep understanding of human purpose and the larger function of space exploration. No space program exists separate from the society that gives it birth. The original American effort was created by a society at a particular stage of development. Exploration and evolution are full of stops and starts like those that affected the American program. By analogy, the first European attempts to settle in North America were only partially successful, but they did lay the groundwork for the later movement that became the foundation of today’s American civilization. These early settlements also breached a number of ethical boundaries, especially in their treatment of the people who already lived in North and South America, and in the perpetuation of slavery. With hindsight, we have the opportunity to settle the solar system in a different way and with fewer

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mistakes if we have a philosophy that limits those errors. What worked and did not work in those early settlement schemes? The Jamestown settlement, founded primarily to generate profits for gentlemen entrepreneurs in London, almost collapsed during the early years because it lacked a clear vision and purpose to sustain it. The Plymouth settlement, founded as a haven of spiritual freedom, almost failed because it lacked mastery of the physical technologies of the time. It took the Puritans, who created the necessary balance of physical, mental, and spiritual technologies, to be successful in the New World. The Puritans and other settlers in North America succeeded at least partly because they were part of a broad social movement, not an appendage to a narrowly defined government program. Programs are responses to social needs, but movements are a broader, more powerful channeling of the same impulses. The focus in the United States on the space program has obscured the reality of the space movement. Like their predecessors, the Puritans were imperfect. Fleeing religious persecution in England, they limited the rights of others in the new colony, like the Quakers. Early skirmishes with the native peoples presaged all-out war as the settlers moved West. However, they did manage to begin a selfsustaining process, and we can learn a great deal from how they did it. THE NEW SPACE MOVEMENT

AND THE

NEW SPACE INDUSTRY

The U.S. space program was for many years synonymous with NASA, its activities considered a government responsibility carried out by government employees. The United States is now moving toward a new kind of space program, still conducted by NASA and funded by the government, but understood more clearly in the context of the space movement, which is far broader than the program itself. In particular, the space policy now in place allows for far more cooperation with private enterprise and supports the capabilities of commercial space startups. Even without government encouragement, a new breed of entrepreneurs has emerged that is going to be the key to opening up the frontier in the near future. This group has the means and motivation to do so, and much more freedom than governments to take bold initiatives. Many, though not all, of these new entrepreneurs made their first fortunes through the Internet, which is a product of the technological Overview Effect. People like Elon Musk (PayPal) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon) would not have the resources to fund their space-related enterprises if there had been no World Wide Web. Others, like Sir Richard Branson and Dennis Tito, made their money in different fields, but are no less committed to space commerce.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Moreover, the exploration of the solar system and beyond no longer depends on the United States, much less NASA. The world now has many spacefaring nations, each boasting its own space programs, large or small, and we can also see a robust international space movement beginning to emerge. Whatever happens to NASA, it will not mean the end of human space exploration, because the new space movement will push ahead regardless of government actions. A movement, unlike a program, is broad-based and built on shared values. Its goal is to transform society as well as implement specific changes. The Earth now has a space movement that is growing in numbers and influence and reaching out to other constituencies for support. The members are not interested in merely supporting national, or even international, space programs. Rather, they want to live in space, develop commerce there, create new societies, and ultimately transform the old society of which they are currently a part. Members of the “New Space” movement have something in common with their Puritan predecessors, whose purpose was a means to an end, namely, creating a New World. The kings and queens of England, Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands had their own “space exploration programs” in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. Yet even then, the movements were more powerful than the programs because they were propelled by deeper values, and the members of those movements turned out to be more in tune with the future than their rulers and patrons. History is likely to repeat itself. A first principle is that we need a global space program, but for now, let us consider the direction that American space policy could take to help shape our evolution in a positive way as part of the global initiative. The shapers of the new space program ought to be more cognizant of its role not only as an instrument of national policy, but also as an essential element in a social movement of great importance. However, they should go beyond and recognize its relationship to a larger purpose. To do so, they must follow several principles to clearly distinguish the new program from the old and transform its role in society. The following principles offer the beginning of a list that should undoubtedly be much longer: l. The new space program should be seen as part of a greater purpose. It should be designed to focus on fulfilling human purpose in the universe, not merely on exploiting the universe for our own ends. It will still be appropriate to support commercial development, build space settlements, and conduct scientific research. However, none of these should be seen as the fundamental reason for the effort. Space technology should first be used to consolidate and further develop a planetary civilization and then

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a solar civilization. These two tasks alone could be the challenging central project for humanity during the next century. Building these new civilizations is a far greater task than can be encompassed by a space program, or even a space movement, of a single nation. Americans can no longer see NASA’s agenda as “the space program.” It is simply rational to admit the limits of what one nation can do. The success of the old American program, vestiges of which still exist, should be applauded, and the successors that it has spawned should be seen as potential allies, not as competitors to be defeated in new space races. Even as we honor the old space program, we can recall that President Kennedy had wanted it to be cooperative rather than competitive, almost from the start. 2. The new space program should explicitly acknowledge the role of space exploration in catalyzing social evolution. It is time for the influence of space exploration on human consciousness to be seen as a legitimate justification for investing in it. This idea has real policy implications, and some of the leading thinkers at NASA understood it in the past. For example, Jesco von Puttkamer said, “The most important product from space is not Teflon or pharmaceuticals, but peace.” Echoing my own findings regarding the Overview Effect, von Puttkamer went on, “Some astronauts in space, particularly the Apollo crews, come back with a changed perception of the world.. There seems to be a widening of horizons or a shrinking of the Earth.. You come back with a more global attitude. This should be reason enough not to terminate these flights” [1]. Prior to his retirement, Kenneth J. Cox, a former NASA senior manager, explicitly used the concept of the Overview Effect in developing a new paradigm for NASA and its relationship with the larger space movement. My colleague at the Overview Institute, David Beaver, discovered a NASA study that examined rationales for human spaceflight. The study found that the space agency had really never promoted the value of the experience itself. In an article about the Overview Effect written by journalist Billy Cox, the study was characterized in the following way: In a 600-page 2007 study called “The Societal Impact of Space Flight,” analysts speculated decades ago that “Spaceflight might produce transformations as radical as those that the renaissance imposed on the medieval world,” perhaps even “a total reorganization of society.”

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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“Despite a few early studies,” it stated, “the mandate to study societal impact went unfulfilled” as NASA was preoccupied with resolving technical challenges. The need for a broader look, said the “Societal Impact” report, “remains urgent.” [2]

Seen in this way, both piloted and nonpiloted flights ought to be continued in the new space program because both contribute to developing an enhanced awareness of humanity’s place in the universe. The new program should be directly linked to its positive impact on social problems, unlike the old program, which was consistently criticized for being irrelevant to human problems on Earth. NASA should boldly proclaim that there is no dichotomy between space and Earth because the Earth is already in space and will always be in space. There is no contradiction between solving problems on the Earth and going into orbit, because many of those who go there come back with a strong inclination to tackle terrestrial challenges. As Ron Garan said of his experience, “What we are seeing is that the technology we need to go beyond low Earth orbit to the moon, asteroids, and Mars are the same engineering principles we need to apply in the developing world” [3]. Powerful forces in American society have argued that we should not spend money on space exploration when we have not yet solved such problems on Earth as hunger, poverty, racism, and pollution. Those forces cut the funds for the original program precisely because their arguments were never answered satisfactorily. However, the old program has been directly or indirectly relevant to all these social problems, either by changing consciousness—seeing that there are no real barriers between peoples on Earth—or by providing tools directly relevant to solving problems, such as weather and communication satellites. The new space program should continue that tradition, but make it explicit. 3. The new space program should be a research and development arm for the broader space movement. The role of government space programs ought to be opening up the frontier for all of humanity. By reducing its operational burden, NASA can play an important role in supporting research and development that is not immediately profitable for the private sector. It made sense for governments to develop the first space station, for example, not only because of its commercial and scientific value, but also as a test bed for long-term research. In that way, the space station should be considered an initial investment in the infrastructure that will open the space frontier to everyone. Many models in the history of transportation can be applied to the space field. The American government subsidized railroads until they were

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successful on their own. Government provided an airmail subsidy and regulated routes and rates to help airlines achieve stability. The government also built an entire network of interstate highways, justifying it as part of the National Defense Act. For four decades, we have had a high-cost/low-access paradigm of space exploration. We have spent enormous sums to put a few people onto the frontier. We now need a low-cost/high-access approach in which the cost of access to low Earth orbit falls dramatically, thereby opening up the frontier to ordinary people. Only the private sector can do this. In fact, that is the goal of companies like Virgin Galactic; its founder, Sir Richard Branson, has openly declared his goal of “democratizing space” [4]. 4. The new space program should support research in the social sciences and humanities as well as the physical sciences. All areas of human knowledge are affected by space exploration and development, and it is appropriate for the U.S. government to support activities of this type. If the United States is to play a role in creating the new civilizations, it must develop an appropriate mental as well as physical infrastructure. The genius of the United States lies not only in its mastery of physical technologies, but also in its creativity in the realms of mental and spiritual technologies and the blending of the three into a social system. Just as the new civilizations will be far greater than any one national space program can encompass, they will be too great for one national culture to dominate. The United States ought to think about its own contribution as humanity begins to relate to the universe as a whole system. NASA should see the movement into space as not only a technological and commercial endeavor, but also a human effort having impact on every aspect of life. By allying itself with other organizations having a similar interest, NASA can play a major role in helping the United States make its contribution. NASA’s mission in the new program can be stated quite simply: Preserve the Earth, open the frontier, explore the universe. 5. The new space program should be as much about preserving the Earth as exploring the solar system. Just because the word “space” is used here, it should not imply that we are leaving the Earth and its problems to escape into the void. When the astronauts say that seeing the planet from a distance sent the message, “We are all in this together,” they meant just that. As Akihiko Hoshide put it to me, “If we were in outer space without Earth, I don’t think we could carry on” [5]. There should be no split between environmentalism and space development in the new program.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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6. The new space program should remain separate from the military space program. It is naı¨ve to ignore the existence of a military space presence; however, they should remain separate for the foreseeable future. The new space program, as outlined here, is explicitly aimed at supporting world peace, and that purpose may be undermined if military activities are combined with it. We have the opportunity to create a new civilian space program that makes a clear difference in the lives of human beings, but it will never receive wholehearted support from the public if it appears to be a front for the Air Force. One area in which the two programs can be linked is the military’s skills at operating in hostile environments under stressful conditions when necessary. Just as the military has been used for peacekeeping on Earth, it can help to open up the frontier for peaceful purposes. THE HUMAN SPACE PROGRAM AND THE HUMAN SPACE MOVEMENT These six principles provide the foundation for an American space program designed to support a global program devoted to the development of new civilizations on Earth and in space. The next step is for all national space programs to recognize the need for a human space program and a human space movement. The message of the Overview Effect, itself the product of national space initiatives, is to reach beyond national and ideological barriers to create a new level of human unity. A global program and movement do exist, but they are not yet self-aware, just as the Overview Effect existed for years before it was named and recognized. If space exploration is essential to universal evolution, it will ultimately not be confined to national entities. Once this new idea becomes apparent, space exploration can become a human as well as national activity and the foundations of the new civilizations will become more visible. A human space program as a coordinated effort among spacefaring nations is beginning to appear, as in the International Space Station (ISS). Moreover a group of spacefaring nations has come together to develop a roadmap into the solar system that is comprehensive and positive in nature [6]. The emergent reality of such a program is largely a matter of perspective. If we were to take up a viewpoint from orbit, as it were, and give ourselves an overview of human, rather than national, activities in space, we could see it. This emerging human space program has sent just over 500 people into orbit and to the moon. It has also sent some of Gaia’s animals, plants, insects, and arachnids into orbit. It has linked the planet with communication capabilities through satellite technology and sent missions to the moon and probes to most of the other planets of the solar system.

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The human space program has increased our knowledge and understanding of the Earth, solar system, galaxy, and universe enormously. Through the Overview Effect and other changes in awareness that space exploration provides, it has taken planetary consciousness to a higher level. There is also a human space movement composed of people all over the planet, and even a few million people are enough because these are the innovators in adopting the new idea of humanity as citizens of the universe. Their influence grows as they come to know and communicate with one another. A human space program is a liberating idea for everyone. Ray Bright, the inventor of Bioflight, said, “It’s an illusion to think advances in the space program come only from the space program. ‘The space program’ is you and me.. We can help make the future happen as much as anybody sitting in Washington or Houston” [7].

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Chapter 12

VISIONS

OF THE

NEW CIVILIZATIONS

Seeing the earth from a distance has changed my perception of the solar system as well. Ever since Copernicus’ theory gained wide acceptance, men have considered it an irrefutable truth; yet I submit that we still cling emotionally to the pre-Copernican, or Ptolemaic notion that the earth is the center of everything. —Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, Carrying the Fire In the future, I think we will increasingly see ourselves as part of a great continuum. We will have a much larger perspective and will see ourselves as part of something bigger than humanity and as part of the whole universe. —Space Shuttle astronaut Al Sacco, Jr.

Michael Collins is absolutely right. Although we “know” that we are on a planet riding through the universe, our daily experience is no different than that of our ancestors hundreds, even thousands, of years ago. It can take something significant to help us see that our Earthbound concepts are limiting, and to have the vision that Al Sacco is describing. In 1983, I presented a paper, “Understanding Space Settlements as Human Systems,” at the Space Studies Institute in Princeton, New Jersey. I suggested that It might be valuable, as a next step in the evolution of this movement, to begin work on a “Vision Statement,” or “Statement of Purpose.” This document should emphasize a balance among the various dimensions of life in a human system, and clearly state the goals of the effort so that we know what success really means. [1]

For the next two evenings, a group met to draft just such a statement. We focused on building a collective vision by sharing each individual’s personal vision of the human future in space. People shared ideas ranging from spending a week in an “orbital hotel” to wanting to see the “ignition point” at which human expansion into the solar system becomes irreversible. 107

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Sitting there, I had an insight not unlike my comprehension of the Overview Effect 6 years before. Earlier, a panel of space law experts had discussed the point that people are currently bound by the laws of the nations in which they hold citizenship for anything they do anywhere in the solar system. This made sense to me; for example, think of a rocket launched from Texas that accidentally lands in Venezuela and destroys someone’s property. The United States should be responsible for the acts of the company that launched the rocket and help the Venezuelans collect for damages. Looking into the future, though, I wondered what would happen if an American citizen committed a crime on Mars, far from any American police department or military jurisdiction. In 1983 this seemed to be very far in the future. However, we now have an organization that is planning to start a settlement on Mars, and 200,000 people have volunteered to participate [2]. The solar system is a big place, and laws are only as good as your ability to enforce them. We were stretching Earthbound law into outer space, and eventually that “mental rubber band” would break. Then what? Since that time, I have frequently told people that it is only a matter of time before settlers on Mars issue a “declaration of independence” from the Earth. It seemed appropriate in 1983 to allow a new conceptual framework to evolve. I saw this framework in terms of developing a heliocentric civilization as the next step beyond our geocentric civilization. “Solarius” suggested itself as the new civilization’s name. Since then, I have participated in several vision-sharing sessions with people interested in space exploration. All have been inspiring and led to new insights. Individuals are good at creating visions of the future in space, but governments often are not, and therein lies the challenge to today’s space movement. The basic vision of the human future in the universe has remained remarkably consistent since the days of Fyodorov and Tsiolkovsky. With a few variations, the territory of the space frontier has stretched from Earth to Mars, and the infrastructure has included space shuttles and permanent space stations in Earth orbit, with the moon as a staging area for exploration and development. Major additions include Arthur C. Clarke’s idea of satellites in geosynchronous orbit and Gerard K. O’Neill’s blueprint for space settlements built in free space from nonterrestrial materials. The vision is already there. Perhaps it has been programmed into us by evolution, waiting to be activated by exposure to the right environment or set of circumstances. Although it often appears that space activists are on the fringe, they are the true innovators, exponents of an idea whose time has come. If the study of exploration’s history says anything about the future beyond Earth, it is that governments alone are not going to get us there, but people are.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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The human space movement is making progress by using its energy to find allies who share the vision. Space activists sometimes forget that the vision is not just focused outward into space; it includes the Earth as well. Space exploration, like the Roman god Janus, has two faces, one looking inward and the other outward. On the one hand, it makes us more conscious of the Earth, our home. On the other, it opens our minds to the whole system of which the Earth is only a part. This is why an alliance with the environmental movement looms so large. People who don’t care at all about expanding into the solar system will work with you if you are focused on the Earth’s preservation. In describing the feelings of the Apollo 11 astronauts as they headed toward the moon, Michael Collins told a joint session of Congress, “We could look toward the moon, toward Mars, toward our future in space, or we could look back toward the earth, our home, with the problems spawned over a millennium of human occupancy” [3]. The fact is that we must do both. Solarius will come into existence as the new solar civilization; however, it is unlikely to be stable without a strong planetary foundation. The most likely scenario is to move from today’s preplanetary civilization to a planetary civilization providing some level of unity on Earth. From there, the next step will be Solarius. The galactic civilization, Galaxia, follows Solarius; beyond Galaxia there is, dimly perceived, a universal civilization. The human space program is an essential next step in establishing these civilizations. In terms of what is possible, we have barely scratched the surface, but those initial efforts have produced substantial results. After less than half a century, humanity is establishing a permanent presence in orbit, and our initial explorations have already produced a major shift, much of it directed toward sustainability on our home planet. As more human beings explore, live, and work off the Earth, the focus will move to the composition and governance of the new civilizations. To do that job well, we must come to understand the sequence of steps in a more sophisticated fashion, relating them to humanity’s higher purpose. Payload specialist Charles D. Walker has summed up the impact of terrestrial exploration well with his comment that, “Over the decades, global surface exploration has been a strong undercurrent of change in Earthbound society. Changes in perspective will affect overall social structures” [4].

Galaxia is a galactic overview system manifesting as a galactic civilization, based on awareness of the galaxy as a whole.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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In the time of Christopher Columbus, his belief that the Earth was round and the Indies could be reached by sailing west was no minor debating point. The philosophical revolution implicit in this notion made it a really big idea because, if it were true, society would have to transform to absorb it. Little did Columbus realize that a far more important revelation, the existence of a “new world” to the west, awaited him. The Overview Effect is an extension of this insight, with equally dramatic potential for changing society. Today, many people still experience the Earth as a closed system with little or no relationship to the solar system, galaxy, or universe of which it is a part. Their identity and their concerns are with local or national matters, and their psychology is narrowly defined because of it. However, the vision of a transformation in consciousness would not have secured Spain’s support of Columbus’ voyages. He was forced to advance other arguments, including the national prestige and economic gain of Spain and the spreading of Christianity around the globe. Columbus was right that the Earth was round, but wrong about almost everything else. He died, after four voyages to the New World, unsure of his accomplishments and considering himself a failure. Columbus also unleashed years of incredible suffering on the native cultures already established in a world that was not new to them but simply “their world.” We must do better. Columbus was a lot like the explorer fish. He probably could not have imagined the civilizations that would eventually grow up on the North and South American continents as a result of his adventures. They are extraordinary hybrids of the old and the new, a mixture of languages, cultures, and ideologies. Like the explorer fish, Columbus may have served an evolutionary purpose that he could not fully comprehend, both for good and ill. The same process may now be continuing, moving beyond the New World to the New Civilizations—what will they be like? As in that earlier exploratory period, they will probably not be a realization of all our fantasies about how society should develop, but they will be far different from what we have known to date. They will be our next step, and almost every prediction is likely to be wrong in its details. However, we have realized that the Earth is in space, we are in space, and the human future is synonymous with the future on that frontier. That is a major step in the right direction. What has been called “the space program” has actually been the ability to get out, look back at our “natural spaceship,” and see where we are as a species. Barring unknown calamities, that process will go on for the foreseeable future.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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VISIONS

111 AND

REASONS

Most of the original reasons that people offered to the rulers of Europe and England for exploration proved to be relatively unimportant in the long run. To be funded, however, they had to advance concepts their listeners could understand. Unfortunately, today’s explorers are in much the same position. Although they may know that space exploration will justify itself in unpredictable ways, they feel compelled to provide more mundane justifications. Chapter 11 revealed the fallacy of that approach. Once we stop asking ourselves what space exploration will do for humans and start asking what it means to the larger whole, some different answers emerge. We have the opportunity to see what we can give as well as what we can take. From the perspective of the universe, that is a much more appropriate attitude as we begin to explore on a much larger scale. From Earth orbit, it is difficult to perceive any evidence of human existence on the planet. From distances any greater than low Earth orbit, it is almost impossible. When Earth is seen as a whole, the works of human beings can hardly be detected. For all our pride in our accomplishments and achievements, except for continuing radio and television transmissions, we are as invisible to the universe as microorganisms in a drop of water. The virtue in seeing ourselves from this perspective is not to feel sad about humanity’s accomplishments, but to become more balanced in understanding the time frames involved and how far there is yet to go. When we look at future evolution using overview systems theory, it is like the Overview Effect itself—the details of the new civilizations do not reveal themselves, just as the details of human activity are hard to see from orbit. What emerges is the overall structure of these civilizations, especially the moment when they are likely to achieve overviews, namely, become aware of themselves. TERRA

This first level is a planetary overview system that began to emerge when we saw the view of the whole Earth from space in the late 1960s. Terra is becoming aware of itself as a whole and of the rest of the solar system as the primary “other.” The new structure has developed incrementally as Earth, the physical system; Earth C Life Z Gaia, a physical living system; Earth C Life C Homo sapiens C Technos Z Terra, a planetary overview system manifesting as a planetary civilization with a presence in Earth orbit, institutionalized awareness of the planet as a whole, and planetary management as its primary science. I chose the name Terra because, like Gaia, it is an ancient term for Earth and because science fiction writers have used it for years as the name for a

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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spacefaring civilization centered on Earth. James Lovelock’s view of modern Gaia is not unlike my view of Terra. He foresees the possibility that humanity and its complex technologies may be a natural evolution of Gaia herself. As he put it, The evolution of homo sapiens, with his technological inventiveness and his increasingly subtle communications network, has vastly increased Gaia’s range of perception. She is now through us awake and aware of herself. She has seen the reflection of her fair face through the eyes of astronauts and the television cameras of orbiting spacecraft. [5]

As Lovelock pointed out, our feelings, sensations, and capacity for conscious thought are Gaia’s to share. (“It’s Life that’s had this experience!”) Lovelock believes that humanity will be “tamed,” so that the “fierce, destructive, and greedy forces of tribalism and nationalism are fused into a compulsive urge to belong to the commonwealth of all creatures which constitutes Gaia” [6] It is here that the overview hypothesis and the Gaia hypothesis begin to diverge. Although Lovelock’s entire thesis grew out of the space program, there is little mention in his books of the possible outcome of large-scale human migration into space. He is not incorrect about humanity’s being tamed and becoming part of Gaia, but that vision is incomplete. A portion of humanity will choose that path, becoming the stewards of Gaia, gardeners of the Earth, planetary managers for Terra. Not everyone left England for the colonies in the first wave of migration, and not everyone left Europe for the United States during successive waves. For some, a stable, homeostatic society is the best place to be. The value system of the new space movement is quite different, however, and its goal is to escape the steady-state future implied by a limits-to-growth view of Earth. Humanity must be successfully integrated into Gaia, or it is unlikely that humanity will survive for much longer. However, the successful integration of much of humanity into Gaia, and the realization of Terra as the first overview system, is not at all contradictory to the next step, which is the development of Solarius, the solar overview system and solar civilization. The role frontiers play in society’s evolution not only allows civilization to expand outward into empty spaces, but also allows it to consolidate at home (on Earth in this case). Frontiers drain off the energies of some of the more assertive, aggressive, and uncontrollable members of society. It will take a different kind of energy to build Terra than what is needed by Solarius, but both are valid in the right context. Perceived or not, a symbiotic relationship exists between Terra and Solarius.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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SOLARIUS

Terra is a subsystem of Solarius, which will itself not be fully realized until humanity reaches an overview of the solar system comparable to what is being achieved with Earth. Moreover, the conditions of outer space are quite different from those on Earth, and one of the startling outcomes of building a solar civilization might be a major transformation in the human species itself. The formula for this process would be Earth C Life C Homo sapiens C Technos C Homo spaciens Z Solarius, a solar overview system manifesting as a solar civilization with a presence throughout the solar system, and based on awareness of the solar system as a whole. The turning point in the evolution of Solarius is likely to be the appearance of Homo spaciens, a new type of human being highly adapted to the space environment and more capable of exploring and settling it than is Homo sapiens. The emergence of Homo spaciens may be the necessary step for achieving a complete overview of the solar system. We will discuss this important milestone in detail in Chapter 17.

Homo spaciens is a radically different kind of human being, one highly adapted to living in the conditions of space and poorly adapted to the surfaces of planets. GALAXIA

As far in the future as it may appear to be, the next logical step is to join or create a galactic civilization. The most promising formula for the appearance of Galaxia on the scene is Earth C Life C Homo sapiens C Technos C Homo spaciens C Alien overview system Z Galaxia, a galactic overview system manifesting as a galactic civilization, based on awareness of the galaxy as a whole. The analog to the emergence of Homo spaciens at the solar system level is the first contact with a civilization originating in another star system. The process of building a galactic overview system will begin or continue with our participation. Each stage in the evolution of these new systems implies a shift in our understanding of “self” and “other,” and there is necessarily a stage of development beyond Galaxia. Whether his predictions and actions were right or wrong, good or bad, Columbus explored because it was a very human thing to do. I would hope that if every word of this book proves incorrect, humanity would still go out and explore the universe because it is a very human thing to do. Columbus sailed for India and found the New World. In our search for new civilizations, we will sail the seas of the universe and find ourselves.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Chapter 13

AN OVERVIEW

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NEW CIVILIZATIONS

With all the arguments, pro and con, for going to the moon, no one suggested that we should do it to look at the Earth. But that may in fact be the most important reason. —Space Shuttle astronaut Joseph P. Allen Looking out into space was the goal, but looking back has been the most dramatic part of it. —Space Shuttle astronaut John Herrington

As the foundation of a planetary civilization, the Overview Effect is assimilating itself into global society’s awareness. When it is fully integrated, the impact of the Copernican Perspective, foundation of the solar civilization, will begin to be felt. Later, the Universal Insight may become the psychological and philosophical norm. There is also the possibility that all of these shifts will happen more or less simultaneously. An understanding of humanity’s evolving place in the universe is apparent from the comments of astronauts like Ed Gibson. He spoke about the view of Earth from Skylab, and then the realization that the sun is just one of many stars. Ultimately, he expressed the frustration that “as beautiful as our solar system is, there is so much more out there” [1]. Noting that there may be as many as 40 billion Earthlike planets in the Milky Way galaxy, future astronaut Sir Richard Branson said, “For all of us who are working on space exploration, we are only going to be able to scratch the surface, but it is really worth scratching” [2]. As humans begin the task of building new civilizations, we will continue to look inward and outward, forward and back. There is a New Earth, not in any physical changes the planet has undergone, but in the way we see it. No longer “the world,” Earth is a planet, our “mother” in a real sense. Apollo astronaut Russell Schweickart said, “I viewed my mother quite differently when I was in the womb than I did after birth. Afterward, I was able to take more responsibility for her” [3]. Politically, the planet may not be unified, but we can now see it against the backdrop of a unitary vision. We may not know the art and science of 115

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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planetary management, but we can perceive it emerging from such existing fields as Earth system science. As we build the new civilizations, we may not be fully weaned from the Earth, but we can see that our destiny lies outside her womb. Humanity has not yet made its declaration of independence from the Earth, but we are moving in that direction. We are well into the new millennium, and it makes sense for humanity to discover a new role for itself at the dawn of a new era. Could that role for humanity for the next thousand years be to explore the universe and define our place within it? As this great work begins, the question naturally arises as to whether the outlines of the overview systems now evolving can be more fully known. To answer that question, we must understand that the theory does not yet yield much detailed information about the new civilizations. Applying the model to issues of the future provides an overview in which milestones, turning points, and next steps can be identified. However, it is best left, for now, to science fiction to fill in the blanks, because sci-fi writers often do a much better job of that than do futurists. To go further requires that a number of additional research efforts, described in greater detail in later chapters, begin as part of the human space program. However, it appears that an initial overview is the most valuable service the work can offer right now. It produces a shift in awareness of what human purpose in the universe might be and, from that standpoint, suggests specific actions that individuals can take to exert creative impact on the future. One key is to draw a distinction between predicting the future and creating it. Predicting the future of the new civilizations would require us to ignore our own expectations and wishes and project current trends into the next millennium. Creating it allows us to impose our expectations and draw out a vision of how we would like the future to unfold. Ultimately, the goal should be to stimulate new thoughts and ideas, not to impose a rigid new ideology. We ignore this point at our peril, because “big ideas” in the past have too often been turned into totalitarian prescriptions of what must happen. Like space exploration itself, our goal is to explore, not judge what we will find. In traveling on this expedition, think of yourself as a future citizen of the new civilizations, a person who may bring forth the vision that changes history. In terms of the human future, we are at a time of seed planting. Events that appear insignificant in 2014 may appear critical in 2050, whereas events that appear important now may fade in significance. The time frames involved are enormous. Our sun will become a red giant in 8 billion years, ending the life of the solar system as we know it. Although 8 billion years seems an unbelievably long time, about 5 billion years have

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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now elapsed between the creation of Earth as a physical system and the present, when we can see an emerging planetary overview system. Eight billion years is a long time only in terms of a human lifespan. To the universe, it is just another moment in eternity. This also means that specific actions taken today will have significant ramifications over a long period. At a time when the human species has created the means to destroy itself and most of life on Earth, it is a moral imperative that our work address the question of how we can turn events in a positive direction. There are a tremendous number of variables to consider when we try to think about creating the future. Even those who have blazed the trail for later pioneers claim no special insight, only a sense of its enormous scope. Asked where space exploration might lead, Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins replied, I don’t know any more about it than the sci-fi writers, but if you go off to the edge of the universe and look back at our corner, you see a lot of stars. Some of those systems are surrounded by planets.. If we make the most pessimistic assumptions, we are looking at ten to the fifteenth power planets that are suitable for life. We have figured out how to leave, but not how to go anywhere.. Einstein said it would take a long time to get anywhere in the universe. But human beings will have the curiosity to want to go farther away and see what’s out there. We will discover “delectable planets” and want to go there. [4]

That human beings will want to populate the space frontier is a near certainty. It is going to happen, and the issues concern clarity of vision, goals, and objectives. At the same time, many are concerned that if we do not get into space soon, a catastrophic event, such as a nuclear war or environmental catastrophe, will set back civilization irretrievably. War and space exploration are alternative uses of the assertive, exploratory energies that are so characteristic of human beings. The two may also be mutually exclusive because if one occurs on a massive scale, the other probably will not. A nuclear war would either lead to the extinction of the human species or set civilization back so far that it will take millions of years to achieve spaceflight again. On the other hand, a major commitment to a human space program could result in the rechanneling of the aggressive human energies necessary to avoid nuclear confrontation. Prophecies ranging from the ancient Maya to other Native American tribes and the Christian Bible predict that the world as we know it will in fact come to an end, and the implication is that we cannot change our fate. Still, we must do our best.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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PIONEERING

THE

SPACE FRONTIER

Senator Bill Nelson fulfilled a lifelong dream when he flew on the space shuttle in the mid-1980s. That flight confirmed his own view that the United States needed to go out and open up the frontier he had seen with his own eyes: “It’s very important for us to have a robust space program to complement the character of the American people as adventurers and explorers. If we are to fulfill our potential, we have to act on that characteristic” [5]. In the mid-1980s, it fell to the National Commission on Space to restate humanity’s perennial vision of space exploration and development. Its report, Pioneering the Space Frontier, stood out among similar documents in that it not only laid out a clear technological scenario, but also articulated the values that should guide the American space program of the future. The document may eventually be seen as a foundation for the development of the new civilizations, marking the transition from the old space program to the new one with hints of the human space program yet to come. Now nearly 30 years old, it is not the only book of the past decades that manifests the new consciousness I have been describing, but few other documents have the credibility that Pioneering the Space Frontier had at the time. NASA lent technical support to the commission; a former NASA administrator, the late Dr. Thomas Paine, headed it; and an active astronaut, Kathryn Sullivan, served as a member. The commission included distinguished citizens from a number of fields, including Brigadier General Charles (Chuck) Yeager, the test pilot who personified Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff, and Neil Armstrong. In addition to the credibility generated by its members, the commission, by holding public forums in cities across the country, increased the sense of public involvement and participation in the development of the final report. Pioneering the Space Frontier placed space-related activities in a context of vision and purpose with an explicit mission for the space program over the next 50 years. The report included a mission statement and a rationale that not only linked space exploration and development to the physical technologies required to settle the inner solar system, but also laid the foundation for the necessary mental technologies in its initial chapter, “Declaration for Space,” which described the human dimension of space exploration and the role that fundamental values play in the enterprise. The commission demonstrated its understanding of the relationship between prediction and creation in the chairman’s letter to those who participated in developing the report: We have outlined a bold vision of the next 50 years in space, but we stress that we are not attempting to predict the future, but rather to show

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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what America can make happen on the space frontier if we determine to lead mankind to new worlds. [6]

The commission also acknowledged that this is a time for new beginnings, not unlike the early days of the American republic. In particular, the term “Declaration for Space” recognized that the day will come when people on Earth must make decisions as momentous as those made by the American Founding Fathers in the late 18th century. With its mandate to look ahead to 2035, the commission could not avoid the question of whether humanity will make a psychological break with Mother Earth just as the American patriots made a political break with England. A presenter at one meeting summed it up when he said that if the commission’s plan were indeed to be bold and visionary, “the umbilical to Earth must be severed, or at least severely nicked” [7]. The commission took a stand for the universe as humanity’s home and its destiny; the “Declaration for Space” is the modern version of the Declaration of Independence. It is also important because the relationship between the frontier and freedom is a powerful concept in the minds of many in the space movement. The commission’s implicit commitment to a new heliocentric civilization is a major step that may not be evident to the casual reader. But by the same token, the importance of the Declaration of Independence was not fully recognized until after the Revolutionary War [8]. For the past four decades, space exploration has been thought to be primarily a scientific and technological endeavor. The commission confirmed that space exploration transcends technology and embodies universal human values. Like the commissioners, the founders of the United Sates could not predict the complex issues that lay ahead of the nation. Therefore, they focused on drafting basic principles that would express the fundamental values of American society and remain useful for the indefinite future [9]. Just as the Declaration of Independence laid the groundwork for the Constitution, the commission’s report lays the foundation for the constitution of a space-based civilization [10]. The report’s mission statement enunciates a pioneering mission for the 21st-century United States: To lead the exploration and development of the space frontier, advancing science, technology, and enterprise, and building institutions and systems that make accessible vast new resources and support human settlement beyond Earth orbit, from the highlands of the Moon to the plains of Mars. [11]

The commission called on the United States to lead other nations into space as a challenge and inspiration to all of humanity. This philosophy for a White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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national space program is in keeping with the need for a human space program that includes, but transcends, all the national programs on the planet. Perhaps most important, the commission advocated the human settlement of the space frontier. Human settlements in space, an essential feature of the shift from geocentric to heliocentric thinking, are the cornerstone of building a solar civilization. Finally, the commission defined the physical limits of the space frontier with the words “from the highlands of the Moon to the plains of Mars.” This phrase made the commission’s vision of the future specific. Having proposed a mission for the next 50 years, the commission outlined its implementation in a value system, provided by the nine principles that make up the Rationale of the Declaration for Space. THE RATIONALE Just as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” the commission stated its principles as self-evident truths. The rationale is a system of which the nine principles are subsystems; the principles also relate to one another. Each is complete in itself and could provide part of the foundation of the laws that must be written as the new civilizations are established. Just as volumes have been written on the meaning of free speech in specific cases, a great deal may be written about the meaning of the first principle that the solar system is humanity’s extended home [12]. As humanity expands into the solar system, our species may become radically different from what it is today. No longer confined to Earth, and growing outward into a much larger space, humanity in the future will become increasingly unpredictable and uncontrollable. The founders of the United States faced a similar situation. Clustered on the eastern seaboard of a vast, unexplored continent and poised at the edge of the Industrial Revolution, they could not know the precise evolution of our society, so they bequeathed to their descendants basic principles with which to create a new world. Space exploration is an essentially human enterprise that meets deeply felt human needs. Such nonscientific but very human characteristics as love, hope, and spirit are essential ingredients in this effort. The values that shape our efforts will be far more meaningful to us and our descendants. Although the commission did not use overview systems terminology, it laid out a scenario for solidifying the emergence of Terra and building the first stage of Solarius. In addition, although its report was American in emphasis, it could easily be part of the basic agenda for the human space program. Senator Bill Nelson commented that the National Commission on

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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OF THE

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Space report “could have been written in Moscow as well as in Washington; it could have been written ten years ago or it could he written ten years from now, and it would be essentially the same thing” [13]. Building on the commission’s work, we can now answer some of the questions it did not address, such as relationships between Earth and space settlers, contact with intelligent life, and the role each person can play in building the new civilizations. We can also take note of a successor document to the commission’s report, the “Declaration of Vision and Principles” that was issued at the founding of the Overview Institute in 2008. Both organizations put forth a “declaration” and both look back to the Declaration of Independence for inspiration. However, the commission focuses more of its attention outward into the solar system whereas the Institute is concerned primarily with the potential impact of the Overview Effect and how disseminating its message can improve life on Earth. In keeping with that contrasting perspective, the Overview Institute states that it is issuing a “declaration of interdependence.” Its emphasis is on the interconnected nature of all life on Earth and the often-repeated astronaut statement that “We are all in this together” [14].

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Chapter 14

MILESTONES

AND

TURNING POINTS

We will explore our entire solar system in the next 400 or 500 years, but we won’t be able to go beyond that point.. I believe it’s possible, but it’ll be a long time. —Payload specialist Marc Garneau I believe that exploration of the universe by the human species is as inevitable as the fact that we exist. It’s something that has a value you can’t always quantify or measure. —Space Shuttle astronaut Bonnie J. Dunbar

Many years ago, Democratic Senator Spark Matsunaga of Hawaii suggested in an Omni magazine article that the American space community, led by Wernher von Braun, had its sights set on a space frontier with Mars as its outer boundary before the Apollo program. He said, From the beginning, NASA planners shared von Braun’s aspirations for a Mars mission as the primary target of our space program. But in the spring of 1961 John Kennedy needed a relatively quick and dramatic space accomplishment, so he sent NASA racing to the moon instead. [1]

Matsunaga reminded us that Robert Goddard, whose work in rocketry laid the foundation for the American space program, had a vision of “the planet Mars, red and gleaming in the darkness of space” while sitting in a cherry tree in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1899. Goddard imagined a vehicle that would take him to Mars and “spent the rest of his life working to turn his vision into reality” [2]. At the same time, in Russia, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was developing a 14-point master plan for the settlement of space; his ultimate goal was also Mars. And the motto of his successor, Frederick Tsander, was “On to Mars” [3]. In the mid-1980s, at the congressional hearings on the National Commission on Space’s report, one of those testifying said that he had no doubt that the scenario laid out by the commission would be accomplished: There would be spaceports, moon bases, and outposts on Mars. The only 123

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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question would be what language would be spoken: Russian, English, or something else [4]? More recently, both Bush administrations set Mars as a goal, as has the Obama administration. As we noted earlier, an organization called MarsOne sent out a call for volunteers to take a one-way trip to Mars, with the intent of settling it. Some 200,000 people responded. And Dennis Tito, who paid some $20 million to the Russians to take him to the ISS and became the first “space tourist,” has announced his goal of sending a man and a woman to orbit Mars and return as part of his “Inspiration Mars” program. Mars holds a fascination for human beings that other planets do not. Is this because it is the most Earthlike, because it is the most interesting, or the one we could most likely settle? Some have speculated that we are connected to Mars because we are “Martians.” The idea is that our ancestors fled the red planet when it began to lose its atmosphere and came to Earth thousands of years ago. No one can really answer this question right now, but the mystery of Mars’ attraction to Earthlings is part of the exploratory impulse that pulls us out into the solar system. Let’s assume we are going to Mars, that we are going to the moon, and even that large numbers of people are going to build settlements in free space—what are some of the issues that this vision raises for those of us confined to the Earth’s surface today? SYSTEMS CYCLES REVISITED The systems cycle of equilibrium, change, and transformation has been at work throughout the life of the human space program, which reached out with new exploratory efforts, followed up with times of stability during which small changes and adjustments occurred, and built up again until another moment of exploratory transformation took place. In the foundation era of the new civilizations, these patterns will continue to appear as exploration, enterprise, and settlement. Social evolution will accelerate as the space frontier opens. “Pioneering the space frontier” is itself a metamessage, holding out images of openness and possibility, of infinite games and infinite economic growth, but human society in its present form cannot take on this challenge effectively. Each interested nation-state will have to reorganize itself to participate fully and learn new ways to compete and cooperate. The more committed to space exploration a society becomes, the more it will change. As the message of the Overview Effect diffuses worldwide, leading thinkers will begin to see the emerging outlines of the human space program and start to shape the policies of their countries to accommodate those insights, which will accelerate the process. The key to how the future unfolds

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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will be the extent to which participants understand the vision and purpose that is being revealed in this evolving human system. Three milestones must be achieved to maximize the available opportunities.

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DEVELOPING

A

NEW MODEL OF REPLICATION

Colonization is a typical example of replication in a human social system. It occurs when what we might call an originating system reproduces a version of itself and projects the replication in a new place. For example, during the periods of exploration on Earth, leaders cited national prestige and economic gain as reasons for exploration, enterprise, and settlement. In the modern era, material benefits to the sponsoring nation are still a motivator. Yet, there are always unintended consequences. Spain’s view of the New World, England’s hopes for its colonies, and most of today’s visions of the space frontier are projections outward from the perspective of the subsystem (nation-state) of a whole system (humanity), and this produces tunnel vision. By definition, the perceived vision and purpose of a subsystem is less comprehensive than that of the whole system. In the case of space exploration, the building of overview systems throughout the universe may be the purpose, but a government space program will not be based on that reasoning unless there is perceived payoff. That would require an entirely new way of thinking—overview thinking—that is in short supply right now. For this reason, the consciousness of the leaders must be raised before a higher purpose can be seen as a justification for exploration. Colonization is an example of how past originating systems failed to achieve their stated goals when they replicated. The problem has been in the goals, which are usually focused on political power or economic gain. From the perspective of the whole human system, replication is an opportunity for personal, organizational, and social transformation. On any frontier, individuals who choose to be pioneers can create a new life in a new society. Innovative organizational structures, such as the joint stock company of the 17th century, have to be created to bring about the replication process. It is also an excellent opportunity to experiment with new forms of government, as the American example clearly demonstrates. From the perspective of planet Earth, replication has served a larger purpose. Spreading the human presence throughout the biosphere was a step toward the larger vision of humanity disseminating conscious self-awareness throughout the solar system and beyond. In that sense, replication is an extremely successful evolutionary strategy, even though it may not achieve the results foreseen by the originators.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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The American Revolution became a matter of importance to all people, bringing forth a new kind of political system and triggering a sympathetic revolutionary response in France and elsewhere. The British, having hoped to extend their power and influence by establishing a strong presence in the New World, found themselves fighting a losing war against life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in North America, then struggling to contain liberty, equality, and fraternity in Europe. Unintended consequences, indeed. By analogy, if the leaders of Earth think that we can plant a settlement on the “plains of Mars” without that having an impact on the home planet, they are defying history and being extremely shortsighted. Great Britain’s pattern of loss after gain was repeated in many colonies, but once the British realized their limitations and allowed the empire to be transformed into a commonwealth, they developed worldwide influence and importance because of their value system and heritage, rather than by force of arms. Overall, creating democracies and republics in both the Old and New Worlds has been a positive development, and even the British benefited in the end. However, it goes without saying that it would have been much better if all the pain and suffering caused by imperialism could have been avoided. Imperialism and colonialism, as opposed to exploration, assume that colonization is a means of extending the reach and power of the colonizer at the expense of the colonists and indigenous peoples. It implies a psychology of control and exploitation, a maintenance of the status quo. When this happens, the original system loses the strongest benefit of exploration, which is social evolution. In space exploration, the question is what steps to take once the investigation period begins to make a transition into enterprise and settlement. The colonial model is only one of many possible approaches, and the time has come to consider other ways of answering the question as humans move out into the solar system. For example, from an American point of view, the statehood model is the least radical and has the virtue of having been the frontier model in the past. In theory, then, American citizens might develop new settlements in space as territories of the United States, eventually applying for statehood. This model fills a number of conceptual gaps, but this approach may well be illegal under existing space law, which does not allow any claim to territory in outer space [5]. The statehood approach also seems provincial as we talk about creating a global space program. Don’t we need a template that recognizes the Earth as the originating system? The Antarctica model is encouraging in that many nations maintain scientific expeditions there but none holds territory, and there are no military forces on the continent. It is a zone of relative cooperation and peace on a planet of competition and war. Antarctica offers other tantalizing analogies with the space frontier. It is a hostile, remote environment similar to Mars in

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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many ways, including temperature and climate. As in space, its primary immediate payoff is scientific research, and it can support relatively few people. In fact, the ISS is a lot like Antarctica in terms of its governance. This model could work well in the exploratory stages but stops there, and is not viable in the periods of enterprise and settlement. It has stabilized at exploration, an approach that might not work if there were current plans to create wealth-producing enterprises or foster large-scale human settlement there. However, it may be that in the short term the Antarctica model can be used in space, with the understanding that it might have to give way to something different in future years. The international organization model takes a different tack by assuming that nation-states will continue to be the dominant political form during the early years and that they will project their current modes of thinking and acting into the solar system. Nations cooperate on major economic and social issues, when mutual self-interest dictates their doing so. As activities on the frontier increase, so will the need for an institution to play a mediating role, offering the opportunity for both national space programs and a more comprehensive human program to evolve. Although it may sound farfetched, one of the most viable models might be human parenting. In this approach, the replicated systems in space would be viewed the way people think of their children. When the human parenting process works well, the parents bring their children into the world as an act of commitment, then share the burdens and pleasures of bringing them to maturity, realizing that the children will leave home finally and establish their autonomous existence. Although there is great personal satisfaction to the parents for having raised their children, they usually do not receive material benefits from their being able to control and exploit the children. On the contrary, from the viewpoint of pure self-interest, it isn’t rational to have children! The costs and responsibilities do not fit into a simple cost-benefit matrix. Suppose, then, that people on Earth thought of themselves as parents of the new civilizations. In creating these new societies in space, independence and autonomy could be built into the design from the beginning. Would the pride of parenthood be enough to justify the adventure? Perhaps. The metaphor of Earth as our mother has been used often, and the parenting model is also consistent with the value system of those who are apt to pioneer the space frontier. Although many space-related efforts are government sponsored, there is a growing private interest in pioneering the frontier. A settlement of the type envisioned by the Space Studies Institute in the 1970s, which assumes that extraterrestrial materials can be used to develop habitats for up to 10,000 people in free space, will presumably want to develop its own governing system.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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These settlements resemble those of the Puritans in early New England, who began their colonies loyal to the Crown but determined to build a “city of God” in the New World. It was not surprising that their descendants became the most outspoken proponents of independence when England tried to restrict their development in the 1770s. We should realize the need to think creatively, and perhaps radically, about these issues now. The thought that we give the matter today may determine whether the future is peaceful or filled with conflict. SHIFTING IDENTIFICATION

The nation-states of Earth seem to be the main form of political organization because they are what all of us have known, but they are a recent system and exist because they have been able to create and maintain an identity that rests ultimately on the force of arms—the state’s ability to defend itself and maintain its territorial integrity. The state also exists by agreement, that is, the willingness of its citizens and those of other nations to respect its identity. The demise of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites shows that even the most brutal dictatorships cannot survive in the face of massive popular resistance. The creation of nation-states is a product of a continuing search for new and more effective political forms. In the past, the process has produced tribal systems, city-states, and empires, but the secular nation-state appears to be the optimal form for this time. Even so, it has competitors, like the Islamic theocracy, and the outcome of that particular competition remains to be seen. However, political systems are no more immortal than human beings. They act in their perceived self-interest to extend their existence and avoid dissolution and death. They can die a physical death when another nation overruns and dismembers the state or it is destroyed by internal insurrection. They can go through an identity death, when the state gives up its sovereignty by merging into a higher order system. They can also split into new nations, as did Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union. War and insurrection make political leaders uneasy, and for good reason. However, identity death can be just as frightening because the end result is the same. Fear of identity death will be a key issue in the evolution of Terra and Solarius. The founders of the United States had to grapple with this issue in creating a constitution for the country. The states, having just won their independence from Great Britain, jealously guarded their sovereignty, and it was only because the Constitution allowed them to retain some of that sovereignty that they entered into the agreement. When the United Nations

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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was formed, fear of identity death was so great that the founding states provided the organization with almost no powers over their individual sovereignty. Today, international organizations have encroached on national sovereignty as never before, but the nation-state remains the operative unit on the world stage. Whereas an originating system (colonizer) justifies replicating itself in terms of its self-interest, those who carry out the mission soon develop their own interests based on their experiences in the new. Even with brief human experience in space, conflict has already appeared, especially in longer duration missions. NASA’s Mission Control, on Earth, often wants the astronauts to keep to a rigid, predetermined schedule that will produce concrete accomplishments. However, the environmental conditions in orbit, coupled with astronaut needs, sometimes leads to problems between those on Earth and those in space. The people who first go to the moon would probably remain loyal to their home nations in the beginning. After several years, however, the United States, Russia, and France would not be their daily reality. These countries would become abstractions appearing and disappearing on Earth’s surface as the planet rotates on its axis 240,000 miles away. In a crisis, these “Lunarians” would be more likely to rely on themselves than to request help from Earth, a minimum of 3 days away by spaceship. Being independent becomes an evolutionary virtue, whereas obedience to a distant authority has doubtful benefits. The first people to go to Mars will have a similar, magnified experience, because it takes up to a year, rather than 3 days, to get there. And, as Gene Cernan pointed out, when you are outside the space/time coordinates of Earth, you ask yourself the question “Where really am I in space and time?” [6]. Future “Lunarians,” “Martians,” and dwellers in space habitats are likely to question their ties to Earth and the political units they no longer can see. It took some 150 years to complete the process when Great Britain established its colonies in North America, but in a more sophisticated and rapidly changing time, the issue may mature more quickly. When their sense of identity shifts, the space dwellers will want to create a new identity more in harmony with local conditions. At that point, the first major political crisis will occur in the evolution of the new civilizations. For this reason, the models discussed earlier are important because the originating and replicating systems will act out of their models of reality at the time. An originating system acting out of a colonial model will react harshly, whereas an originating system acting out of a parenting model would be more likely to react with understanding.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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EXPONENTIAL GROWTH AND

FRANK WHITE THE INFINITE

ECONOMY

Most scenarios of future population growth beyond Earth are conservative because it is so difficult to see beyond today’s realities. However, the right conditions will lead to explosive growth and a complete change in circumstances. Growth in any system occurs at different rates, depending on the interplay between barriers and inducements. Populations can grow arithmetically, with incremental periodic additions, or exponentially, doubling and tripling rapidly. The growth rate in human systems depends on the carrying capacity of a society, which in turn depends on many variables, some of which, like food production, are quantitative and some of which, such as how human life is valued, are qualitative. The positive feedback loop of birth rate increases population, whereas the negative feedback loop of death rate decreases it. Artificial intervention during crises may temporarily disturb the working of these loops, but over time, the carrying capacity dominates. The Earth’s population has been growing rapidly since the Industrial Revolution, and the resulting problems, including desertification, acid rain, destruction of the Amazon rain forest, pollution, and the greenhouse effect, have been well documented. The situation resembles that of a baby in the womb. Having used all the resources its mother can provide, the infant grows too large to remain in its protected environment. For the good of the mother and the baby, the child has to be ejected or die. One response to global environmental issues emerged in the 1970s as the “limits to growth” movement. Advocates of this position argued for a society that consciously restrains its expansion to preserve the planet. This makes sense for future Terrans, but it sounds like a doctor who is an expert on wombs but doesn’t understand birth. He or she might analyze pregnancy as a disease and conclude that stopping the embryo’s development is the solution to the problem. Delivery is, of course, the real answer. Can the space frontier support humanity growing exponentially? The needs on the frontier will be the same as on Earth to support the complex technological civilization that has become the hallmark of human activity: ample resources and relatively inexpensive energy. Studies conducted by the Space Studies Institute in Princeton, New Jersey, have shown that the resources necessary to begin building a space-based civilization are present on the moon and the asteroids. Energy is freely available from the sun without the interference of a planetary atmosphere. New developments in closed ecological systems, or biospheres, suggest that “miniplanets” can be created where people can grow food and initiate self-sustaining activities [7]. Using extraterrestrial materials for building space habitats and planetary bases obviates bringing costly materials from Earth, which opens up dramatic new possibilities for the growth process to

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take off. The primary barriers are linked with physical technologies, especially the high cost of getting into Earth orbit. Exponential growth will follow a shift from the current high-cost/lowaccess paradigm of space development to a low-cost/high-access model, but cannot come before that. Low-cost access will not lure people to the space frontier if there is not an attractive force to draw them. On the surface, migration is simple: people move from areas of low opportunity to areas of high opportunity, and a few innovators are always willing to be the pioneers when a new frontier opens up. Humans and frontiers attract one another, but if conditions are too hostile, as in Greenland and Antarctica, populations remain small. The frontier is a deceptive environment because large sectors of Earth’s population who do not fit the image of pioneers could benefit from living in a low-gravity setting. Those who are physically handicapped, in particular, would probably love to live there. People who can’t walk may even have an advantage in an environment where legs are relatively useless. Elders might be more comfortable in a situation where the powerful skeletal and muscular systems favored in a high-gravity environment are unnecessary. One of the greatest dangers to older people is falling, which would not be a problem in zero g. Those with weak hearts might find space attractive because the heart can pump with less vigor when it isn’t working against gravity’s resistance. With low-cost access, hospitals, hotels, rest homes, and even apartment buildings would be reasonable ventures for the entrepreneur. Consider the fact that many people commute to work from suburban or rural homes that are farther from the city than low Earth orbit is from the surface of the Earth. In fact, low Earth orbit may become more like a suburb than a frontier if access opens up on a broad scale. If even one area of space commerce proves to be more profitable than performing the same task on Earth, that will have significant impact. Like oil rigs in the oceans and the deserts or on the North Slope of Alaska, workers will tolerate harsh conditions to make high wages, and employers will pay for a good return. Space is close. Removal of the high cost barrier can stimulate a flood of migration, dramatically affecting life not only there, but also on Earth. THE QUEST Space tourism and space manufacturing should continue if various environmental concerns can be resolved, both in terms of the Earth’s environment and that of the solar system. However, the most fundamental issue facing humanity is its survival and evolution as a species, and

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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exploration is directly tied to that issue. Fulfilling a high purpose through the human space program is a step beyond avoiding extinction, a positive vision that can be understood by everyone on Earth. Some may grasp the idea of a great purpose, whereas others understand the concept of building the new civilizations. Many will be interested primarily in creating a better life for themselves and their children. There is some evidence that the Overview Effect turns political thinkers toward this more universal vision. For example, it was at work in Senator Bill Nelson when he suggested a summit meeting in space. It was also at work in former Senator Jake Garn, who said that because we are all traveling together, there ought to be more equality of opportunity around the Earth. It was still at work in Senator John Glenn, who, when announcing his candidacy for reelection as senator from Ohio in the mid-1980s, said, Twenty-four years ago this week, I had the privilege of seeing the planet as few human beings have been privileged to see it, spinning silently and beautifully against the vastness of space. And as I looked down upon our world from space, I saw a land that was truly a United States. I saw a country undivided by color or class—and a nation joined together in its common humanity. And even though reality has intruded on that vision many times in the years since my return, I still hope for the day when finally and at long last—we learn to live as brothers and sisters on this fragile craft we call Earth. [8]

On an international level, the possibilities could be seen in the work of the Association of Space Explorers at its first congress, and the words of cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov, “Astronauts and cosmonauts are the handful of people who have had the good fortune to see the Earth from afar and to realize how tiny and fragile it is. We hope that all the peoples of the Earth can understand this” [9]. Moving in a new direction will require choices. Buckminster Fuller once posited that humankind’s fundamental decision was either creating a utopia or oblivion for all. Since then, many observers have made inventive suggestions to support making the right choices. For example, Kosta Tsipis, an expert on arms control, suggested that although the energies being directed toward military efforts in space cannot be stopped, they can be redirected. He urged that the military, rather than being kept out of space, be given a supraordinate goal, such as an international mission to Mars, to challenge their skills and divert their attention outward rather than toward an “enemy” [10]. Nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles come from a common stream of scientific understanding, and on Earth they became practical at about the same time. Assuming that the same level of evolution always produces

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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weapons of mass extinction and the tools for escaping the bondage of planetary surfaces, it may be that many cultures on other planets have faced this choice at the same period in their history [11]. Our time is extremely dangerous and challenging, but possibilities have never been greater. THE BALANCE

OF

UNITY

AND

DIVERSITY

In The New Camelot, I wrote: The purpose of this book is to illuminate the Camelot myth in a new way, and to show how its critical function was actually to foster a “unity emerging from diversity.” We will argue that the mythological Camelot of Arthur inspired the historical John F. Kennedy and that the Camelot vision strongly influenced the structure of his administration’s policies. We will also suggest that Kennedy’s Apollo lunar program, by revealing to us the view of the whole Earth from a distance (the Overview Effect), laid the foundation of a new myth for our time and is a kind of “secular holy grail” that can foster unity out of diversity for the 21st century and beyond. [12]

When we look at our planet from the perspective of the surface, we see diversity, even chaos. When astronauts look at it from orbit or the moon, they see unity. It is the same planet, seen from a different perspective. This shift from diversity to unity and back again will never end, as long as we continue to explore. When astronauts lift their gaze from the Earth and out into the solar system and beyond, they once again see diversity. What this means is that establishing a new planetary civilization would bring the unity that has been a dream for centuries, but that newfound oneness will likely give way to a phase of intense diversity in outer space. The new social systems created in the inner solar system will have to go through a period of self-reliant experimentation. Just as their members will stop identifying with Earthbound nation-states, they may stop identifying with Earth itself. For a long time, they will jealously guard their independence, even from one another. If humanity makes it out into the solar system, we can predict this much at least: Someday an astronaut, finding him- or herself on the edge of the solar system, will look back and realize how unified and fragile it is, a small haven in a vast galaxy, and he or she will see how all of us—Terrans, Solarians, and others—must learn to live together in peace.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Chapter 15

PSYCHOLOGY

OF THE

NEW CIVILIZATIONS

I have heard other space travelers express a perception that I have had: the feeling of euphoria beginning and continuing several days after launch. I think it springs from the mind’s realization that the reality without gravity is in effect a new dimension of freedom. It is a feeling that new possibilities must be present where physical orientation and visual perception are under control but always variable. —Payload specialist Charles D. Walker You realize how much energy it takes to live on this planet. The planet is exerting that subtle but pervasive force on you every day. —Space Shuttle and ISS astronaut Sandy Magnus

The self-awareness of a civilization reflects its entire attitude toward life, including its view of itself and other cultures. The physical setting of a society shapes the evolution of social and individual psychologies. Americans think as they do partly because this country was founded on the shores of a vast continent. Politely waiting for the nation to develop would have resulted in the United States remaining a small country consisting of a few states clustered in the eastern portion of North America. Great Britain and Japan, on the other hand, are densely populated island nations, settled, civilized, and focused on an orderly existence within a contained space. Classical rugged individualism requires a lot of room and is not an especially useful cultural trait to those societies today. As the new civilizations develop in space, many cultural differences will evolve as well. In each society, traits that support the vision and purpose of that culture will be encouraged and supported; traits that contradict them will be filtered out. Earth’s psychologies are highly varied, reflecting the diversity of the people living here. We can call all of them “geocentric,” though, because they have evolved on the Earth in a 1-g environment. In addition, all psychologies developed before the 1960s were “preplanetary,” because they did not and could not include a vision of the whole system—Earth—of which each individual is a part. The Overview Effect vision of the whole system 135

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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now being disseminated worldwide has to have an effect on our psychology. For those of us who have not become astronauts, we have to have a sense of self separate from others, but the option now exists of contrasting ourselves against a very small other, such as the family, or a very large other, such as the planet Earth. Western psychology, following the lead of the physical sciences, has tended toward an isolated examination of the human being, culminating with the effort to reduce explanation of all human activities as a complex series of responses to stimuli. However, as humanity learns to identify itself in relationship to increasingly larger whole systems, there will be a necessary reversal in the reductionist trend that may be one of the most important outcomes of space exploration and development. TERRA: THE PSYCHOLOGY

OF

EQUILIBRIUM

Terran psychology will be similar to preplanetary psychology in that it will remain Earth-oriented. However, it will be different because it will also relate human beings in a new way to the planet. The Overview Effect is the foundation of Terran awareness, providing the fundamental symbol of the new planetary civilization, of which humanity is an integral, but not a dominant, part. Homeostasis, or equilibrium, is probably going to be the watchword of Terran psychology, because that is the fundamental goal toward which the whole system aspires to survive. We can already see some of this process taking place, as environmental awareness evolves into a control system in which governments are increasingly demanding certain kinds of behavior in the name of “sustainability.” Lovelock provided a good description of Terran values in a Gaian perspective. Elaborating on his view that humanity might he “tamed” and become a part of the “commonwealth of all creatures which constitutes Gaia,” he said, “it might seem to be a surrender, but I suspect that the rewards, in an increased sense of well-being and fulfillment, in knowing ourselves to be a dynamic part of a far greater entity, would be worth the loss of tribal freedom” [1]. During the periods of exploration radiating from England and Europe in previous centuries, millions of people passed up opportunities to migrate, staying home to enrich the civilizations that sponsored the exploratory ventures of others. Similarly, not all human beings will leave this planet, even when the opportunity becomes available. Remaining on Earth can be a major contribution to the development of the other civilizations. Terrans do not have to be isolated from developments in the solar system and the galaxy. With the evolution of the planetary technosystem to increasingly higher

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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levels, they will be in continuing contact with those processes, even if they never physically leave Earth. (Astronauts who have spent time on the ISS clearly feel more connected with their friends and families at home, as compared with earlier space travelers.) Terrans will also have access to outer space and the benefits it offers in material and psychological development. The great difference between Terrans and Solarians will be that the former continue to consider Earth their home and primary point of reference, whereas the latter will not. Ideally, Terran exploration will be more of an internal inquiry, deepening our knowledge of planetary overview systems on Earth in ways that can be applied to other systems, such as Mars. They may also become experts in using the resources of space to bring benefits to all the people of Earth. Terrans are likely to become experts in planetary management, balancing the different domains of a human social system on a global scale and learning how to live as equals with organic nonhuman and intelligent nonorganic species (the technosystem). As the message of the Overview Effect is fully absorbed, Terrans may also become great mediators, experts in seeking and creating peace, a skill that will undoubtedly be in demand in other sectors of the solar system and galaxy over time. SOLARIUS: THE PSYCHOLOGY

OF

CHANGE

Solarian psychology will emerge from Terran psychology, just as the Terran perspective is now emerging from preplanetary consciousness. So far, everyone who has seen the Earth from a distance has left with a firm intention of returning home. To one who is planning to come back, seeing the Earth as a whole system calls to mind the essential unity and fragility of the planet and of human life. What will it mean to one who is focused on building a spacebased civilization? As Rusty Schweickart pointed out, the mother’s womb is the whole world to an embryo; to the child, the mother becomes another being, for whom one is eventually responsible. A major step in the development and maturation of the individual is an increasing sense of responsibility, the ultimate cutting of the umbilical cord and becoming a mature adult. On a cosmic timescale, the human species is a recent arrival, and the metaphor used most often to describe it is infant. However, embryo may be more appropriate. So far, even the astronauts have not had the opportunity to experience the full growth cycle. They have had an experience of birth, but unlike human babies, they have had to return to the womb, or as Gene Cernan called it, “the crib.” Leaving the womb has an impact on astronauts, but the true understanding of Rusty Schweickart’s “cosmic birth phenomenon” will

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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come only when the first humans depart for space with every intention of remaining there. When the organization MarsOne announced its intention to transport thousands of people to Mars on a one-way trip, and 200,000 people raised their hands, saying, “Send me,” it is a pretty strong indication that Solarian consciousness already exists on Earth. Still, there will be an intense maturing process for those who make that choice, similar to the experience of children leaving home for the first time. Mother Earth will remain “mom,” but those making a personal declaration for space will need the independent spirit of those who, in an earlier time, abandoned home and hearth for unknown lands and unpredictable circumstances. Growing up also brings the dawning recognition of new possibilities. Being limited to a planet’s surface means accepting fundamental restrictions. These are not only the limitations of gravity and a finite volume of available space, but also those of the social norms and values of an increasingly closed society. Today, few places on Earth are outside the laws of some human system. Looking inward to the Earth, the founders of the solar civilization view the past. Looking out, they see the future. The overview turned in the other direction becomes a preview. Solarian psychology will incorporate space dwellers’ new relationship to the solar system as a physical setting. The Earth will be an object, not an environment. The space settlement, moon, or Mars and the solar system will be the new environment. Ordinary people living in space settlements will not only be able to see the Earth as a whole system, but also can take spacewalks and share astronaut Jerry Carr’s feeling for the infiniteness of the universe. They will see many stars that we can’t see from the ground. They will share his impression of a “disorienting matrix.” For many, the experience of infinity will produce conflicting feelings. Geocentric thinking limits our frustration, because it focuses attention on the Earth, which is finite. Heliocentric thinking, focusing outward to the solar system and beyond, opens the mind to all possibilities. There is a necessary relationship between freedom and constraint. For space dwellers, that equation will be transformed as the universe beckons to them with an opportunity for liberty beyond anything known in the past. However, the ability to enjoy it will be constrained by available technologies, lifespans, and other factors. Solarians are likely to be a restless people, not content merely to settle into low Earth orbit, but eager to continue the exploration of the solar system and beyond. Some are destined to become nomads, building and boarding “generational starships” that take entire societies to the stars on journeys of

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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hundreds of thousands of years. Life extension will become a field of intense interest [2]. The assertive expansion characterizing the exploration of physical space puts pressure for equivalent growth on the mental and spiritual domains of a human system. For the early permanent systems in space, which will also be isolated from the main body of the species, we can expect significant development in the spiritual and mental domains, and perhaps even radical new ideas of God. How one perceives time also influences the sense of self. Even on Earth, time is not the same at any given moment for everyone on the planet. People living permanently in space will be outside the framework of time as humans have known it. As Solarius evolves, the sense of time as relative to position in space will intensify as different cultures develop a new standard for measuring time. All space missions to date have used Earth timescales, even though newer language has crept in such as “mission elapsed time.” As people begin to live at greater distances from Earth, this approach may prove unworkable, especially as they settle on distant planetary surfaces. People living in low Earth orbit are likely to continue using Earth standard time, adding the orbit or revolution as a separate measurement. Those on the moon may want to use a time frame created by their own reference point. Settlers on Mars will feel the strongest urge to establish their own time system. They will be so far from Earth that the home planet will appear only as a light in the sky, just as Mars appears to us. In this way, the conceptual unity inherent in the view of the Earth from orbit dissipates as humans migrate outward. Just as time will become a relative concept in Solarius, so will the experience of weight, as early space travelers have already found. The gravity option is likely to be a matter of intense concern to the early settlers of the solar system. It will be possible to choose anything from 1 g to 0 g and even to shift from one to the other, in the way that people can choose to winter in some climates and summer in others. We already know that weightlessness has an extraordinary impact on human physiology. When the body is subjected to environments unlike the 1 g in which it originated, it adapts. We do not know what would happen if it were allowed to adapt fully. Because thought and emotions are also physically based, we must assume that those aspects of human existence will change over time as well. Because every astronaut has left the planet planning to return to Earth, they have always employed countermeasures. These have ranged from specified exercise regimens to adding nutrients to the space travelers’ diets and other inhibitors. Even so, it is unclear what will happen to people living on the

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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frontier over a long period of time, as on the first mission to Mars. We know that the initial reaction of most space travelers to 0 g is one of delight, or as Charles Walker reported, euphoria. Space shuttle astronaut Don Lind said that weightlessness is “just sheer delight.” Our concepts derive from a 1-g environment, and these will be altered in 0 g. There is no up or down in 0 g, no higher or lower. However, there has been too little experience of larger groups in space to determine how that physical change will affect status hierarchies such as those on Earth. Interpersonal communication on Earth is affected by a sense of personal space and the distance of people from one another. In a weightless environment, the communication options expand. Two people could float together side by side like dolphins or flit back and forth like dancers while discussing their work. The most dramatic impact on human consciousness has to be that, in this environment, one can fly, a dream of human beings that has been realized in airplanes and spaceships, and now in the human body. Walker explained, The old limits fade, to reveal new, different ones—it is not enough to be hundreds of miles above the Earth in free-fall. You want to be outside the confines of the cabin, outside the confines of the pressure suit. Perhaps you even, without consciously realizing it, feel closer to being outside your body. For each person, it is different, but it must also be the same. [3]

Solarian culture will focus on possibilities, on an expansive effort to embrace the infinite and eternal, and on learning to live in a relativistic universe. As a human social system, the mental and spiritual domains of Solarian culture are likely to experience dramatic transformations. Indeed, they must, if Solarians are to maintain their psychological and sociological stability under circumstances unique in human history. GALAXIA: THE PSYCHOLOGY

OF

TRANSFORMATION

Meeting with beings from other star systems will be a transformational moment for humanity because it will shift the self/other relationship to yet a different plane. As difficult as the task is of describing the Terran and Solarian epochs of human evolution, it is simplified by an assumption of no contact with extraterrestrials. If there is no other advanced life anywhere in the galaxy, the Galaxian phase will be a grand extension of the Solarian phase, with further evolution being triggered by the challenge and reality of moving into new environments. If there is intelligent life elsewhere, the scenarios multiply radically, raising questions such as: Are they at an evolutionary level that is

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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less advanced than the human level, equivalent to human civilization, or beyond it? Are they friendly toward human life or hostile? Are they alone or are they themselves part of a much larger galactic civilization? Given a growing interest in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), contact with extraterrestrials could come any day, even before we have established a substantial presence off-planet. Should contact occur, every aspect of human existence and all our ideas of social evolution would be completely realigned overnight. The initial manifestations of these three different psychologies can already be seen among the human population. The growing number of people interested in ecological concerns, world peace, and limits to growth represent Terran psychology. The typical pro-space advocate, pushing for migration outward into the solar system, is an embryonic Solarian. Those involved in SETI are typical of a Galaxian orientation. Let’s now look at each of the psychologies in more detail in the following chapters.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Chapter 16

TERRA

You recognize that the Russians, the Nicaraguans, the Canadians, the Filipinos—it doesn’t matter where they’re from—all they want to do is raise their kids and educate them, just as we do. —Former Senator Edwin Garn When I was looking down on the Earth, it was less identifying with the geographical areas as it was identifying with the people who were there. —Helen Sharman, first British citizen in space

The emergence of new civilizations will happen because people think it will provide them with a better life. The next step is not inevitable. These are possibilities, and knowing that they exist alerts us to what can be done to help them evolve. Bringing these societies into reality will take more than rhetoric and good intentions. It will require new thinking of a high caliber, which, fortunately, has already begun. For example, in a quote remarkably similar to my description of an overview system’s becoming self-aware, the science section in the National Commission on Space report began, “Through consecutive evolutionary steps extending over billions of years the Universe is now able to contemplate itself” [1]. The commission is pointing to the Cosma Hypothesis, though they did not call it that. The commission went on to describe the possible contribution of science in the future: We propose that the United States, through a vigorous program of space science, undertake a unified and comprehensive effort to understand the origin and evolution of the cosmos by integrating the findings of many diverse disciplines. This can lead to great discoveries while increasing our ability to forecast future phenomena, including most importantly those that affect or are affected by human activities. [2]

The need to bring many branches of science together in the service of human evolution was felt before human beings began to go into space. However, space exploration and its results, including the experience of the Earth as a whole system, have rekindled the spirit of unification once again. 143

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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The “grand synthesis” advocated so many years ago by the commission has not yet taken place, but it offers the opportunity to understand in detail the human purpose that overview systems theory reveals as a possibility. Achieving the synthesis would, in tum, have a profound impact on society: There is no evidence that the processes which govern the evolution from elementary particles to galaxies to stars to heavy elements to planets to life to intelligence differ significantly elsewhere in the Universe. By integrating the insights obtained from virtually every branch of science, from particle physics to anthropology, humanity may hope one day to approach a comprehensive understanding of our place in the cosmos. [3]

Developing this synthesis is an important project for the human space program because it points to the next step for Terran civilization to emerge. We need a new social contract as the basis of planetary unity within a new constitutional order. The synthesis should include social sciences and an understanding of human systems. This would mark a return to an earlier tradition characteristic of the era of exploration in the 15th through 17th centuries, when physical science, known as natural philosophy, was an important tool of transformation [4]. The grand synthesis would explain the evolution of the universe and humanity’s place within it, but also provide practical guidelines for developing social and political systems on Earth and in space. The physical sciences are the basis for physical technologies, which are in turn the primary variables in social transformation. However, social science, to its detriment, usually does not recognize this relationship. Systems theory may be one vehicle to heal the breach between the two branches of science, bringing them back together in a single comprehensive theory. Alternatively, it may be necessary to create an entirely new discipline even more comprehensive than the systems approach. Social scientists should take a leading role in the evolving human space program, in contrast to their place in today’s space program, in which they have had less influence than physical scientists and engineers. This imbalance has helped to create a public perception that the space program is a technological feat with minor impact on the lives of ordinary people. As research on the Overview Effect has shown, nothing could be further from the truth, and space exploration is a topic worthy of intense scrutiny by political scientists, historians, economists, and sociologists. In addition, there is much to be added by students of the humanities, who can perceive the role of the human spirit in the space exploration enterprise. If humanity is to pass its “final exam,” as Buckminster Fuller phrased it, social scientists need to return to the traditions of their forebears such as

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Mill, who supplied the foundations of the political and social thinking for Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams. These original political scientists saw their work as being both theoretical and practical, with immediate relevance to the advancement of humanity [5]. GRAND SYNTHESIS

AS A

FORM

OF

EXPLORATION

Exploratory efforts in one part of a human system coincide with exploration in others. Improvements in the instruments of navigation in the 15th and 16th centuries, for example, were required before exploratory voyages could occur. In the 20th century, going to the moon required better computers that took the astronauts there but also started a complementary economic and social shift leading to the emergence of today’s technosystem. Exploration and pioneering as attitudes are not limited to journeys in physical space. Exploratory enterprises encompass many dimensions of life, especially the sciences, and the centuries of physical exploration are also times of breakthrough in human thought. This pattern held true during the founding of the United States and of other important political systems, and it will hold true as we create Terra and Solarius. Exploration is more an art than a science, and it must be funded and carried out as such. It is simply not possible to predict in advance the material benefits of experimentation and exploration. In fact, most of the positive results come from so-called mistakes. Exploration, the sine qua non of an emerging human space program, should not be limited to exploration of outer space. That exploration ought to be seen, rather, as symbolic of a new age of enlightenment to rival similar periods in the past, such as the Renaissance. Something similar happened under President John F. Kennedy and his administration’s declaration of the New Frontier. Future historians will give a few paragraphs to the Saturn rockets that took us to the moon or the space shuttle that conquered low Earth orbit, but they are likely to spend much more time looking at the human adventure that they supported. The sailing ships that brought people from Europe and England to the New World are interesting to some, but not all, historians. By contrast, the organization of social and political life that emerged in the New World is the governing framework in the lives of millions. Although most Americans know that Christopher Columbus came to the Americas with three ships, few are aware that he made several return trips after 1492. Similarly, few people know that there were five moon landings after Apollo 11. Gene Cernan commented, “The technology of [Lindbergh’s] voyage was soon forgotten and is taken for granted today. What people do remember and admire is the spirit of a guy like Lindbergh.... Most people wouldn’t do what he did even

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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today” [6]. Cernan is right: Over the long term, human beings relate to values, ideas, and feelings much more effectively than to technological achievements.

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A NEW GOLDEN AGE? Earlier eras of exploration have carried with them a hint of the mythological golden ages. In certain fields, such as science, they have been times of extraordinary growth and development. This was particularly true as the physical and social sciences together drove social evolution forward. These were the times when great thinkers wrote about fundamental political issues such as the social contract, the legitimacy of government, and the origin of official law in natural law. The blooming of the social sciences at that time did not occur in a vacuum. The success of the physical sciences in explaining the workings of nature and methods for mastering it not only excited colleagues in other fields, but also attracted those in political power to support them. Those who were interested in society found the scientific method a fascinating model. The opening of the New World made the issue of how to create successful societies a question of life-and-death importance. The nature of the social contract, the legitimacy of governments, and the possibilities of selfgovernment had to be settled in reality, rather than on paper. If exponential growth takes place in the solar system, the same situation will prevail again, and we will begin to search for new political forms. The challenge is that there is no political philosophy appropriate to the task at hand. In the 17th century, citizens faced a similar dilemma because the nationstate had not yet come into being as the dominant political system. Thomas Hobbes argued in Leviathan for the creation of the sovereign state because he said that without it, people lived in a state of nature equivalent to a state of war, in which the lives and properties of even the strongest were ultimately unsafe. The most powerful people could be overwhelmed by a gang of other men or defeated through cunning and stealth. Hobbes said that by giving up some rights to a civil authority, citizens would ultimately secure much greater rights in terms of security [7]. Today, nations still live in a state of nature. Just as people living in that state are equal in their ability to harm one another, nation-states are equal because none are safe from nuclear and biological weapons, subversion and terrorism, or conventional warfare. As pioneers begin to leave the planet, we are in the position of the social scientists of an earlier time. Looking back at the Earth from orbit, we can see the natural unity of the planet, but our political systems do not fully reflect it.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-13 20:22:39.

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Instead, equality is too often guaranteed by arms rather than agreed-upon rights and responsibilities. Looking outward to the solar system, we see clearly that if new political forms are not created for that environment, the state of nature will be extended to it. Working on the “big picture” of the grand synthesis would create a new understanding of how social systems relate to the natural systems out of which they are born. From this understanding of natural philosophy, we can examine our societies and learn how to structure them to help us fulfill a universal purpose. A new social contract, or agreement between citizens and their governments, could emerge. It would take into account the work that has been done by social thinkers of humanity’s Earthbound past, adding to that understanding all that we know about the evolution of a planetary and spacebased civilization. The new contract, though, has to find the balance between unity and diversity and between competition and cooperation for an entire planet—not an easy task. The most powerful unifying trends at the planetary level, such as the Overview Effect, lead directly to the idea of a great purpose and grand synthesis. They are even now being disseminated and institutionalized, consistently reinforcing the unity of the planet and the species as the core ideas for the proposed contract. The globalization of the technosystem and its increasingly powerful influence on human life also supports global unity. Nuclear weapons provide a negative form of unity, posing a continuing threat of extinction not only to those who possess them, but to all life on Earth. The same is true of climate change and global warming. Although there are many positive and negative trends toward planetary unity, the forces working to split the human community, such as religious extremists, are serious barriers to success. The emerging science of planetary management must learn how to channel these energies if Terran civilization is to develop. Nation-state competition will continue as long as the international system remains a state of nature in which competition is more natural than cooperation. Without a more comprehensive conceptual framework, fundamental cleavages between social systems organized around democracy and free-market systems and those organized around authoritarianism and controlled economic systems also will continue. From orbit, no one can see capitalists and communists, democrats and dictators. However, a real-life struggle is occurring on Earth, and it is not altogether clear how these different regimes can coexist. It is clear, however, that the conflicts emerge from old ideas that need to be supplanted by overview thinking. There are no “sides” on a planet, after all.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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A planetary social contract must be developed that does not suppress the existing values, but encompasses them, leading toward a different worldview. Competition between nation-states can be an expression of healthy diversity. However, today’s competition includes efforts to subvert one another’s societies, so that the international state of nature is extended right into the domestic arena. The planetary social contract also must account for the economic disparity between the have and have-not nations, which contributes to the war, terror, and subversion. In spite of the progress that advanced economies have made, too many people remain poor, hungry, and oppressed. As long as this is so, it will be difficult to have peace, unity, or cooperation among nations or people. One clear response to the direction of global society is the rise of ethnic divisions, tribalism, and religious fundamentalism on a global level. Many see the increasing planetization of society as a tool of Western decadence, or worse. Any planetary social contract, to be successful, must allow for the diversity of religious beliefs on Earth and the strong convictions of some believers, but it must also condemn and exclude terror in the name of religion or any other cause. If a true planetary civilization is to emerge, it must also cope with the persistence of such serious regional crises as the Arab–Israeli conflict. It is no accident that many astronauts cite the Middle East, seen from orbit, as the area that gave them the greatest feelings of sadness and the strongest wish for greater unity. SPACE EXPLORATION

AND

PLANETARY UNITY

Earlier chapters have shown how the expansion into the universe and the messages sent back through the astronauts support the evolution of a more peaceful and ecologically responsible species. Other aspects of space exploration reinforce these trends toward unity and cooperation as well. For example, the cost of large-scale space projects is now encouraging collaboration and a natural movement toward the human space program. Because projects like the International Space Station (ISS) run into the billions of dollars, joint efforts make good economic sense. There is also increasing pressure from people and organizations worldwide to use space consciously for experiments in peaceful interaction. Previously, I mentioned Senator Bill Nelson’s advocacy for a summit conference in space. This is a typical example of people lobbying for the use of low Earth orbit as a laboratory for peace. The universe is so enormous and awesome that it becomes a unifying force in itself as more people become experientially aware of it. Just by existing, the universe provides opportunities for humans to interact in new and

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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different ways. The space environment will cause certain behavior patterns to mutate because they will become increasingly less viable. Special factors in the environment may promote a form of thinking that will take humanity far beyond the current understandings of unity and disunity, war and peace, competition and cooperation. As Nicole Stott points out, the ISS is a model in orbit for life on Earth: The international part of it is one of the great things we have gotten out of the project itself. We have done a complex thing with 15 other countries, and in some cases with countries where we have not always had a positive relationship. [8]

In the short term, however, trends of fragmentation are likely to continue, at least during the initial stages of the exploratory era. Moreover, if the new system that unifies the Earth is a totalitarian system, we would be better off remaining in a state of nature. Nation-states can take us into wars, but they represent a form of government that can be more democratic than global empires. Satellite technology that institutionalizes the Overview Effect has a dark side—it raises the possibility of invasions of privacy that are without precedent in human history, and those invasions are already taking place. With current technology, someone you don’t know can buy a satellite photograph of your house. In the near future, an implanted microchip would allow authorities to track your every move, knowing what you are doing inside that house. The National Security Agency is already tracking all of our emails and phone calls and looking for new ways to monitor what we are doing, all in the name of national security. The projection of military/security values into space threatens the peaceful evolution of a planetary and solar civilization. It is possible that the countries of Earth initially will carry their rivalries into the solar system as they did in terrestrial exploration. However, they are unlikely to be maintained for long, because far more significant matters (e.g., a potential split between Terra and Solarius over political control, economics, and philosophies of life) will have to be confronted. Designing a new structure to meet the challenge requires a breakthrough of enormous proportions, and it must be done with the same intellect and understanding that created the political order in the New World. The Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution, the nine principles of the Rationale in Pioneering the Space Frontier, and the Overview Institute’s “declaration of interdependence” are most relevant to and should be integrated with the new plan. The first principles proposed here should encompass what is required for developing a planetary overview system, which is in turn the foundation of a solar overview system.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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The 17th- and 18th-century political theorists discussed earlier argued that to avoid living in a state of nature, where every individual could use force to deprive others of their freedom and even their lives, people should develop a social contract that would bind individuals into new social relationships and remove them from that primal state. To achieve another grand synthesis, the authors of the proposed “planetary social contract” must set their sights on a similar foundation for Terra. This should be a high priority of the human space program. Even though it may seem to be focused only on space exploration, a sustainable, prosperous, and peaceful Earth must be the base from which the quest begins.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Chapter 17

SOLARIUS

I talk about moon colonies and large space stations. Then I spring the idea of children being born in a weightless environment and the possibility of a split in the human species because of the difference in the way bodies will develop as a result of weightlessness. —Skylab astronaut Gerald P. Carr We are a really adaptive species, and we will adapt to wherever we choose to live, at the Arctic Circle, or zero-gravity, or one-sixth gravity. —Space Shuttle and ISS astronaut Sandy Magnus

We know that a spacefaring civilization will be different from an Earthbound civilization, but we don’t yet know how different. As Solarius takes hold, a new variable, speciation, holds out provocative possibilities. The human adventure of space exploration may lead directly to partnership with a human species related to, but different from, Homo sapiens. Biological speciation describes the evolution of a small group from a large population in such a way that the two can no longer mate and produce fertile offspring. The process of speciation normally takes thousands to millions of years. Long before that, however, there is likely to be a kind of cultural speciation. Space exploration is clearly a catalyst for social evolution, but it may also be essential to biological evolution. People living in a relatively stable time can easily overlook nature’s propensity to create and destroy, wiping out entire lines of development and laying the groundwork for new species. Extinction is a much more common phenomenon than might be imagined. It is sometimes a natural mechanism that allows evolution to continue. Had dinosaurs not disappeared (or evolved into birds), mammals might not have become the dominant form of life on Earth, and I would not be writing this book. In fact, we might say that this book is a product of evolution! SPECIATION

VS

EXTINCTION

Speciation and extinction are two sides of the same coin, with extinction opening up ecological niches for new life forms to fill or existing ones to 151

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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expand into. The human race is not static or immune to these realities. There is every reason to believe that evolution will continue its experimental efforts and that further speciation will take place if the appropriate enabling conditions appear. A species possesses a gene pool, which mutates in response to environmental variation. Favorable mutations are adopted and unfavorable ones discarded. The gene pool changes, but the species remains the same. The overwhelming majority of all mutations are unfavorable. Speciation represents a state shift from change to transformation. Over time, the number of changes generated by the mutations in a small subset of the population becomes so significant that a qualitatively different gene pool emerges and a new species is born. Two factors influence this outcome: groups of organisms become isolated from the main body of their kind and have to cope with unprecedented environmental pressures, and the isolated groups are small so that the mutations are conserved in the larger population [1]. Of course, both are characteristic of outer space explorers. Ben Finney and Eric Jones, two of the leading thinkers in this field, suggested some years ago that much of human evolution has occurred because of exploratory expeditions to various parts of the planet where small groups became isolated [2]. In their view, this process has been the engine of biological evolution in the past, but we are at an equilibrium point on Earth because it is not possible for small groups to find the geographical and psychological isolation necessary for speciation to occur. To the question “Why explore outer space?”, they respond that it is the right environment to support not only evolutionary change, but also transformational speciation [3]. A complementary, but slightly different, focus is provided by Peter H. Diamandis, who cofounded the International Space University (ISU), X-Prize, Singularity University, Planetary Resources, and several other ventures. Whereas Jones and Finney emphasize isolation through distance from other groups, in an interview I conducted with him, Diamandis emphasized isolation imposed by the environment, especially zero gravity. According to Diamandis, the probability of speciation in space is high; the question is how long it might take to occur. Like Finney and Jones, Diamandis noted that small groups tend to evolve faster because mutations have a better chance of survival in them. Because many of the initial human settlements in space will be small, the probability of speciation among their population grows. Increased evolutionary pressures also accelerate evolution, and the pressures beyond Earth will be unlike anything we have known because the environment is so radically different.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Diamandis pointed out that his theory is based on two unproven conjectures—that humans can live out their lives in 0 g without serious medical problems and that normal fetal development and childbirth can take place in weightlessness. Based on these hypotheses, he advanced three main propositions to support his thesis that speciation is likely to occur on the frontier [4]: 1. Some people will spend their lives in a 0-g environment by accident or by choice. 2. Zero-g dwellers will eventually stop mating with a population that remains in normal Earth gravity. 3. The stress-free environment of 0 g will provide a less stringent selective force on mutations, allowing for the persistence of genes that normally could be considered maladaptive. Some people may choose to remain in 0 g because they prefer it, enjoying the kind of freedom that the astronauts have, or simply because they like new experiences. Astronaut Jeff Hoffman has called low gravity “addictive,” and if this is so, many people may become so fond of it that they never want to leave. As noted earlier, 0 g may be an attractive environment for older people, the physically handicapped, and those with medical problems. Once access to the frontier becomes economical, safe, and more “suburban,” we can imagine many people who face challenges living on Earth migrating to low Earth orbit and even demanding a 0-g environment. On a long mission, such as a trip to Mars, countermeasures against the body’s efforts to adapt to 0 g may fail, and a person (or group) who finds it impossible to readapt to 1 g will be forced to remain in 0 g or the low gravity of the moon or Mars. Raising children may create further problems for people oriented toward 0 g. The difficulties of current custody battles and visitation rights are trivial compared with the problems of a child who might have to move back and forth between different gravitational environments, which could eventually prove to be unhealthy or even impossible. A child who spends its first year in 0 g might not even develop the physical attributes necessary for walking. If 0-g or low-g environments are established as permanent habitats, people may choose a dominant environment to save themselves the discomfort of adapting from one to the other. Over time, 0-g dwellers could become segregated from 1-g people, and even if members of the two groups are attracted to one another, the child-raising challenges would give them pause. People who live in 0 g will also look different as they lose muscle mass and calcium from their bones, further diminishing the attraction that one group will feel for the other.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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As people with physical illnesses and handicaps are attracted to a 0-g environment, selective pressures that eliminate genes causing characteristics such as weak hearts or malformed limbs will no longer apply, thereby increasing those genes in the pool and moving it even further away from the current norm. We also have no idea what will happen when two people who have lived in reduced gravity for even a brief period conceive a child. We know that lack of gravity has a tremendous effect on an adult human body in a short time. What would happen to a vulnerable embryo when no countermeasures are taken? It seems logical that if muscle mass diminishes, calcium disappears from the bones, and the cardiovascular system becomes less robust in an adult body, the same will happen to an embryo. The result may be children who look more like dolphins than humans. What will happen when these children, conceived and born in 0 g, grow up in the same setting and conceive children who in turn are born and mature in the same environment? EMERGENCE

OF

HOMO SPACIENS

Reason and imagination both suggest the emergence of a radically different kind of being, one highly adapted to living in the conditions of space and poorly adapted to the surfaces of planets. Such a person would be unable to return to Earth, or any planet, easily because survival on a gravity-based world would be very difficult. Even if full biological speciation does not take place for thousands of years, a form of cultural speciation will probably occur sooner. Human beings are sensitive to differences such as skin color and language, and people living permanently on the frontier are going to look and act differently long before biological speciation occurs. Natural speciation is usually slow. In the case of higher order life forms, it is measured in hundreds or thousands of generations, not in years. The emergence of Homo spaciens as a separate cultural being is likely to occur within the next century. The date for biological Homo spaciens is unknown, but it ought to be the subject of intense study by space scientists. Such a species might be able to exist only in the weightless environment of a spacecraft or space settlement. People who choose to live in a low-g environment may also speciate but in a different direction from those in 0 g. If Homo spaciens and Homo sapiens can work together, it will be a great alliance because that will resolve the problem of how human beings, who cannot endure a period of weightlessness too long without becoming trapped by it, can explore regions beyond the orbit of Mars. Just as Technos promises to be a partner in the long-term human adventure, this new partner may be a great help in realizing human purpose.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Dramatic as this line of thought may appear to be, Finney and Jones might argue that it is much too tame. They have stated, This advance will not be limited to the birth of one new species. Space is not a single environment, but a residual category for everything outside the Earth’s atmosphere. There are innumerable environments out there, and perhaps more niches to be developed for the exploitation of those environments. By spreading into space we will embark on an adaptive radiation of hominidae that will spread intelligent life as far as technology or limits placed by any competing life forms will allow. This radiation of evolving, intelligent life through space will be the galactic successor to the other great episodes of adaptive radiation in the evolution of life—that which followed the wandering of a few fish onto land, or the opportunistic multiplication of mammalian genera and species to fill the vacuum left by the disappearance of the dinosaurs. [5]

Bear in mind, too, that humans may consciously choose to modify themselves to explore the universe, actively bringing on the speciation process. Considering our advances in biotechnology as well as space technology, the ultimate form of speciation may even become a reality: an organism able to live in free space without a pressure suit or any artificial environment, just as a fish lives in water. It is quite possible that genetic engineering would, at minimum, be used to optimize adaptation to environments like a space habitat or Mars. If that proves to be successful, the state of the art will probably be pushed as far as it can go. In fact, there is a group in existence now that is advocating the creating of Homo spaciens as the next logical step in human evolution [6]. Speciation, coupled with cybernetics and genetic engineering, points to the possibility of a “posthuman” future. Philosophically, we have to ask ourselves, will we gain the whole universe, only to lose ourselves? If so, would it be worth the loss to gain something so incredible and new? Just imagine what it would be like to surf through the solar system like a dolphin cuts through the seas of Earth. Perhaps migrating to Mars for a few years, then out into the asteroid belt, enjoying a dangerous game of “tag” with the remains of an ancient planet or moon? This is a debate that requires the participation of religious leaders, philosophers, and ethicists now, while this future is still being created. Whenever and however this transformation takes place, it can contribute to humanity’s efforts to make the frontier, and all its possible environments, a permanent home. In addition, it can help humans learn to interact with a different but highly intelligent species, which promises to be the next challenge in climbing the developmental ladder to a galactic civilization.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Chapter 18

GALAXIA

We will discover “delectable planets” and want to go there. —Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins There is nothing in the Bible that says. we are the only intelligent inhabitants in the universe. It’s likely that there are others out there, and I think we are all God’s children. —Space Shuttle astronaut Tamara E. Jernigan

Scientists and religious people tend to agree that we are not alone in the universe. With so many stars in our galaxy and so many more galaxies beyond our own, and with billions that are likely to have Earthlike planets circling them, there is a tendency to think we cannot be the only “intelligent” lifeforms in the universe. This line of thinking has been bolstered recently with a study of the Kepler spacecraft’s findings that there might be 40 billion Earthlike planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone. However, probabilities are not actualities, and there are other theories that suggest the conditions for intelligent life are not necessarily found everywhere. Ben Finney has suggested that there are two strategies for exploring the galaxy: SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and IM, interstellar migration [1]. Communication technology is far ahead of transportation technology when it comes to galactic exploration because information can travel at the speed of light. Current propulsion capabilities limit human ambitions for physical exploration beyond the solar system. Even when the constraints of gravity have been overcome, the inability to travel faster than the speed of light will remain a barrier to galactic exploration. As Michael Collins said, “We have learned how to leave, but not how to go anywhere” [2]. Stretching some time into the future, barring major breakthroughs, we are going to be expanding into the inner solar system. The development of Terra and the establishment of Solarius will occupy most of our time and energy. Within the space frontier that will define Solarius for the next century, Mars holds out an expectation of discovering life of any kind. Beyond Mars, some of the moons of the outer planets, like Titan, potentially have the right 157

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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elements to create life, although it would probably be in an early stage of evolution. Is there intelligent life as we know it in the solar system beyond Earth? It is possible. It is also possible that intelligent life can evolve from compounds other than those with which we are familiar. There could, for example, be large, highly intelligent gas balloon creatures floating through the atmosphere of Jupiter. The question really is, “What does it take to create life on a planet?” It may require not only all the resources of the planet itself, but also all the capabilities of an entire solar system. The placement of the Earth in relation to the sun, its size, and a delicate mixture of elements are all essential to creating the kind of intelligent life with which we are familiar (ourselves). Just as a planet like Earth needs living systems to maintain its balance, a solar system may need life to fulfill its evolutionary destiny. It is also possible that a solar system generally evolves life first on one planet, such as Earth, from which the rest of the system is seeded by the “mother planet.” We just don’t know whether there is intelligent life elsewhere in the solar system, but we are looking for it. Thinking about life beyond Earth has been a concern of humanity throughout its history. Our current interest is ancient in its origins, pointing to the past as well as the future. SKY GODS

AND

GODDESSES

As a cultural pattern, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence has been an ongoing central project for millennia. History is replete with stories of “sky gods” interacting with humans. The Greek gods, for example, may have been the products of imagination, hallucinations according to Julian Jaynes, or even extraterrestrials, as some have suggested. There is an entire school of thought called Ancient Astronaut Theory, which posits that most of our religious stories of gods and goddesses are not stories created out of the imagination, but descriptions of actual events. At this distance from those times, we cannot know the absolute truth. However, these gods did live in the sky, where they had an “overview” of everything that happened on Earth, and they flew to the planet when they wanted to be involved in such earthly activities as the Trojan War. They were technologically more advanced than human beings and they were immortal, but otherwise they were not far beyond humans on the evolutionary ladder. They had family quarrels and nurtured personal jealousies, and they were capable of behaving callously toward one another and their human friends and enemies [3]. Before Greece, ancient Sumeria had its own pantheon of sky gods and goddesses, as did Egypt. With the advent of monotheism, the emphasis

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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changed but did not go away. The God of the Judeo-Christian tradition is the ultimate extraterrestrial. He lives in Heaven and comes down to Earth. He and his angels arrive and depart in vehicles that are described in some detail in the Bible. To call God an extraterrestrial is not to trivialize or explain away His majesty and power, but only to place Him in a context that is consistent with current events. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Hebrews would have had no problem with the concept that the universe is filled with intelligent beings. The relatively recent advance of modern science, which demands empirical evidence as the criterion of truth, has tended to drive God, gods, and goddesses out of the discussion, requiring that everything be understood within the scientific paradigm. There is a more recent mythology of sky gods and goddesses that keeps growing in spite of efforts to refute it, and even suppress it. For many, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence has actually ended and the quarry has been found right here on Earth. Highly publicized UFO sightings have continued almost unabated since 1947, and many people claim not only to have seen spaceships in the sky, but also to have been contacted and/or abducted by aliens. It is risky to mention the UFO phenomenon in a book about space exploration because it is a controversial and highly emotional issue. Whatever unidentified flying objects are, they have not yet become a common part of our consensus reality, and it is really necessary to write an entire book about them or ignore them altogether. However, if we simply look at how people describe UFO pilots, we can at least say it is consistent with how our ancestors described gods and goddesses. It may be useful to put aside the question of what UFOs are and to see them as a phenomenon that says something about the current consciousness of our society. The unrelenting deluge of books, films, and articles about extraterrestrials illustrates humanity’s continuing interest in the subject, which may manifest itself in socially acceptable activities such as SETI or socially questionable ones like claims to having been abducted by UFOs. The interest is similar, but its expression is very different. The evolution of extraterrestrial imagery, from the invaders from Mars in Orson Welles’s 1938 radio scare to the more beneficent icons of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., and Starman, punctuated by a swing back again in the X-Files and Aliens, symbolizes an uncertainty about whether we should embrace or fear whatever is out there. More recently, we have seen attacks from outer space in Independence Day, a remake of War of the Worlds, and a television series developed by Steven Spielberg called “Falling Skies,” which follows the struggles of small bands of human survivors fighting back against a devastating alien attack.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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In an interesting coincidence, Whitley Strieber published his book Communion in 1987, the same year as the first edition of this book came out. It detailed his experiences of alien abduction and triggered a spate of similar stories since that time. This line of thought suggests a different form of takeover of the Earth (i.e., by infiltration and subterfuge rather than an all-out assault). No less an authority than famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has warned against seeking contact with extraterrestrials. In a 2010 Discovery Channel documentary, he said: “If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans” [4]. In my own novel, Decision: Earth, I drew on insights from a film called The Day the Earth Stood Still and the novels of David Brin to posit that contact with a galactic civilization would face humans with a choice: come together and create peace, prosperity, and sustainability on your own planet if you want to join Galaxia [5, 6]. One thing is certain: If a civilization from another star system reveals itself to us publicly, that will be a transformational moment in human history, unlike anything that has gone before. Whether it happens through a communication process or physical contact may not be as important as the event itself. There are reasons to believe that the open appearance of representatives of an alien overview system will not take place until Solarian civilization is mature. An intelligent galactic civilization would know about the trauma that contact might inflict on Earth (as Hawking has noted) and may well choose to wait for humans to develop their own space-based civilization. That development, in turn, is not expected until after a complete overview of the solar system has been accomplished and Homo spaciens has emerged. At that point, humanity and its progeny may be prepared to enter into a partnership with, or begin creating, Galaxia. PROBABILITIES Because new information is the principal catalyst for social evolution, the possibility of a legitimate, recognized communication from a nonterrestrial civilization holds great significance for human society. Many questions are raised by this line of thought, including: †

† †

Has intelligent life similar to Homo sapiens evolved elsewhere in the galaxy? If so, does it have the capability for interstellar travel or communication? If there are other planetary or solar civilizations, are they isolated from one another or are they linked in a galactic overview system?

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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GALAXIA †

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161

If they are part of a galactic system, would they contact us randomly or wait until a specific moment in our history to do so? If they are not linked, will we have the opportunity to help build the galactic overview system?

Many of the issues surrounding first contact are matters of probability, captured most succinctly in the Drake equation, named for SETI pioneer Frank Drake. The Drake equation reads as follows: N Z NðsÞ ! FðpÞ ! NðeÞ ! FðlÞ ! FðiÞ ! FðcÞ ! ðLÞ N stands for the number of extraterrestrial civilizations able and willing to communicate. N(s) stands for the number of stars in the galaxy. F(p) refers to the fraction of stars with planets. N(e) is the number of planets ecologically suitable for life. F(l ) is the fraction of planets suitable for life where life has evolved. F(i ) stands for the fraction of “life-starts” where intelligence has appeared. F(c) refers to the fraction of intelligent species that have created a technical civilization. L equals the lifetime of those civilizations, or number still in existence [7]. Given the recent estimate of 40 billion Earth-like planets in the galaxy, we can skip to N(e) and assign the 40 billion figure to that variable. Let’s assume that on 50% of these planets life has evolved, which means that there are 20 billion planets with life. Dropping the probabilities a little, let’s assume that 25% of those life-bearing planets produce intelligence, which gives us 5 billion. Reducing it still further, if 10% of those have created technical civilizations, that would be 500 million. If we take the most conservative assumption, and posit that only 1% of these civilizations still exist, we still find that the galaxy is filled with 5 million extraterrestrial civilizations that should be able to communicate with Earthlings. Long before we were able to detect exoplanets (planets around other stars), Carl Sagan and Russian scientist I. S. Shklovskii used the Drake equation to arrive at the conclusion that there are between 50,000 and 1 million civilizations in the galaxy substantially in advance of our own. They also calculated that the average distance between these civilizations is a few hundred to a thousand light years and that the average age of a communicating civilization is 10,000 years or more. Drake, using his own equation, concluded that there are approximately 10,000 advanced civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy. It therefore seems reasonable to assume that between 10,000 and 5 million overview systems are operating in our galaxy and that some percentage of

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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them have linked up, so that a galactic civilization is either in existence or evolving. The outcome of first contact is unknown, because it would depend on the level humanity has reached when it occurs. The difference in contact during a preplanetary period and in 50 years, when we have a space-based civilization of our own, would be significant [8]. In my own book on the subject, The SETI Factor, I have pointed out that impact is a function of four variables, which have now been embodied in the White equation and contact impact model. These are distance in space, parity, volume, and distance in time. In other words, the impact of contact will go up as we communicate with creatures who are close to us in distance, ahead of us in development, willing to send us a large amount of information, and willing to contact us soon. It will go down as we communicate with beings who are far away, close to us in development, relatively stingy in what they transmit, and the contact takes place years from now [9]. For example, let’s assume there is an Earth-like planet circling the star Tau Ceti, which is 12 light-years away from Earth. As a guess, let us suppose that they are 2000 years ahead of us in social development, and 5 years from now they send us 10% of the information they have available to them. We can derive an “impact index” as follows: I ½impact PðdÞ ½Parity difference ! VðiÞ ½Fraction of total information transmitted Z D ½Distance in light  years ! T ½Time from now in years

IZ

2000 ! 0:1 12 ! 5

I Z 3:33 As a contrast, let’s keep all the variables the same, but assume that the signal sent to us comes from the star system Deneb, which is 1600 light-years away: IZ

2000 ! 0:1 1600 ! 5

I Z 0:025 The point is that the impact on our society, all other things being equal, is going to be much less if we hear from the Denebians instead of the Tau Cetians, because two-way communication with the former will take only 24 years, whereas with the latter it will take 3200 years. In the case of the Tau Cetians, conversations will take less than a generation, which would likely

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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accelerate the changes in our world dramatically and relatively quickly. And even if their intentions are benign, the resulting dislocations could be severe. For example, let’s assume they send us information on how to build a computer far in advance of anything we have now. What will happen to Apple, Microsoft, and IBM? Will they survive and thrive or collapse? Of course, if the contact is with a galactic civilization, the results might be even more dramatic than with one isolated planet. Or the outcome might be more modulated because the extraterrestrials might have a process of bringing us into Galaxia, as Carl Sagan outlined in his book, Contact (later made into a film). Whenever more advanced civilizations have communicated with less advanced cultures on Earth, the less advanced have sometimes suffered intensely, and sometimes adapted and done well. Our own culture understands this problem, at least in theory. For example, in the Star Trek television/film series, the crews of the Federation Star Fleet operate under a “Prime Directive” that prohibits any interference in the evolution of another culture. In the science fiction world of Star Trek, the Prime Directive is more than a regulation; it is the basis for a philosophy of space exploration. If a galactic civilization exists, it may have experienced the problems of bringing unprepared cultures into the larger domain of galactic interactions and may have its own Prime Directive, waiting until humanity is more mature. If contact comes sooner rather than later, it would put the entire space exploration venture in a new light. At the moment, we think of it as a human enterprise working with the resources of Earth and free space to bootstrap humanity outward into the solar system and beyond. However, contact with an advanced spacefaring civilization will transform everything. It could telescope dramatically the time needed to achieve the next steps in human evolution, making interstellar migration technologically possible. The launch and propulsion limitations might be lifted, and the transition to living and working in space would be rapid. In addition, a galactic civilization would probably have resolved such threats to intelligent life as nuclear weapons and be able to help us through that difficult transition. However, its citizens may choose not to help, even for such a positive purpose. They may know that it is necessary for a culture to confront this dilemma on its own, and being helped by others may distort the evolutionary process. A final possibility is that assistance would take place, but it would not be open or would go unrecognized because it was surreptitious. (Many ufologists believe this is already happening.) If it occurs, contact is not the end, but the beginning of the Galaxia story. Just as the development of planetary and solar overviews are necessary for taking the next step beyond those levels, a galactic overview will be required before the final journey into the universe of clusters and superclusters of

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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galaxies. If humanity has something unique to offer the planet and solar system in supporting evolution, the same is probably true of the galaxy and the universe. It is theoretically possible that humanity is alone and also that the universe is bursting with life and intelligence. Open contact may take a few years, several millennia, or it may never occur. The issue is not when contact will be made, but how to be ready for it, and that returns us to the task of becoming more responsible in our relationship to the universe.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Chapter 19

CREATING

THE

FUTURE

You begin to see that new values, norms, and laws will apply in space. —Skylab astronaut Gerald P. Carr One interesting aspect of the space program and how it relates to the health of the planet is technology transfer: how can we transfer Space Age knowledge to developing countries, for example? —Space Shuttle and ISS astronaut Ronald J. Garan, Jr.

Some 30 years ago, I was invited to talk about space exploration at my son’s day-care center, where the children ranged in age from 4 to 6 years old. They are now in their mid-30s, and some of them may become the new Martians or Lunarians. They have the opportunity to be the real pioneers of the space frontier, the creators of Solarius. I talked with them about space shuttles, space settlements, and living in space. Then I asked, “How many of you would like to live in space?” Several hands shot up, but a little boy named Masaki looked at me with a puzzled expression on his face and said, “But Mr. White, we are in space.” Masaki intuitively understood something I’ve been trying to get across to people for some time now, and it’s a very important point. We are in space, living on a large natural spaceship—Spaceship Earth, Buckminster Fuller called it. (He also said that we needed to launch a worldwide educational program informing everyone that we are already in space.) Taking into account the Earth’s motion around the sun and the sun’s motion around the galactic center, the path of our planet is a spiral, rather than a simple ellipse. Even as the Earth revolves around the sun, it never passes through the same quadrant of space twice. We are not going around in circles but passing through cycles that are quite similar to one another, yet always with a slight modification. Because our environment is never exactly the same, the evolutionary process never repeats itself. We find the shape of the Earth’s path throughout nature and it has long been a symbol of evolution, growth, and transformation. This is the shape of the DNA molecule, which holds the secret of life and the shape of many 165

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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galaxies. Our natural spaceship traverses a path that builds in the processes of equilibrium, change, and transformation as an inherent part of life. What we call the spaceflight experience is really the ability to get into scout ships, leave the mother ship, and take a good look at her and the rest of the universe. Being in orbit allows the astronaut to adjust his or her thinking to a reality that has always been there, but has only recently been experienced directly. Gene Cernan’s description of returning to Earth as returning to the crib is reminiscent of Plato’s famous discourse, The Republic. Speaking through the philosopher Socrates, Plato offered an allegory about people who are imprisoned in a cave and forced to look at a wall rather than out into the sunlight. A fire in the background casts shadows on the wall, and people walk behind the prisoners carrying vessels, statues, and figures of animals. To the prisoners, the shadows on the wall are reality, which they do their best to understand and describe accurately to one another. Because their vision is limited, however, they see only an illusion. Socrates then imagined a person who is taken out of the cave and shown the world beyond. It is painful and difficult for him at first, but as his eyes adjust to the light, he starts to see reality instead of shadows. Eventually, he can see the sun and understand it as the source of all life and goodness in the world. Socrates said that when this enlightened man returns to the cave and attempts to explain the broader reality to his fellow human beings, he will have problems, especially as his eyes are adjusting to the darkness. He will appear to have inferior, rather than superior, knowledge for having gone up into the light. Just as our own minds are restricted by our understanding of the physical universe, the mental universe of those people in the cave would also be restricted. They would be in the habit, Socrates said, “of conferring honors among themselves on those who were quickest to observe the passing shadows and to remark which of them went before, and which were together; and who therefore were best able to draw conclusions as to the future” [1]. A man who has returned from the upper world would find it difficult to analyze the shadows, partly because he has seen the light and partly because he has not yet adjusted to the darkness: And [if] he had to compete in measuring the shadows with the prisoners who had never moved out of the den, while his sight was still weak. would he not be ridiculous? Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not to think of ascending; and if anyone tried to loose another and lead him up into the light, let them only catch the offender and they would put him to death. [2]

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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THE

FUTURE

167

For the prisoners in the cave, the wider environment had always been there. Turning around and going up into the light did not create that wider environment, but it allowed them to perceive it fully. Initially they were chained and could not leave to see the new reality. However, once one of their number had made the trek, it became their choice to continue staring into the darkness. “It didn’t help him very much,” they would say. The people in the cave are like the imaginary detractors of the explorer fish, and they are like us today. We fail to realize that we are in space, that we have the means to experience it on a vast scale, and that doing so will free us from the illusory reality in which we daily indulge. Instead, we spend our time trying to fit outer space into our current paradigm and criticizing our astronauts for failing to explain the light in terms that the darkness can understand. Unfortunately, this is the perfect prescription for our continued solitary confinement from the rest of the universe. Going out into the frontier is not the point. Realizing that we are in space, have always been in space, and will always be in space, and beginning to deal with the implications of that fact is the key to everything. We are in space and we cannot be anywhere else, ever. We are already spacefaring creatures. The question is whether our expanded awareness will have a positive impact. Seen from this perspective, the issue is whether we are ready to mature as a species, look beyond our narrow parochial concerns, and become true citizens of the universe. Realizing where we are is mind-expanding, but we hate to admit it because it brings us back up against the issues of awareness and choice today, not in the future. The new civilizations, like the kingdom of heaven, are within us. Ultimately, going out to the frontier is not a technological achievement, but an accomplishment of the human spirit. “Space,” as used in the new space movement, is a metaphor for expansiveness, opportunity, and freedom. More than a place or even an experience, it is a state of mind. It is a physical, mental, and spiritual dimension in which humanity can move beyond the current equilibrium point, begin to change, and eventually transform itself into something so extraordinary that we cannot even imagine it. Space exploration, in all its forms, can become humanity’s modern central project, and the human space program can become the central project for all 7 billion of us. The goal should be to get us out of the cave, freeing us to see reality rather than the illusions that persist for a species chained to a planetary surface. The choice of becoming citizens of the universe can be rejected, but humanity can no longer plead ignorance of what is truly possible. Joseph Campbell, one of our leading mythology scholars, put it this way: The mystical theme of the space age is this: The world as we know it, is coming to an end. The world as the center of the universe, the world

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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divided by the heavens, the world bound by horizons in which love is reserved for members of the in-group.. Apocalypse does not point to a fiery Armageddon, but to the fact that our ignorance and complacency are coming to an end.. It’s fashionable now to demand some economic payoff from space, some reward to prove it was all worthwhile. Those who say this resemble the apelike creatures in “2001.” They are fighting for food among themselves, while one separates himself from them and moves to the slab, motivated by awe. That is the point they are missing. He is the one who evolves into a human being; he is the one who understands the future. [3]

And he was the first Terranaut.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Chapter 20

THE NEW CIVILIZATIONS

AND

YOU

I am doing this because I am following my heart. —Space Shuttle astronaut Bonnie J. Dunbar The view is a dynamic one that glows, and you almost feel more a part of it. It reaffirms what a beautiful place the Earth is. You feel stronger about your relationship with the Earth, and the importance of taking care of it. —Space Shuttle and ISS astronaut Nicole P. Stott

If the Earth is a natural spaceship, then everyone on it is either a passenger or a crew member. Buckminster Fuller was one of the first people to realize that the Earth is not only a spaceship, but also that it needs a crew. He was certainly one of the first pilots on the ship. Today, we also need mission specialists, payload specialists, citizen participants, and more. Those who qualify are the human space program’s Terranauts. The role you play is not as important as the awareness that you are “aboard ship” and can spend the entire journey asleep in a lounge chair or wake up and participate in a voyage. Becoming a Terranaut does not require you to change jobs, move to a new city, join the astronaut corps, or live on Mars. It does require becoming conscious of yourself and your place in the universe. To become a crew member on spaceship Earth, simply put your life and work in the context of the evolving new civilizations. Ask yourself daily, “How does my life support the positive evolution of the human future?” Whenever possible, think of yourself as being on a spaceship moving through the universe at a high rate of speed rather than a stable platform around which the universe revolves. Becoming a crew member requires a commitment to helping create the future, working with possibilities as well as probabilities. You have to develop your own vision and purpose and align it with universal purpose as you understand it. As this occurs, you will find yourself turning your attention to a vocation or avocation that directly supports the progress of this spaceship and this species on its journey through the universe. You will become a Terranaut. 169

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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The first step is to determine which of the three civilizations can best use your talents. Do you see yourself helping to lay the groundwork for Terra, Solarius, or Galaxia, bearing in mind that they are all additive and mutually interactive? The second step is to learn about what is possible. People all over the planet are already actively engaged in supporting the development of these civilizations. Researching what individuals and groups are doing to increase planetary awareness or supporting a strong global space program provides information on ways to take action. The third step is to listen to the messages coming to you from the universe. Be receptive to what appears in terms of a purpose and a task. Becoming aligned with universal purpose cannot be figured out; that level of awareness means being open and following the heart. Chance meetings, unpredicted events, and support from unexpected quarters can all be terribly important. I wanted to be an astronaut, but NASA’s requirements had always included a scientific or engineering background, which I didn’t have. However, I continued to be open to possibilities to become involved in the space movement. An otherwise uneventful flight to the West Coast triggered the experience that led to my Overview Effect research. I joined the Space Studies Institute (SSI) and was asked to speak there for the first time in 1983, where I also worked with people on a vision statement for space settlement. I presented my initial findings at SSI on the Overview Effect in 1985, and people began to support that effort. Step by step, my work as a Terranaut has become that of a communicator of the overview message, and the publication and republication of this book supports the continued dissemination of the message. I spent many years after the initial publication of this book feeling that I had failed, that the revolution I had wanted to start was stillborn. However, over time I met people like David Beaver, who funded a series of events culminating in the first Overview Effect conference in 2007. In 2008, we cofounded the Overview Institute and were joined in the work by others like Alex Howerton, our expert on “the Overview Effect of time.” Later, I met Steve Kennedy and Guy Reid, who had read The Overview Effect in high school and wanted to make a film about it. I helped them and their Planetary Collective partner, Christoph Ferstad, in every way that I could, and we premiered the film at Harvard University in 2012 under the auspices of Harvard’s Extension School, where I had taught for many years. Each thread of my life had led to that moment, and each thread of it since then has led to this moment, finishing the third edition of The Overview Effect. This work is part of my contribution to the evolution of the new civilizations. In addition to the Overview Project, I began to shape my activities within the context of a New Civilization Project aimed at communicating its message to

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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others. Now, I’m working on integrating the exploration adventure into my understanding of my original religious faith, Christianity. My story is important not because I’m special, but as a model of the possibilities available to anyone who wants to be a Terranaut. There are many jobs to do and a career path exists, but it is not obvious to everyone. You have to develop it for yourself. In this book I have described a vision of a possible future. Terra can be developed as a peaceful, prosperous, ecologically balanced planetary overview system, ideally suited not only for human life, but also as the kindly mother of spacefaring children who leave to found Solarius. Solarius can become an adventurous, open, free, and successful solar overview system, full of diversity and excitement, helping humanity reach the maturity necessary to make contact with the emerging galactic civilization. Galaxia can be an evolving civilization of the stars, propelling us to our ultimate destination as citizens of the universe. Can is the language of possibility, and there is nothing inevitable about this future history of humanity. Contrary to Joseph Campbell’s assertion, the end of the world, as we know it, can still be a “fiery Armageddon,” in which most of us perish. We can be encouraged, however, based on the evidence of the change in consciousness catalyzed by space exploration, to believe that the larger environment is supporting these positive directions in evolution. It also appears that humanity, as an essential component in the creation of overview systems, has something useful to offer the universe as a whole. However, although the environment does support certain trends, it also appears to be quite sanguine about dead ends, failures, and extinctions. Species come and go, but life and the universe continue. THE HUMAN SPACE PROGRAM The embryonic human space program exists in all the national space programs, the private pro-space societies and activities around the world, and the actions of individuals working alone for a positive future. However, there is no unifying vision to balance this diversity, and the human space program is not yet a conscious human system. To give power to the emergent reality, then, I suggested in the first edition of this book that we declare the establishment of the program and provide it with a long-range plan from which it would be possible for aspiring Terranauts to choose their vocations and contributions. The following are the fundamental elements of the program: †

Purpose: To support humanity’s understanding and achievement of its purpose as an active partner in universal evolution, creating overview systems that increase conscious awareness throughout the universe

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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† † †

FRANK WHITE

Vision: A universal civilization, a golden age, humanity taking its rightful place as citizens of the universe Long-term goals: Establishing planetary, solar, and galactic civilizations as steps to a universal civilization Immediate objectives: Creating conditions for planetary peace and humanity’s migration to the solar system and the stars Participants: All human beings and other sentient species Spatial parameters: The universe Temporal parameters: The millennium, 2000–3000

If humanity is to achieve this vision, a formidable number of tasks, enough to engage the talents and energies of the entire planet, must be accomplished. A partial list of the critical initiatives to be taken includes the following: †













Analyze in more detail how exploration affects mental and spiritual evolution. We know that there is an inner space/outer space interface, but we do not know enough about its operation. Additional research into exploration and its impact on mental and spiritual outlook is needed. What do great religious teachings of Earth say about outer space? Conduct further research on the great purpose. Is there evidence for a human purpose in the universe, or is it only a metaphor? In particular, this program should look into how overview systems may relate to entropy. Support development of the grand synthesis. Help scientists to bring forth the grand synthesis hypothesis of Pioneering the Space Frontier. Develop a planetary social contract. Conduct research into social contract theory. Determine how it can be adapted to our current situation and develop a new theory for the whole planet. Develop a Terran constitution. Create a constitutional framework based on understanding the social contract and human purpose and including all nations and ideologies in the context of that purpose. Note that this need not lead to creation of a world government. Inventory the technosystem and its capabilities. Conduct research to determine the level of awareness currently imparted by artificial intelligence techniques and the extent to which the planetary nervous system is in place through the Internet, World Wide Web, and other technologies. Inventory ways in which opening the frontier has a direct impact on Earth’s social needs. Conduct research into the ways space exploration and development can help to alleviate hunger, increase world energy supplies, prevent war, and improve the quality of life.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Support the Overview Project and the Overview Institute. Assist in disseminating the overview message planetwide. Explore the moral equivalent to war thesis. Further develop the idea of channeling aggressive drives away from war and toward peaceful development of outer space. Promote the idea of a summit conference in space. Determine a realistic scenario. When would be a reasonable time for it? Who should attend? What infrastructure must be in place for it to occur? Could we simulate it on Earth? Support organizations like the Overview Institute, Space Frontier Foundation, National Space Society, and International Space University (ISU). Find an organization whose mission complements yours and support it in any way you can. Develop the idea of the solar system as an environment. What role does each of its subsystems play? How can we achieve a more complete overview of the solar system? Conduct research into the role that Mars has played in human evolution. The impact of Mars on human life in general and in space exploration in particular is remarkable. More needs to be known to understand its future impact. Expand research on speciation. Cultural evolution will be rapid in nonterrestrial environments. Biological speciation is a high probability, but the time frame is uncertain. Additional research should be conducted to determine how and when speciation may occur. Investigate the probable impact of contact with a galactic civilization. Contact without preparation could be devastating, but thoughtful contact can be of great benefit to both species. Active efforts to prepare for communication (“Getting ready for SETI”) may hasten the day when it occurs. Begin a campaign to inform humanity that we are in space. Increase awareness in general, especially of the preparations for contact with Galaxia. Support development of the new paradigm by NASA and other national space agencies. Continuing the paradigm of low cost/high access to the frontier will give NASA the vision it needs to be effective and generate public support. Support ideas for international space missions, especially to Mars. Support those who are marshaling the channeling of aggressive drives into space. Launch the human space program. Collect information on national space programs, space interest groups, university courses, private enterprise efforts, SETI projects, and individual efforts contributing to the positive evolution of humanity in space.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Explore the relationship between the space exploration paradigm and world religions. Does the new paradigm complement or contradict these value systems?

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BECOMING

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TERRANAUT

Anyone who wants to be a Terranaut can support these projects or create his or her own. There are many other specific steps one can take to participate in the founding of the new civilizations, including joining a space-related interest group or any organization that is working toward a sustainable and peaceful planet. However, the most important step is to take personal responsibility for the human future. As more people do so, they can help ensure that the possibilities they care about will become probabilities. The human space program has existed in the collective unconscious of humanity since the dawn of awareness. Over time it has become more apparent, and it represents a great hope for the future because it is aligned with universal purpose. The Terranaut is a new agent of change on the scene. Like the human space program, Terranauts have always been there, unrecognized and without a label. Now they can emerge and play a formative role in human evolution. Do the new civilizations have anything to do with you? The answer, ultimately, depends on you.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Part III

EXPERIENCES OF THE ASTRONAUTS AND COSMONAUTS

AUTHOR’S NOTE Part III describes the experiences of space travelers without the filter provided by the commentary and analyses in Parts I and II. It consists of reconstructions of my interviews, supplemented by selected writings, with people who have gone into orbit or traveled to the moon and three “new astronauts” who will soon take suborbital hops. Many of the interviews were longer than what is reproduced here, and they are not word-for-word renditions of the discussions. I have made every effort, however, to work with the astronauts to render accurately the essential points and convey the meaning of what they said. In any instance where that is not the case, the responsibility is, of course, solely mine. The astronaut interviews are organized according to each person’s first spaceflight. Overall, The Overview Effect should be seen as a beginning—certainly not the end—of the process of understanding the human experience in space. YURI ALEXEYEVICH GAGARIN VOSTOK I

Yuri Gagarin was the first human to enter space, completing one orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961. A Soviet Air Force pilot, Gagarin was 27 when he made his flight and spent 1 hour and 48 minutes in orbit. Gagarin continued his career as a cosmonaut until 1968, when he was killed in an airplane crash. Gagarin’s description is from Survival in Space.

Trembling with excitement I watched a world so new and unknown to me, trying to see and remember everything. Astonishingly bright cold stars could be seen through the windows. They were still far away—oh, so far away—but in orbit they seemed closer than the Earth. But the point was not the distance (my distance from the Earth was but a drop in the ocean compared to the light-years separating us from the stars) but the principle. Man had overcome the force of Earth’s gravity and gone out into space. 175

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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ALAN B. SHEPARD JR.

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FREEDOM 7, APOLLO 14

Alan Shepard, the first American to go into space, made a 15-minute suborbital flight on May 5, 1961. He later commanded the Apollo 14 mission to the moon in January 1971. Though his first flight was short, his total time in space was just over 9 days. Shepard described his Mercury mission in We Seven, from which his words were excerpted.

It was now time to go to the periscope. I had been well briefed on what to expect, and one of the last things I had done . before suiting up was to study . some special maps which showed me the view I would get. I had some idea of the huge variety of color and land masses and cloud cover which I would see from 100 miles up. But no one could be briefed well enough to be completely prepared for the astonishing view that I got. My exclamation back to Deke [Donald K. Slayton] about the “beautiful sight” was completely spontaneous. It was breathtaking. JOHN H. GLENN, JR. FRIENDSHIP 7

Major John Glenn, a U.S. Marine Corps pilot, the fifth person to enter space, was the first American to orbit the Earth. His flight on Mercury’s Friendship 7, on February 20, 1962, lasted just under 5 hours. Glenn’s reactions are from We Seven.

Now, for the first time, I could look out the window and see back along the flight path. I could not help exclaiming over the radio about what I saw. “Oh,” I said, “that view is tremendous!” It really was. I could see for hundreds of miles in every direction—the sun on white clouds, patches of blue water beneath, and great chunks of Florida and the southeastern United States. While I was reporting in by radio to the Canary Island tracking station, I had my first glimpse of the coast of Africa. The Atlas Mountains were clearly visible through the window. Inland, I could see huge dust storms from brush fires raging along the edge of the desert. One of the things that surprised me most about the flight was the percentage of the Earth which was covered by clouds. They were nearly solid over Central Africa and extended out over most of the Indian Ocean and clear across the Pacific. I could not establish the exact altitude of the various

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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layers, but I could easily determine where one layer ended and another layer began by the shadows .. I found weightlessness to be extremely pleasant. I must say it is convenient for a space pilot .. The fact that this strange phenomenon seemed so natural at the time indicates how rapidly men can adapt to a new environment. I am sure that I could have gone for a much longer period in a weightless condition without being bothered by it at all. Being suspended in a state of zero g is much more comfortable than lying down under the pressure of one g on the ground, for you are not subject to any pressure points. You feel absolutely free .. I witnessed my first sunset over the Indian Ocean, and it was a beautiful display of vivid colors. The sun is perfectly round and it gives off an intense, clear light which is more bluish-white than yellow, and which reminded me in color and intensity of the huge arc lights we used at the Cape .. Then, just as the sun starts to sink into the bright horizon, it seems to flatten out a little. As the sun gets lower and lower, a black shadow moves across the Earth until the entire surface that you can see is dark except for the bright band of light along the horizon .. It is a fabulous display. MALCOLM SCOTT CARPENTER AURORA 7

In May 1962, Scott Carpenter flew the Mercury mission that followed John Glenn’s flight. He was the sixth person to go into space, where he spent just under 5 hours. Carpenter’s words are from We Seven.

The first thing that impressed me when I got into orbit was the absolute silence. One reason for this . was that the noisy booster had just separated and fallen away, leaving me suddenly on my own. But it was also a result . of the sensation of floating that I experienced as soon as I became weightless. All of a sudden, I could feel no pressure of my body against the couch. And the pressure suit, which is very constricting and uncomfortable on the ground, became entirely comfortable. The pressures were all equal; even a change in position made no difference. It was part of the routine to report this moment to the ground as soon as it came. It was such an exhilarating feeling, however, that my report was a spontaneous and joyful exclamation: “I am weightless!” Now the supreme experience of my life had begun .. In the early part of the first orbit I concentrated mainly on the control system and did not really look around. When I finally did, the sight was overwhelming. There were cloud formations that any painter could be proud

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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of—little rosettes or clustered circles of fair-weather cumulus down below. I could also see the sea down below and the black sky above me. I could look off for perhaps a thousand miles in any direction, and everywhere I looked the window and the periscope were constantly filled with beauty. I found it difficult to tear my eyes away and go on to something else. Everything is new and so awe-inspiring that it is difficult to concentrate for very long on any one thing. Later on, when I knew that I was returning to some wonderful sight that I had seen before, I could hardly wait to get there. I crossed the United States in early morning light. The ground seemed closer than I thought it would, and though it was 100 miles down and I was going 5 miles per second, it seemed to pass underneath me at about the same speed as in a jet at 40,000 feet—perhaps just a little faster. Where it was not covered by clouds, I could see the ground remarkably well . rivers and lakes—even a train on a track. And as I passed over farm country in the southwest I could tell where the south 40 was cultivated and the north 40 was lying fallow. At every new sight, my elation was renewed, and I kept waiting again for the next one. The last hour before retro-fire passed quickly, just as all the rest of time had. Flying through space, I felt a curious compression of time, as if the speed at which I traveled had some effect on the length of moments I spent there and packed them too tightly on top of one another. After the flight I sat for a long time just thinking about what I’d been through. I couldn’t believe it had all happened. It had been a tremendous experience, and though I could never really share it with anyone, I looked forward to telling others as much about it as I could .. I felt that space was so fascinating and that a flight through it was so thrilling and so overwhelming that I only wished I could get up the next morning and go through the whole thing all over again. I wanted to be weightless again, and see the sunsets and sunrises, and watch the stars drop through the luminous layer, and learn to master that machine a little better so I could stay up longer. There’s no doubt about it, space is a fabulous frontier, and we are going to solve some of its mysteries and bring back many of its riches in our lifetime. EUGENE A. CERNAN GEMINI 9, APOLLO 10, AND APOLLO 17

Among astronauts with more than one of the available spaceflight experiences, Eugene A. Cernan, former U.S. Navy captain, stands out for the variety of experiences he can recount. Cernan flew on Gemini 9 in 1966. He was aboard Apollo 10 in May 1969, descending to within

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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9 miles of the lunar surface. He was the last man to walk on the moon when he was in the crew of Apollo 17 in December 1972. His total time spent in space is 23 days. He also set the record for a lunar EVA (with Harrison Schmitt) of just over 22 hours. The following is a reconstruction of my telephone conversation with him on December 3, 1985.

White: I’m interested in several questions. The first is whether it makes a difference psychologically to see the universe from a different point of view. Second, especially in your case, is whether different types of spaceflight have a different kind of impact. Cernan: Being a quarter million miles out in space has to give you a different perspective. Anyone who denies it has missed something. Being in Earth orbit vs going out beyond must be separated. Philosophically, we really have had two different space programs. When you are in Earth orbit, looking down, you see lakes, rivers, and peninsulas such as Florida or Baja California. You quickly fly over the changes in topography like the snow-covered mountains or deserts or tropical belts—all very visible. You pass through a sunrise and sunset every 90 minutes. Without question, when you are in Earth orbit, you get a new perspective, but you don’t have time to get philosophical about it. One minute you are over the United States, the next minute, you are over another area of the world. You are invigorated over where you are, but physically you are still part of the Earth—a system you can understand and relate to. When you leave Earth orbit, all those coastlines and rivers you see in orbit become oceans and continents. You can see from pole to pole and ocean to ocean without even turning your head. You can see across the entirety of a continent. Something different is happening. You literally see North and South America go around the corner as the Earth turns on an axis you can’t see and then miraculously Australia, then Asia, then all of America comes up to replace them. You see a multicolored three-dimensional picture of Earth. You begin to see how little we understand of time. You ask yourself the question “Where really am I in space and time?” You can watch the sun set across North America and then see it rising again over Australia. You look back “home” and say to yourself, “That’s humanity, love, feeling, and thought.” You don’t see the barriers of color and religion and politics that divide this world. You wonder, if you could get everyone in the world up there, wouldn’t they have a different feeling— a new perspective?

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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You can’t return home without feeling that difference. But you do come back to reality very quickly. You try to share and relate your feelings to others, but you can’t take a billion people back with you. It’s almost as if you have come back from the future. You wonder, if only everyone could relate to the beauty and the purposefulness of it, the reality of the infinity of time and space, how our star moves through time and space with such logic and purpose. It wouldn’t bring a utopia to this planet for people to understand it all, but it might make a difference. In Earth orbit, there are things to see and feel on a more minute and micro scale. You don’t tend to appreciate what it all means because the trips are so close to home. When I was on the moon somewhere out there in the universe, I had to stop and also ask myself, “Do you really know where you are in space and time and history?” I was watching time go by on Earth, but time as we understand it did not really affect us on the moon. A moon day is 14 Earth days: in the 3 days we lived there, it rose ever so slightly. Time, as we relate it to day and night, effectively stood still there. Time on Earth did not; 13 days of people’s lives passed, and we watched it happen, but Earth time did not really affect us. And again, you only see the boundaries of nature from there, boundaries God created, not those that are manmade. We could see the Antarctic continent as the summer ice cap broke away, could “view” the turmoil in the Middle East, knowing what was going on, knowing of the tension that existed there but yet could not point to any single event. White: It’s like Plato’s story of the people living in a cave and seeing reflections of reality all their lives. Then one man goes out and sees the sun and comes back to the cave, but no one can understand what he is talking about. One of the things this research has shown me is that the problem is not that the astronauts aren’t articulate about their experiences, but that we have no context for hearing what you are saying. Cernan: Yes. I laugh about it a bit. I wrote a letter to Jim Beggs [former NASA administrator] because of something he said to justify why we were sending a journalist on the shuttle. He said something to the effect that they hoped a journalist would be able to communicate the experience after a quarter century of astronauts in space being unable to do so. I personally took grave issue with him because I know what it takes to allow people to identify—to relate through me the answers to “How does it feel?” “What did you think?” “Were you scared?” I happen to be in support of journalists in space, but for other reasons. I can talk about it for a long time. It is one of the deepest, most emotional experiences I have ever had. I have been involved with the young students in Up with People who are communicating to others via music. I was sharing with them some of what I thought and felt while standing on the moon, and

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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they wrote a song called “Moonrider” about what it was like for one man standing alone on another planet a quarter million miles away in space, looking back home. It’s a moving song with a strong message and equally strong impact. One phrase expresses it well for me: “Isn’t it the way we perceive things that will make them what they will be?” At the pleasure of the president, we traveled around that same world after our Apollo 17 flight in order to share our experiences with others. The native folks in West Africa, for example, seemingly out of touch, were enthralled and wanted to know what it looked like, what it felt like when you looked back. They somehow wanted to be there through us. People can relate to feelings, but not very well to technology. And through us, they vicariously experienced what they might have seen or been moved to believe. The space program by its very nature has at least philosophically brought the world closer. It is truly one of the greatest endeavors in the history of mankind. But, like Lindbergh, the technology of his voyage was soon forgotten and is taken for granted today. What people do remember and admire is the spirit of a guy like Lindbergh who had the guts to do what he did. Most people wouldn’t do what he did even today. It’s the human spirit of those who dared challenge the future. Perhaps we were ahead of our time when we went to the moon—but then, somebody has to be. White: Several people in Houston mentioned that it was really only the space program that kept the American spirit intact during the sixties and early seventies, almost as if we reached beyond ourselves to make up for some of the suffering we were enduring as a nation. Cernan: The space program was the only thing that allowed us to keep our heads high. When Neil walked on the moon, you could have been an American anywhere in the world, and you would have been a hero. Perhaps this was true even in the prisons of North Vietnam. It’s special. When I worked on the Apollo-Soyuz mission, Alan Bean and I were the only people involved who had actually been on the moon. The Russian people couldn’t subdue their enthusiasm: “There’s a man who has walked on another world.” White: It’s a universal feeling. Cernan: We won’t go back to the moon or on to Mars perhaps for another generation, not until something new challenges us. President Kennedy challenged us, he challenged our spirit, our commitment as a nation. He said we should do it, “not because it was easy, but because it was hard”—and we did it. Until there is a new motivation, we won’t return, but it will happen. Traveling 240,000 miles out in space will always be unique, but it will happen again. Going into space has almost become relatively routine, at least

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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an acceptable risk, but you must remember that going beyond near space, detaching yourself from the planet’s “routine” and voyaging out into the universe, will always be philosophically different. White: There is a difference between exploring and developing, I suppose. [Apollo 7 astronaut] Walt Cunningham told me that the shuttle astronauts are not really exploring space, they are sampling it. Cernan: Well, I believe they are exploring, but equally important, they are beginning to exploit space in a positive and appropriate sense. Economics is one of the stimuli now. Walt is right; they are not really exploring in the true sense. We would have to go back to the moon or Mars to really be exploring again. White: Did you leave the space program because it was no longer an exploratory activity? Cernan: The shuttle is still a space adventure. I would have stayed to fly the shuttle, not simply to see more sunrises and sunsets in Earth orbit. Because I am a pilot, I’d have had to wait 5 to 6 years to fly the shuttle, and I thought, I have to be the luckiest guy in the world already; what else can I do? If there were a Mars or lunar mission getting ready to go, that would be different. I don’t believe I would have wanted to spend 90 days in Skylab the second time around. Now the first time they went up, that was exploration. White: Is it true that you are working with companies involved in space development? Cernan: Yes, with companies that are involved in the development of space in one way or another. But I must say, it is sometimes hard to find a challenge that compares .. MICHAEL COLLINS GEMINI 10, APOLLO 11

Michael Collins was in the second group of astronauts to serve after the original Mercury Seven. He flew on the Gemini mission of July 1966 and on the first moon landing mission, Apollo 11, in July 1969. As command module pilot for the latter flight, Collins orbited the moon while Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. landed at Tranquility Base and became the first humans in recorded history to walk on the moon. Collins is the author of Carrying the Fire, an excellent description of his experiences as an astronaut. The first section that follows is from his book. The balance is from my telephone interview with him on January 17, 1986.

I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of . 100,000 miles, their outlook would be White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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fundamentally changed. That all-important border would be invisible, that noisy argument suddenly silenced. The tiny globe would continue to turn, serenely ignoring its subdivisions, presenting a united facade that would cry out for unified treatment .. I think the view from 100,000 miles could be invaluable in getting people together to work out joint solutions, by causing them to realize that the planet we share unites us in a way far more basic and far more important than differences in skin color or religion or economic system. The pity of it is that so far the view from 100,000 miles has been the exclusive property of a handful of test pilots, rather than the world leaders who need this new perspective, or the poets who might communicate it to them. White: Did you find a major difference between your Gemini and Apollo missions? Collins: There is definitely a different feeling. At 100 miles up, you are just skimming the surface, and you don’t get a feeling for the Earth as a whole. It’s a pity that we have stopped going a greater distance from Earth, as with the moon missions. By that, I mean 100,000 miles minimum. When you are in orbit, it’s like a roller-coaster ride. On the way to the moon, that feeling of motion stops. It is definitely two very different elements. Also, seeing the moon up close is really startling. When you are 60 miles away, you realize we are really lucky to be living on Earth. You sort of have to see the “second planet” [the moon] to appreciate the first [the Earth]. White: You wrote a bit in Carrying the Fire about how your journey had changed you. Have there been any changes in your viewpoint since you wrote the book in the 1970s? Collins: Well, everybody’s story is different. In the last 5 or 6 years, I have been getting more involved in the military aspects of space. I am getting more and more irritated with the Russians. They have a sanctimonious attitude and there is a real difference between what they do and what they say. They are developing high-powered lasers and an ASAT [anti-satellite] system. Their words and deeds are far apart, and that irritates me. They are doing it, but they have been very successful in denying it. The Third World countries are feeling that we are the ones who are militarizing space, not the Russians. This is counter to the wonderful idea of a tiny globe we share as brothers. I am not as convinced that it will happen any time soon. I think it will take a precipitating event to bring us together as nations. Perhaps an attack by “little green men” or Khadafy blowing up a part of the Earth. I am less optimistic about getting humankind together than I was 10 years ago. Still, I think if you could send enough people up, that would have a salutary effect.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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White: I mentioned to Joe Allen that I had a vision of a summit conference on the space station, and he thought it was a pretty good idea. Collins: I would like to see political leaders go. I’m not naive in terms of what it would accomplish. But it would be a good idea. The Soviets are acting out of fear of SDI because they are afraid of Reagan. It’s a paradox. If you want cooperation from the Russians, perhaps Rusty [Schweickart]’s approach is not the best one. You don’t meet with them, you aren’t nice to them. I started out with Rusty on the Association of Space Explorers, but I dropped out. I asked the Russians about ASAT, and they either lied or really didn’t know about it. Having said all that, I’ll back up and say that talk is a good thing. There should be discussions between the two countries, doctors to doctors, astronauts to cosmonauts, and so forth. White: Do you think that space exploration is contributing to world unity in any way now? Collins: Yes, space has been helpful and stabilizing in the area of spy satellites. They cannot move a truck, van, or missile without our knowing about it, and vice versa. Also, communications satellites have revolutionized our way of communicating with each other. White: In a way, you are saying that space exploration is helping to accomplish more world unity, but not necessarily world peace. They may not be the same. Collins: Yes, I hadn’t thought of that before. Another sense of it is this: we made a trip around the world after Apollo 11. People came up to us and said, “We did it!” Not “You Americans did it.” They felt that “we humans” had done it. It was a short-lived attitude, but something like a lunar landing can have that kind of effect. White: Did you feel some of that when you were participating in the lunar landing? I know President Nixon in his phone call to you mentioned that your landing had unified all of mankind. Collins: No, I felt, “What is this man talking about?” I felt that he was making a political statement to the United States and the world. I thought, “When I get back, I will ponder this.” At the time, I was too concerned with avoiding the trees to think about the forest. White: You mean that doing your job well was your main concern? Collins: Yes. I have said that the best crew for the Apollo mission would be a philosopher, a priest, and a poet. Unfortunately, they would kill themselves trying to fly the spacecraft. Unfortunately, then, you are left with test pilots. We are the ones who give you the best chance of coming back in one piece. You may find someone who can master both aspects, but I haven’t seen it. White: Do you have any thoughts on how space exploration will affect future human evolution?

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Collins: I don’t know any more about it than the sci-fi writers, but if you go off to the edge of the universe and look back at our corner, you will see a lot of stars. Some of those systems are surrounded by planets. They must be. If we make the most pessimistic assumptions, we are looking at 10 to the 15th power planets that are suitable for life. They are chugging along, those with inhabitants who haven’t learned how to leave, and those with inhabitants who have. We have figured out how to leave, but not how to go anywhere. There are impediments in our way. Einstein said it would take a long time to get anywhere in the universe. But human beings will have the curiosity to want to go farther away and see what’s out there. We will discover “delectable” planets and want to go there. Also, SETI [the search for extraterrestrial intelligence] may bring humans together in a way different from spaceflight. RUSSELL L. (“RUSTY”) SCHWEICKART APOLLO 9

Russell L (“Rusty”) Schweickart flew on Apollo 9, a 10-day orbital mission on March 3, 1969, between Apollo 8’s dramatic journey to the moon and the first moon landing by Apollo 11 in July 1969. Since his flight, Schweickart has been involved in a number of endeavors, including the founding of the Association of Space Explorers. Much of his experience, described and included in Parts I and II, is not repeated here. The following is based on notes I made during my telephone interview with Schweickart on October 29, 1985.

White: Has your experience had a continuing impact on your life? Schweickart: Yes. It changed my life. It isn’t something that came and then went back. White: I had quite a transformational experience in writing about your experience. Have you found that other people change when they hear about it? Schweickart: Yes, they do. In some cases, nothing is transmitted at all. It depends on the individual and the setting. Often, it is so profound and immediate that it scares me. When you are dealing with powerful medicine, it may be better to get it in small doses. People occasionally are so overwhelmed that they become inarticulate about what they get, and you feel responsible for what has happened to this other human being. It happens in ways that are very moving. White: Can you talk a little bit about the Association of Space Explorers and the impact you hope it might have?

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Schweickart: I’m happy to. We’re a small group of people, about 40 from 16 countries around the planet. But each of us has seen the Earth as a single place with our own eyes. If we, as individuals, can go beyond our differences to act on our commonality, then the association might have a strong impact on how people view the space environment. To the extent that we can transmit what you call the “overview,” that we are one life and live on one planet, it can have a very strong effect. It’s not clear the extent to which we can get it across. It’s much too early to tell. I hope it will, but that is a lot different from an expectation. White: Could all this ultimately have an impact on how nations will behave? Schweickart: That’s a good question; I don’t have an answer. My interest is in elevating the vision of the community of people on the surface to the importance of this [space] environment, and the way it’s going to affect the future of humanity. We have the opportunity to wipe out life on this planet, and we can also see it as a whole. The technology available allows both. For example, I viewed my mother quite differently when I was in the womb than I did after birth. Afterward, I was able to take more responsibility for her. There is a great deal of difference depending on the perspective one has. It’s what I call the Cosmic Birth Phenomenon. To some extent, the choice is going to be made in our lifetime. It is largely influenced by the perception or context in which it is made. If it’s “They are the enemy and they are over there,” one acts consistently with that perception. If you see it at a higher level, that we are all locked together in a planetary context and are coevolving, that also shapes certain actions. ALAN L. BEAN APOLLO 12, SKYLAB 3

Alan Bean was lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, November 14, 1969. He later commanded the Skylab 3 mission. His total time of just under 70 days in space included almost 10 hours of EVA. Since leaving the astronaut corps, Bean has taken an unusual path for former astronauts by becoming a professional artist. All his scenes are related to space exploration and development. I interviewed Bean on July 28, 1986.

White: Could you compare the Skylab experience with the Apollo experience? Bean: The thing that I noticed most about the difference was that it’s easy to maintain interest and enthusiasm when the tasks are always new, you’re going somewhere, new visual stimuli day after day, or hour after hour, and

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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that’s what the lunar mission is. It’s a trip for 10 days or so, and everything is new along the way, except maybe for a couple of days on the way back, when you are just gliding. With Skylab that wasn’t true. The first few days were different and the last few days were different, but through the middle, things stayed the same day after day. So I felt it was a more challenging situation for the individual to keep up his production and his sense of humor and all those other things that go along with being able to perform day after day. White: Just the experience of being in space is not itself novel enough to overcome the boredom. Bean: It’s novel enough for a little while, but then, if you look out the window, what else is new? It’s still an incredible, stimulating experience, but not stimulating in a different way. Of course, on the days you go EVA, that’s a lot of stimulus and it’s fun and enjoyable and you wish you could do it more. But usually, day to day, you’re not doing EVA. You’re waking up and you’re operating experiments and things like that, and you might as well be on Earth for all that you’re aware. You are in zero gravity, and you know it, but it’s not an important aspect in your day-to-day tasks. White: How about the view of the Earth? Several lunar astronauts have commented that there is a very powerful difference in seeing it from the greater distance than from seeing it up close. Did you find that, too? Bean: Yes. It’s more unreal, your sense of separation from the Earth is greater, and you feel the danger more. So there is a great psychological difference. There is a difference between knowing you are just going to go around and around and around the Earth and knowing you’re headed outward from it, and it’s going to be a long time before you come back. Apollo 13 found out how difficult that could be. Once you’ve headed away from Earth and had a problem, you couldn’t just turn around and come home. You had to go all the way around the moon and come back, hoping your supplies would last long enough, which they barely did on that mission. White: How about landing on the moon? Some astronauts have talked about a very sharp contrast between Earth and moon, between a living planet that can support life and a dead planet that cannot. Was that important to your experience? Bean: Well, it really wasn’t, at the moment of landing. I’ve been to places in the United States where there might as well have been nobody else, because the only people there were you and one or two friends. I noticed the contrast when I landed on Earth and looked out the window and was aware that the waves were moving and the clouds were moving and the ship was coming toward us, and then it was more of a realization that for the last 10 days I hadn’t seen any of those things. It wasn’t that I had missed them so much when I was gone; it was more that when I got back and saw what was

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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here, I recognized immediately that I had been deprived of them for the previous 10 days. White: You had an EVA for Skylab, and walking on the moon is another kind of EVA. Did you find that strikingly different from being in the spaceship? Bean: I think it’s more science fiction to do an EVA outside the spaceship as on Skylab because it’s not like anything you’ve ever done before. If you went outside an airliner and somehow could crawl along the wings, and it kept moving along, that would be similar to Skylab. Walking on the moon is similar to experiences in which you’ve walked in dirt, under bright lights, or in the dark, in areas that have been kind of strange. However, because of the distance from Earth and the fact that it really was the moon, I’ve pondered and thought much more, many times more, about my lunar walks than I have about my Skylab EVA. White: I asked Jerry Carr whether he thought a lot about being in space, or was it something that was in the back of his mind. He said something would stimulate thoughts and then it would come up. Is that your experience, or is it something that you tend to ponder quite a bit, integrating it into your current life? Bean: Since I’m an artist painting my experiences and those of others on the moon, perhaps I think about it more than other people, because I’m doing it a number of hours per day. But I find that I think about it the most at times like this, when I’m being interviewed. I give speeches a couple of times a month, and I think about it a lot then: getting ready for the speech, trying to remember what would be interesting to the audience. White: We’re in an extraordinary situation in that so few people have had the experience of space travel. When you think about walking on the moon, you realize that only 12 people have ever done it. It puts a burden on the astronauts when all of us want to know what it was like. Bean: I think people want more from the experience than is perhaps there. I have to admit that if I ran into somebody who had climbed the Matterhorn, I would probably say, “What is it like?” The answer might reasonably be, “It was just like climbing all the other difficult mountains I’ve ever climbed.” White: Do you think it’s possible that the media are creating a mythological description of the space experience? You have said that people want more of it than is there. Bean: I said people want more than might be there. I don’t know, maybe it is there. I think that’s quite possible about the media. As an astronaut, you think of all these experiences in a different way when you’re doing them than people are interested in hearing about when you get back. Your mind is set one way as you do the job—you’re thinking about getting a particular experiment done, staying on time, and watching things. It’s a situation in

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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which you’re doing a lot of different things, requiring thought and skill and trying to do them right. These thoughts dominate the mind. With each experiment, for example, you have to know how to get it out of its box or how to get the foil off and then how to set it down and how to align it so that it has the right direction. All these things that nobody gives a damn about, but that’s what you’re really thinking about when you’re on the moon or in space. When you come back, people want you to talk about it in a completely different way. It’s nice to get the attention, but these philosophical thoughts aren’t what you refined during the training period. You begin to think about them only when people ask you. You were really refining other skills. It’s like my paintings. I start off with Masonite, it’s brown, and a bunch of tubes that all look the same except they have different colored labels on them, and a bunch of brushes, and that’s about it. Yet, pretty soon, when I use these materials, the painting starts to be an astronaut. Day to day, I put on paint and try to get the shadows right, making the action look interesting and paying attention to other technical considerations. At the end, people want to talk about the story told and the hidden meaning of the painting. I’ve created something beautiful, but my moment-to-moment work was not creating something beautiful, it was making each of those little details right. White: What led to your decision to leave the space program and take up painting? Bean: I’ve been painting for 25 years as a hobby. I began when I was a test pilot, at night school, taking watercolor, drawing, and so on. Over the years, I studied with a number of different teachers, and I was an average to slightly better-than-average amateur painter, but never imagined I would even think of it as a profession. At one point, my lawyer’s wife, Pat Brill, asked me, “What are you going to do when you leave the space program?” I said, “I think I’ll probably go to work for an aircraft company or something like that,” then added, “What do you think I ought to do?” She said, immediately, “I think you ought to be an artist.” At the time, this seemed to be a crazy idea, and I said, “You’re nuts.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had a unique opportunity to preserve something important. If I didn’t portray the birth of our space program artistically, nobody else would, because none of the other astronauts were interested in doing so. The more I thought about painting my experiences in Apollo and worked at it, the more I liked the idea and realized that this was what I ought to do for the future. I left the space program earlier than I would have left it if I were going to go into any other profession, because I was concerned about having enough years left in my life to create a body of work that would be representative. I believe if I hadn’t decided to

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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paint the beginnings of our space explorations, I would have stayed and flown the shuttle maybe two or three times, then thought about leaving. Apollo was a great adventure and a great accomplishment of humanity, the first visit to another world. I realized the people all down the line would be curious about it and that I could perform a function similar to Thomas Moran’s or Frederic Remington’s. I used to look at their paintings and I was always glad that they had done them. I would think, “Well, I’m glad he did this, because now we know what cowboys really looked like. They don’t look like John Wayne, they look just the way Remington painted them.” Real astronauts don’t look the way they do in the movies, either, and they certainly won’t 100 years from now, when they have a movie about Apollo. I feel that I’m filling a human need and that people generations from now will say, “I’m glad that guy Bean quit flying spaceships and created these paintings.” White: I would like you to comment on your work with the Association of Space Explorers. Bean: It’s hard to tell what effect an organization like that can have, because it’s a small group and we’re also dealing with the Soviet Union and realize the restrictions put on cosmonauts. I’m well aware from my visits to the Soviet Union that even if the cosmonauts feel a certain way, they’re not able to be interviewed and tell that. The cosmonauts are going to tell the party line if they’re smart, and they are smart. But I feel that the cosmonauts are personally very sincere about world peace and cooperation. Working with the Soviets has both negative and positive sides. The positive side is, it’s something I personally can do, and it’s better to try to do something than just say, “Don’t try because it might not work.” If you do nothing, then nothing will happen, so it’s more a case of seeing the Association of Space Explorers as an avenue, to try something positive, though I’m not sure what effect it will have. I believe it’s better than just giving up and not trying somehow to establish friendlier relations with the Soviet Union. Maybe someday these cosmonauts will rise higher in their country, and the feeling for our motives can somehow have a positive influence. Maybe they won’t; at least it’s a try. White: Do you think your common experiences of being in space and seeing the Earth from a distance make a difference when you get together? Bean: When we get together, it’s mostly as individuals. There’s not a lot of difference in individuals, once they realize they’re not trying to take advantage of you and you’re not trying to take advantage of them. You can see that the Soviets, individually, don’t want nuclear war; they’re worried about their children growing up, without radiation and other bad things. You can see that the words they use are very natural for them, in the way they talk sincerely. At the same time, you know that if their government calls on them

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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to do certain things, they will do them, just as we will do what our government orders us to do. White: What do you think has been the most important effect of the space program on society? Bean: I think one of the reasons that the Challenger accident bothers people so badly is that the space program bought for Americans a feeling of competence and being number one, that they could do anything they put their minds to. When the Challenger blew up, that whole idea of our perfection became unsettled in people’s minds because they don’t want to feel that they are not still number one. But at the same time, one of the foundations for their belief that America was the best was the great success of our space program. The feeling that we can do things is the most important effect. It’s a measure of the best that our society does, when we’re doing it right, and there are so many things that we do that you just can’t feel too good about. But the space program has been one that we did that was difficult and worked out, and it makes us feel good. We don’t feel quite as good right now. White: If there is one thing you would like readers of this book to know about space, what would it be? Bean: I guess I would have to say that humankind is going out into space whether any individual or any country likes it or not. If we glance back through history, we find that humans have always seemed to go any place they can once they’re able to. And if Congress cuts or doubles the budget, no matter. It will have a minuscule effect. Just as whether Columbus got here in 1492 or 1496 or 1502 made a big difference to him, but it doesn’t make any difference to us at all. That’s how I feel about space exploration. It’s on the way, and we don’t have to worry about it. Some people are worried about the effect of the Challenger accident. I worry about it for the people who are involved, but for the long term, it’ll be like the ships that Magellan started around the world with. I think only one of them got back home from the voyage, but we’ve forgotten about that. We only remember that he still got around the world. So we’re headed out into space, which is wonderful, and I guess we ought to prepare for and think about its effect, as you’re doing in your book, because it is going to keep happening. EDGAR D. MITCHELL APOLLO 14

Edgar Mitchell was selected for NASA’s Group 5 in 1966 and in February 1971 participated in the third moon landing as the lunar White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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module pilot on Apollo 14. His total time in space was 9 days, during which he had a number of deep personal experiences. After resigning from NASA, he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences to further the study of human consciousness and has written a book on this topic. The following is the reconstruction of my interview with Dr. Mitchell in Palm Beach, Florida, on November 18, 1986.

White: Everything I’ve done in the interviews for this book has confirmed that the initial idea was right, but it was far too simple. The variety of experience is a lot greater than I expected. Mitchell: I would challenge that. The variety in the interpretation of the experience is a lot greater than you expected. The experience is the same. I have developed a whole philosophy around the notion that the first-person experiential event is valid for every human, whatever it is. The problem is, how do they interpret it and how do they express it? That comes through the belief system, which is the key to how you see and interpret all these events. If your belief system accepts that information as different, you get an expanded belief system. If you happen to be closed off and are happy with the former belief system, you reject the information and nothing happens. Or if it happens to be too challenging or threatening, then it’ll be consciously rejected, thrown out. But otherwise, it can be absorbed and expanded into the belief system, and you have a different view. That, to me, is the difference in what happened to us in space. Some of us accepted the experience; some of us were open and eagerly looking for its meaning. Some of us already had pat answers as to what it all meant, and therefore any new information that came in didn’t change the perception at all. White: I’ve divided the spaceflight experience into two types; some people had a confirmation experience, which confirmed what they knew—that the Earth is a whole, it is very fragile, and things like that. Other people, and I tend to put you in the category, have had more of a conversion experience, a shift from the way they thought about things to a really new way. You’ve talked, for example, about being a test pilot, scientific and rational, and shifting to a more intuitive way. Mitchell: But it’s the same phenomenon. I’ve always been oriented toward philosophy, toward the fundamental cosmological and theological questions. But that wasn’t my day-to-day way of operating, which was test pilotengineer. So what happened was that the experience simply exploded me to the other end of the spectrum. I was ready for it because I’m a curious, questioning sort of guy. I didn’t hold any preconceived notions in my belief system as to what this meant. I knew what I was going to see. But the meaning changed. And that’s

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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the role of the value system, the belief system, in the organization of the information from this different point of view into a different structure. I spent 16 years doing that. It was a very powerful experience for some of us, because we were open to whatever it meant, without prejudging what it was going to be. That may be the reason some of the people you talked to seemed confirmed. They were people on later missions. We had been putting out that information, and they had been getting ready, so they were prepared for what they saw. But they probably absorbed more information if they were receptive and saying, “Let’s look at this.” To me, the difference between getting and not getting an “aha” experience out of it is whether it shifts your structure a bit. Do you get a sense of freedom, of expansiveness, because you’ve just experienced something that is different from your previous experiences and beliefs? We see the “mountaintop experience” all the time, with poetry, with great works of art, and so on. You see something that touches you and elevates you to a different sense of being because you’ve got a new piece of information coming into the organism. To me, that’s what it is. I think the only thing that would make me different from the way some of the other fellows express it is that I may have been more open, more ready, because I was looking for something. I was saying, “This is going to be great; let’s find out what it means.” I was looking for meaning, not just observational data. I was open to that, and man, I got all the information I ever needed in order to find a new meaning. But it’s taken me 16 years to organize that information and do something I’m very satisfied with. I can talk so lucidly about this process because I had a similar experience on an airplane coming home from San Francisco. Everything that had been confused as a result of the spaceflight experience suddenly got collected as a result of my contemplation for 16 years. White: Were you just sitting on the airplane, or were you looking out the window? Mitchell: Well, I had a little stimulus. I’d been working on some philosophical concepts, and all of a sudden, “Pow!” they suddenly clicked into place. There was a flood of information in the space experience that caused me to reexamine my belief system and say, “Does it still fit the way I thought it did?” and the answer was, “No.” So I had to restructure my belief, but there were some missing pieces. Recently it all fit. I feel a joyous, wonderful experience, a feeling that I can explain it now. I’m happy. My belief system is fully integrated again. Before, I couldn’t quite get all the loose ends tucked in. Now, I think I have. White: What you’re saying is that the spaceflight experience doesn’t just begin when you get into the ship and end when you land. You’ve spent many years interpreting what took a few days.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Mitchell: The sort of approach you’re talking about—and I hope my next book adds to that—is going to portray the psychology and the shifting viewpoint of the spaceflight experience as far more powerful and important than it has ever been described in the past. It is precisely this shift in viewpoint and what it implies for the capability of the human being and for our view of the universe that makes it so powerful. Until the last 20 years, all philosophers, thinkers, scientists, and poets have been Earthbound. They had an Earthbound point of view. Spaceflight is one of the more powerful experiences that humans can have, and the technological event of breaking the bonds of Earth is far more important than the technology that went into it, because of this perspective. It’s going to be left to historians to find out if it really makes a significant difference, but I characterize spaceflight as the metaphor for the technology of the 20th century, during which science and technology have exploded. The unfortunate thing is that our morals and value systems are still rooted in the 13th or 14th century. Spaceflight, getting outside of Earth and seeing it from a different perspective, having this sort of explosive awareness that some of us had, this abiding concern and passion for the well-being of Earth—a more universal point of view, to use your words—will have a direct impact on philosophy and value systems. Only now are we starting to develop a structured philosophy and saying this is important to the very structure of philosophy. Out of philosophy has to come not only the physical but the metaphysical side. Out of the metaphysical side must come the value system by which we guide 20thcentury technology. We don’t have that yet, and we’ve got to have it soon. It’s like a rudderless ship in the ocean. That’s why I see what you call the overview, what I call the explosion into a more universal awareness, an explosion of the belief system, as a very important psychological event, with impacts not only in psychology, but in philosophy and moral systems. Psychology can examine it, but what’s coming out of it is a new metaphysic. White: Have you gone back into Earthbound philosophy as groundwork to see how it fits? Mitchell: That’s what I’ve been doing ever since my flight. I’ve studied virtually every philosophy and theology, and I’ve gone to the Eastern traditions to study their theology and their philosophy. Descartes, Locke, and Spinoza were on the right track, trying to show that the universe is mind and matter, not mind or matter. I think that the integration is at hand. We have to have a philosophy that does what Descartes and Spinoza could not do, to show that there is not an impenetrable membrane between consciousness and matter. Indeed, it’s what I call a dyad.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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They have to be together; they have to arise together. It’s like the poles of a magnet: you can’t have a north pole or a south pole isolated; you have to have a north and a south pole. It’s a dyadic concept, and I’m approaching it from that point of view. I’m also working with phenomenological philosophy of the 20th century, and the viewpoint that brings about. My recent experience resulted from my recognition that the dyadic approach suddenly makes everything fit, that you can do away with most of the paradox of ancient cosmology. It turns out to be meaningless or simply a point of view from which a paradox will arise. If you go to another point of view, another paradox will arise. But if you see that it’s simply a point of view, the paradox vanishes. White: The Omni article about the righteous stuff said that as you were coming back from the moon, you were looking at the Earth, and you realized that spirit and matter were not separate. Mitchell: I can articulate it better now. I have a structure within which to describe it. What happened was that I knew that the materialist point of view that everything is the result of matter was not a correct philosophy. It assumed away consciousness, and you couldn’t do that. What happened to me was truly a consciousness experience. So the question was, “Are the idealists right? Can you construct an internally consistent philosophy in which matter is the projection of mind?” Of course, we’ve all been doing that. We’ve got theisms all over the world that do that. So the only other thing you can do is go to Descartes’ view. But it was never developed, never pulled together. We had to wait until the concepts came around, and that’s in this century. In this century, I think we can pull mind and matter together into a consistent philosophy that makes sense. And that’s what I’m trying to do. White: Does your approach have a definition of consciousness? Mitchell: Yes. Everything depends on the precision of the definition. That’s been one of the problems of prior philosophies. They mixed up their definitions with their thought processes. So we’ve got connotations of words that screw things up. They tried to experience and describe at the same time, and you can’t do that. You have to experience, do away with your presuppositions of what the meaning of the experience is, and then interpret your experience. If you can learn from the empiricism of science, particularly the science of this century, the method is very powerful. As a philosophy, science is terrible; as a method, it’s superb. Learning to use that scientific method on one’s own observations and consciousness is a vital part of the process. You don’t try to interpret and explain while you are experiencing. You miss data that way. White: Would it be fair to say that while you were in space, it was the experience part and since then it’s been interpretation? Mitchell: Yes.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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White: It makes sense to do that. We would expect it with scientific experiments, but never with our own experiences. Mitchell: That is precisely what this philosophical approach suggests you do, and it is why the subjective experience has not been accepted as valid in the past. The experience and the interpretation get all mixed up. The interpretations are quite often terrible, but the experience is valid. You have to train yourself to be an observer and interpreter of your own subjective experience, just as you have to train yourself to be an experimenter and interpreter of a physical experience. It’s just a different kind of training. White: But you didn’t know this before you went on the moon mission, did you? Mitchell: No. I had the knowledge typical of a Ph.D. from MIT and a test pilot, and all of this has had to sort itself out. What I did was done accidentally, not even knowing I was doing it, just sitting there saying, “Gee whiz, wow,” to the experience, not trying to make anything new of it. White: I’ve been arguing that experiences normally don’t have a transformational effect because we can fit them into our existing model. When we go into space, we try to do that, but unlike most Earthbound experiences, it doesn’t let us. It forces us to do what you’re saying we ought to do more often. Mitchell: I will contradict you only on that one point. It doesn’t force you to. If you don’t want to accept any experience, you are totally in control of your belief system, totally in control of your experience. So the forcing part is really only an allowing part, allowing your belief system to be open enough so that you accept the information of the experience, and say, “That’s interesting, isn’t it?” White: In terms of information of the experience, it seems that going to the moon is more powerful than going into low Earth orbit. Mitchell: Let’s say it’s different—a different set of information. You say “more powerful.” I use a slightly different word: it gets you closer to a more universal experience because of the distance and wider view. You identify more with the universe as it is instead of the Earth as it is. In dyadic terms, there’s the individual/universal dyad. On the spectrum of consciousness, points of view can be anywhere along that. Most of us are clustered down toward the individual point of view. The moon experience catapulted us toward the other end. White: That seems to mirror typical views of the spiritual process. The spiritual growth process tends to be one of identification with wider whole systems. Mitchell: Yes. I’ll use the word spiritual anecdotally. When I come to defining things precisely for philosophy, I don’t use that word. I will show its

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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connection to consciousness. That is the word I use because that is the word that expresses our ability to be aware: we say we are conscious. Just as the energy field is the fundamental stuff of which matter is made, the consciousness field is that fundamental stuff of which awareness is made. Just as the physicists have their quantum field, I try to describe the consciousness field, which organizes information the same way the quantum field organizes energy and matter. Consciousness organizes information in a similar way, and thus it is dyadic with matter. All matter is conscious at some level of organization, the electron possessing little organized information, but it still has some informational content. You can see how close this gets to physics, by the way. Mind is an organized consciousness. It is a field of consciousness organized in a particular way with certain informational content. White: How do you see perspective fitting into that? Mitchell: The point of view, or belief system, is then just a construct of mind to organize the information of experience. White: So when you change where you are experiencing from . Mitchell: The information content changes, and therefore the whole belief that has to be integrated into the belief system in some way, into a consistent structure of reality. The whole field of consciousness studies suffers from that, because unlike science, it’s not precise. It’s got to be made as precise as science. White: And that’s your goal? Mitchell: That’s my goal. EDWARD G. GIBSON SKYLAB 4

Ed Gibson, a solar scientist, was a member of the three-man Skylab 4 crew for the third and last mission in 1973–1974, which set an American record for that time of 84 days in orbit. Using recycled Apollo technology, Skylab was the first and only American space station. Although less sophisticated than the International Space Station (ISS), it did provide us with the first glimpses of what it would be like for people to live for extended periods in orbit. I interviewed Gibson by telephone on August 15, 1985.

White: Did being on Skylab have an impact on your view of life? Gibson: Yes and no. We have to be careful in talking about this, because many times it is the nature of the people involved rather than spaceflight itself that is important. You have to remember that we were in line for a mission for

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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8 years. It’s like a double doctorate degree. You feel both a euphoria at what you accomplish and a letdown at achieving it and having to search for new goals. This is typical of such experiences and not unique to space or the space program. There are areas in which there were real changes. First, you are able to really picture the physical universe after being in space. It is not a concept any more. You can actually see the colors and physical textures of the Earth. Now that I’ve seen the red windswept deserts of North Africa and other features of the Earth, I have a physical feel for them that is different from the experience down here, except on brief airplane flights. Then, also, you see the sun against that black sky and realize it is just one of the stars. You have an appreciation for what we have here on Earth and for what may be possible out in the universe. It’s like hearing a description of a rose garden and then actually going into a rose garden, saying, “Wow, this is a rose garden!” White: Have those feelings stayed with you since being on Skylab? Gibson: In a sense, yes, for all of us. You just don’t put as much importance on other things. You see how diminutive your life and concerns are compared to other things in the universe. Your life and concerns are important to you, of course. But you can see that a lot of the things you worry about don’t make much difference in an overall sense. The result is that you enjoy the life that is before you; you don’t sweat so much about the next milestone. Also, you are more comfortable. It takes the heat off. Your perspective changes in terms of frustrations about not going anywhere. It allows you to have inner peace. White: Did the fact that this was such a long mission make a difference? Gibson: Yes. These feelings became ingrained even though we had a problem in that Ground Control tried to control our mission pretty rigidly, so we didn’t have so much time to think about it. White: Was Earthgazing the important activity that some reports make it out to be? Gibson: Yes. There just wasn’t enough time to do it. We had a lot of plans for Earth observation. We spent a lot of time with principal investigators to determine what we could observe. There was always something coming up to see. You could see the very thin atmosphere. Interestingly, we talk about the Earth being too crowded, but often you could not tell that a continent was inhabited unless you saw a small, isolated city. White: Some reports have said that you could see the interconnectedness of it all. Gibson: Yes. You learn that you certainly cannot understand meteorology without understanding oceanography, and so on. White: Will these insights be deeper on the permanent space station?

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Gibson: Probably. On the space station, people will have more time to talk about it and think about it. That might make the difference. White: How about the future? How might the experiences of the astronauts change the views of the larger society? Gibson: Our coming back and sharing our experiences is like a drop of dye going into the ocean; it is quickly diffused. I think the pictures of Earth have made an impression, but it will be a matter of osmosis over a long period of time. The more who go, the more difference it will make, but then the more who go, the less publicity they will get. Showing motion pictures, such as the IMAX films, seems to make a difference. White: How about the impact of EVAs? Gibson: I had three EVAs. The comparison to other experiences of spaceflight is like the difference between being up on a tall building and looking out over the edge or hanging over the ledge with someone holding onto your ankles. It changes your perspective. That is really the great outdoors. You feel as though you are a satellite yourself. It really makes the heart go. You understand that it is you and the universe, and you really feel like an individual. A frustration goes with it too. Some of us think we understand how the universe is put together. But we have a lot to learn, and we are limited by current propulsion systems and life expectancies. Our capabilities will appear prehistoric to those who have a Star Trek-like system and can actually go to the stars. I’m a bit frustrated. Our solar system is beautiful, but there is so much more out there! GERALD P. CARR SKYLAB 4

Gerald Carr was the commander of the three-man crew on Skylab 4, with Bill Pogue and Ed Gibson aboard. After that, he worked as a consultant for the ISS. He is married to an artist/psychologist, and their work together holds significant implications for the structure of future space settlements. The following is a reconstruction of my telephone interview with Carr on February 6, 1986, the first interview for this book after the Challenger accident.

White: Could you talk a little bit about your background in the space program? Carr: I was CapCom [capsule communicator] on Apollo 8 and Apollo 12. I probably would have been on Apollo 19 if it hadn’t been canceled. It was a black day for me when the Apollo program was truncated. As it turned out,

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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I was commander of the Skylab crew, and I think I may have made more contributions on Skylab than I would have on Apollo. White: How so? Carr: We set up housekeeping in space. In Marine Corps terms, man had established a beachhead from which he could extend his presence. We were looking at the question of what it takes to exist in space permanently. Our tasks were, first, to study 0-g effects on the body and see if there was anything there to worry about. We were to look particularly at cardiovascular deconditioning and loss in bone density. Those mechanisms suggest a limit as to how long we can stay in space. Second, we were to look at the sun from outside the Earth’s atmosphere, and third, we were to look down at the Earth from the point of view of Earth resources data. This was a consolidation of the beachhead. We went to see what it would take to live there, and we added a lot to the body of understanding. Also, we did it with a lot of off-the-shelf equipment from Apollo, except the MDA [multiple docking adapter] and airlock. White: At the Johnson Space Center, I had a chance to look at the full-scale mock-up of Skylab, and it made me sad to see that such a successful program had been abandoned. I’m reminded of what David Webb, a member of the National Space Commission, said on television, which is that we allow our technological projects to be aberrated by financial considerations. In any event, what was unique about your Skylab experience? Carr: Aside from the gravity environment, living and working on Skylab was a lot like the mock-ups and simulators, but what was really the most remarkable thing was looking down on the Earth. When you first arrive, everything is very disorienting, but you rejoice inwardly when you finally see something you recognize. I remember looking out the window and seeing Italy. It really was shaped like a boot! It was wonderful! In 84 days up there, I never got tired of Earthgazing. I remember one particular evening when it was 11 o’clock at night in Houston. I floated up to the command module as we were coming over Japan, where it was afternoon. Japan was familiar; I had lived there for a year. I saw a volcano erupting, our eighth or tenth pass over the eruption area. Then we peaked out over the 51st parallel, and I saw the Aleutians. The wind was blowing gently from the south, pushing low clouds. I could see them scudding between the volcanoes like whipped cream. From the 51st parallel, we came down in a southeasterly direction, over Oregon and Northern California, past the terminator and into the darkness. I could see from San Francisco Bay clear down to Baja California. The bay looks like a bean from there. I could see it and the Golden Gate Bridge and cars going across the bridge.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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In Southern California, the Los Angeles basin was like a velvet bowl full of pearls. I could even see the white-green flash of lights at Lindbergh Field in San Diego. Looking down, you could really see the manifestations of people at night. During the day, there wasn’t as much evidence. White: Did you come away from your experience with a different feeling about life? Carr: Yes. More a feeling of universality, or the commonality of human beings. As Ed Gibson noted, you can’t see the boundaries that man puts up, only those of nature. You have to sense that humans are down there. I came back with a real interest in people, a humanist or behaviorist attitude, you might say. I have been doing a lot of international traveling and speaking, and it has served to validate the feeling of universality. My presentations are a short history on what we have done in space. Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo flights were really about transportation. Skylab was our first look at permanence. The shuttle brings us back to transportation again. Then I talk about where we are today, with transportation and commercial enterprises. The space station is to be our first permanent human presence. I talk about moon colonies and large space stations. Then I spring the idea of children being born in a weightless environment and the possibility of a split in the human species because of the difference in the way bodies will develop as a result of weightlessness. White: What do you think will happen then? Carr: I’m a little worried about that. Most bodily functions are unaffected by weightlessness. But I worry about the effects on an embryo. Of course, it could just turn out normal and natural. White: The changes in the body as a result of being in space are really an adaptation to weightlessness. Carr: That’s true. White: How about the space station being built? Will there be any gravity there? Carr: No, there won’t be any gravity there. You have to rotate a largediameter structure for artificial gravity to work. The humans on the rim of a rotating space station that develops artificial gravity have to see the velocity as a linear rather than curvilinear orbit or it doesn’t work because of Coriolis acceleration on the inner ear. White: The real concern about gravity and the effects of weightlessness are relevant primarily if you assume that people are coming back to Earth. If they were to stay in space, they would probably evolve to live in 0 g. It’s like a lot of other things relating to space, in that it is a geocentric rather than heliocentric view.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Carr: Yes, my thinking was geocentric. We never thought we wouldn’t come back from Skylab. White: Do you think that seeing the Earth as a whole system will have an impact politically? When I talked with Michael Collins, he expressed concern about the Russians. Carr: I think it could. Space exploration could be a vehicle by which the major powers achieve the understanding to overcome their problems. The cosmonauts and astronauts get along great when we get together. We’re just a hunch of fighter pilots. We have never had time to philosophize. I would be interested in learning the basis for Mike’s fears. My wife, Pat, and I have been doing some interesting things. She is a behavioral scientist, a psychologist. When we first met, she asked me, “What kind of psychological studies are being done on the astronauts?” There weren’t any; that was the power of the original seven astronauts. They wouldn’t tolerate rectal thermometers or psychologists! Pat decided to weave space into a creativity course she was teaching at the University of Houston, Clear Lake. She would hypothesize a group of people selected to become the nucleus of a larger group of people on a space colony. She would say, “You are heading up a group of a thousand people scheduled to live on a space station for 10 years. Your challenge is to decide what values, laws, and so forth, apply there. You may adapt what is appropriate from Earth. You may need to come up with unique values.” You begin to see that new values, norms, and laws will apply in space. On Earth, one can enjoy a great deal of freedom. On a space station, one doesn’t have that freedom; individual freedom is constrained because of the more constrained environment. One cannot go off and “do his own thing.” In Pat’s course, there is conflict and miscommunication for the first few weeks. Then they realize that to accomplish anything, they have to really listen to each other and try to arrive at some compromise. The most common government form selected is the town meeting. It is a good adaptation. It keeps a single person or group from getting a lot of authority. White: Along those lines, what was it like when you were on Skylab? Carr: Though the command relationships were clear, we reached tacit agreement about who played what role to get things done. We had very compatible personalities. We actually came back better friends than when we left. Pogue had the creative ideas, Gibson saw how to do them, and I was good at implementation. So we gravitated to roles fitting our personalities. None of us were experts on any one system, so we divvied up the systems, and that’s how we got it done. White: From what I have been told, the EVAs are a very special experience. Did you find that so?

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Carr: Yes. I was out three times for a total of about 15 hours. Being outside gives you a sense of openness. I think my greatest thrill was standing on top of the ATM [Apollo Telescope Mount]. I reared back and looked at Earth with no local frame of reference at all. It was a fine experience. I also looked at the comet Kohoutek and got a feeling for the infiniteness of the universe. There are billions of stars, many that you can’t see from the ground. It’s a disorienting matrix in which our common navigation stars are embedded. You see millions of new stars, and it’s hard to navigate. There is a real change in their relative brightness. White: Has there been a long-term effect? Do you think about Skylab often? Carr: It subsides and then a stimulus brings it back. You store it away, I think, but the data and experience are retrievable. White: What comments do you have on the Challenger accident? Carr: It’s reminded us that spaceflight is a serious and dangerous business. It was seeming too easy. Losing the crew has made space exploration more of a “cause.” It seems more important to people now, when you realize that the gains and successes are not without loss. I haven’t talked to one person who has said, “We should stop.” It’s too important and people realize that. Space exploration is still one of our nobler activities. VALENTIN LEBEDEV SOYUZ 13, SOYUZ T-5

Valentin Lebedev, with Anatoly Berezovoy, spent 211 days in space on the Soyuz T-5 mission, launched in May 1982. He had previously been a flight engineer on Soyuz 13, which went into orbit in December 1973. Lebedev’s Soyuz 13 mission took place at the same time as the Skylab 4 mission flown by Jerry Carr, Ed Gibson, and Bill Pogue. This was the first time that Americans and Russians were in space simultaneously on separate spacecraft. The following excerpts from Lebedev’s diary were reprinted in Pravda, August 15, 1983.

18 June. Today Tolya and I looked at an island near Cape Horn. A solid massif covered with snow against the background of the blue ocean and the trails of various kinds of cloud. Very beautiful. For the first time I saw in the water dozens of tiny white ships (icebergs). They are quite large in size, comparable to the largest ships. The end of Cape Horn is covered in white. It is winter now in these latitudes. Each evening they transmit us the latest news. Tolya and I sit at the first post, arms folded across our chests, and as we fly calmly above the Earth we

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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listen to Radio Moscow. We admire the azure of the Mediterranean and the Italian mountains, with Africa and the Red Sea coming into view. We study geography and admire the planet. 31 July. Well, it is all behind now. The space walk is over. It lasted 2 hours 38 minutes. Space is very beautiful. The dark velvet of the sky, the blue halo of the Earth, and the lakes and rivers and fields and cloud formations speeding by. All around there is perfect silence, no sense of the speed of the flight. No wind whistles in your ears, nothing weighs on you. The panorama is calm, majestic .. The fact is that in open space you sense the Earth’s roundness much more strongly than through the station port. And everything that you see on the Earth—the lakes, the rivers, the mountains—is perceived as on an enormous rotating globe. The silence is striking. The station is frozen in space like a block. ANATOLY N. BEREZOVOY SOYUZ T-5

Cosmonaut Berezovoy flew as the commander of Soyuz T-5 with Valentin Lebedev in May 1982. Although it was his only trip into space, he was at the time one of the most experienced travelers, with just over 211 days in orbit. Like Lebedev, he kept a detailed diary, portions of which were published in Aviatsiya I Kosmonavtika in July 1983, August 1983, and September 1983. Berezovoy is also a founding member of the Association of Space Explorers. A few excerpts from those published accounts are included.

On Patrol. Like many of my comrades, I particularly like visual observations. Why is this? It is difficult to answer in one word. I saw, for example, how happy Jean-Louis Chretien was when he was observing his own Brittany and Paris through the port. It must be said that the longer you stay in orbit the more you value normal life on Earth. Any person who has been in space values his own place on Earth in a new way. He begins to think more, and his thoughts become broader and his spirit kinder. Visual observations from space were for us a unique way of communing with our own nature, which brought exactly the same kind of joy as on Earth. From orbit we observed all the seasons of the year; the launch was in the spring; we flew throughout the summer and fall and the start of winter.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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It was very interesting to trace the way in which our planet moved through the procession of the seasons. At first the whiteness gave way to the onrush of the greenness, and then gold covered the fields and forests, and then the whiteness again; only now, its frontier was moving in the opposite direction. JOSEPH P. ALLEN STS-5, STS-51-A

A scientist with a doctorate in physics, Joe Allen flew as a mission specialist on two space shuttle missions—the Columbia STS-5 in 1982 and the Discovery STS-51-A in 1984. His 1982 flight was in orbit at the same time as the Soyuz mission of Lebedev and Berezovoy. Allen spent just over 13 days in space and was involved in a dramatic satellite rescue effort on the 1984 mission. An excellent photographer, he is the author of Entering Space: An Astronaut’s Odyssey. At the time of the interview, Allen was executive vice president of Space Industries, Inc., Houston, Texas. This interview, the first for the book, is based on notes taken during my telephone conversation with Allen, May 14, 1985.

White: How did being in space affect your outlook philosophically? Allen: I have never been of a philosophical or religious, or historical, bent, for that matter. I am typical of people in the hard-core sciences, so I haven’t been too interested in those kinds of philosophical questions. I have been interested in some general things like travel and new experiences. I have believed in the benefits of education. I’ve had faith in other humans and have striven to learn more. In striving to learn, I have enjoyed traveling and new experiences. I wound up reacting to my space journeys as an extrapolation of those interests, as a grander journey. I always felt travel was good because it taught a person a lot about where he’d been. For example, when I went to Germany, I learned a lot about the United States by comparison. I found that travel in space was a grand extension of the principle that taking a journey is a good thing. I didn’t find it a real discontinuity from experiences leading up to it. It was not a major anomaly. It was extraordinarily different, but not anomalous. I was not overwhelmed with it. I have always felt that there was a greater reason for all of this. I was not overwhelmed with a feeling of brotherhood for my fellow humans; I always had that. I think sociologists should be careful of getting too exact in an area in which it is not yet warranted. It is helpful to look at group psychological studies, as with people in Antarctica or on a submarine. When you are in space, you are in an environment you can’t get out of, and it brings certain

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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pressures to bear. It’s different from an office or similar working environment, because you can get away from those, but there may not he much difference between a spaceship and a submarine. In some ways a spaceship is less psychologically confining. The view of Earth takes your breath away. In particular, you see subtleties and nuances in the view. The best description I have seen of it was Don DeLillo’s in Esquire magazine a few years ago. It is endlessly fulfilling. You never see quite the same thing as you are orbiting. There is a different ground track every time. The time of day is different; the clouds are different. The cloud patterns show different colors. The oceans are different; the dust over the deserts is different. It doesn’t get repetitive. White: Do you agree with Michael Collins that if the political leaders could see the Earth from 100,000 miles, it would bring a fundamental change in their perspective? Allen: Collins is right. He is exactly right. A lot more like Senator Garn should go. A steady stream of world leaders should go into orbit. It would have a profound effect on their wisdom. White: I have a dream of a summit conference on the space station. Allen: I hope it isn’t a dream; I hope it can happen in our lifetime. I have no doubt that the picture of the universe in the mind of the man on the street is different from what it once was. It is similar to the time of Copernicus; we have a broadened view of our place in the universe, a more educated view. For several hundred years, we have had a certain image of the Earth. Now an intellectual understanding is being replaced by an intuitive, emotional understanding. White: Sometimes I think that the impact on Earth may be the main reason for the space program. Allen: Yes. For example, you wouldn’t have gotten a penny for EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] before those pictures from orbit. With all the arguments, pro and con, for going to the moon, no one suggested that we should do it to look at the Earth. But that may in fact be the most important reason. That argument, long recognized by travelers as a reason for going to another country, is equally true for going into the “third dimension” of space. Another wrinkle is that travelers many hundreds of years ago were seeing things for the first time. The modern age has made quasi-travelers out of everybody. The invention of cameras enabled the astronauts to make beautiful replications, to be shared with all Earthlings, of what our journeys were like. A hint of it came into everyone’s consciousness. As later astronauts have gone into space, it hasn’t been such a shock because they have “been there.” The difference is in the actual experience of the quiet, the weightlessness, and

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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so on. It’s like the difference between seeing a good PBS special on the Grand Canyon and being there. BYRON K. LICHTENBERG Downloaded by American Instituteand of Aeronautics Astronautics on September 20, 2017 | http://arc.aiaa.org | DOI: 10.2514/4.103223 reserved. All rights Astronautics.and of Aeronautics American Institute Copyright © 2014.

STS-9, STS-45

Byron Lichtenberg flew on the ninth shuttle mission, launched on November 28, 1983. It was the first flight of the European Space Agency’s Spacelab, the first spacecraft with six people aboard, and the first to carry payload specialists, of which Lichtenberg was one. He also served on the crew of STS-45, which carried as its payload ATLAS-I, the first Earth atmosphere research mission. Lichtenberg worked toward the opportunity of going into space for many years. He had been a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force and conducted research at MIT with the goal of becoming an astronaut. He participated in over 70 scientific experiments during his 10 days and 7 hours in low Earth orbit on his first flight. The following is a reconstruction of my interview with Lichtenberg at his company, Payload Systems, Inc., Wellesley, Massachusetts, on August 19, 1986.

Lichtenberg: The tough part about the flight was that because it was so crowded and there was so much to do, we really started running. We set up the Spacelab 3 hours after launch, and 5 hours later we were doing experiments. I was on the first shift, so we went right through, working about 10 hours after launch. It was about a 15- or 16-hour day. That set the tone for the whole flight. I don’t begrudge that at all, because how often do you get to fly in space? I really felt a sense of responsibility to the scientists as their surrogate in orbit. What I’m getting at is that it was incredibly time-packed, and consequently I didn’t have a lot of time to sightsee. There was not much time to sit up there and be reflective, to look down at the Earth. That’s the one thing that I would envy people going up for longer periods of time, for example, a 3-month space station tour. There, you’d put in a good 8 or 10 hours a day of work, but then you’d have 10 or 15 hours to yourself. So that was something I missed on the first flight. When I go up again, I think I’ll take a little more time out and protect my free time a little more. White: That’s been a characteristic of spaceflight: two levels of experience. One is that it’s an extraordinary environment, yet because of the costs and the responsibility, people who are there don’t have that much time to experience it. Lichtenberg: That’s exactly right, and that’s why I think that the idea of taking people up, be it teachers or reporters, is a good one. I’m into music and

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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I would love to have a musician or poet go up there, because lots of times I can get these mental images in a song or through music that is really powerful. Most of us were trained as scientists or logical thinkers, and we were much more into the technical parts of it. Maybe it’s a cop-out, but you subdue other parts of yourself to narrow down and focus in on something. In training to be a technically good experiment operator or pilot, you are taught to take in all this stuff and process it and come out with A, B, C, D, E. Not to think, “Wow, this is a great experience; man, this is neat,” and then the plane crashes. White: Given that those limits were there, what feelings or impressions did you have? Lichtenberg: The first thing that everybody notices is weightlessness. The first words into my little tape recorder describe it as a totally euphoric feeling. The first experience was when I unhooked my seat belt and tried to walk, which everybody does. I put my feet on the floor, and the next thing I knew I was up on the ceiling on my back, sort of like a fly, up in the corner of the ceiling, hands hanging down, looking down at all these people, and I said, “Wait a minute, we’re in negative g here, we’re not in 0 g.” My partner, Owen Garriott, said, “No, it’s just that you touched your foot to the floor.” Then I just put my hand up and touched the ceiling and floated on down to the floor. That was the beginning of it. It was just amazing to go wherever you wanted. You could fly up in the corner, you could hang upside down. There was no “up” or “down” any more. White: Did this feeling of euphoria stay with you? Lichtenberg (laughing): It stayed with me for about 2 hours, and then it was replaced by a feeling of sickness. We were really busy, trying to get experiments set up and put things together, so we were moving around a lot. Of course, our MIT experiments were designed to investigate space motion sickness and how the body and brain adapt and how sensory data is being interpreted. I didn’t expect it because I fly a lot, and during the ground tests I was generally not susceptible to motion sickness. I thought that if it were psychological, there was no problem there because I knew that I was not going to get sick. There was just no problem about this at all, and it was going to be great. So it was a big surprise to me when all of sudden I started feeling grim. That goes away after about 3 days for most people, and it’s gone completely. Then it goes back to the feeling of euphoria the whole time. I could go into Spacelab, and within a very short time grab a handrail, very much offset from my body, and say, “I want to go to the knob on that locker at the other end of the lab.” I could just push on the rail and go straight for that spot, and I wouldn’t miss it by more than a few inches. It was the same thing if you were trying to go from one end of the Spacelab to the other: you could

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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push off and start tumbling, and you could look around and watch what’s going on and have a perfect trajectory right down the middle of the Spacelab, head over heels, until you got to the place you wanted. Then you could come out of it just like a gymnast, with hands on the floor and feet on the ceiling, and you just stop and you’re right there. Those types of things never went away. After 10 days, I was still totally in awe of that environment, to be able to move like that and have those feelings. It was neat. White: So one could imagine that a 0-g society might have a different psychology from a 1-g society. Lichtenberg: Could be. I don’t know, but you’re giving yourself another dimension, and it’s so different from our experiences on the ground, which are totally two-dimensional, unless you’re a trampoline artist. Pilots, I think, experience this because, even though it’s not your body, you have control in three dimensions. In talking to Owen Garriott, who was up for 2 months on Skylab, the sense I get was that feeling didn’t go away. White: Charles Walker commented that being weightless gave him a sense of possibility. I got the feeling that if it translated into a larger culture, that would be a societal feeling of possibility, of limits being lessened. Gravity is a limiting force in our lives. We just accept it; we don’t think about it. Lichtenberg: That’s right. We never had the opportunity to experience anything else until a few years ago. There are wonderful things about zero gravity and, as we have found out, a lot of things that are a pain in the neck. It would be nice, I think, to be able to go back and forth, somehow. Of course, the question becomes, “How does the body adapt and readapt, and can you really do that?” The other thing we can talk about is the long-term problems of being in weightlessness and what happens to your bones and cardiovascular system. There very well could be a total rearrangement, if you had generations of organisms living up there. I think you would be surprised at how fast they would adapt to that new environment, and those adaptations could make them totally unsuitable for coming back to Earth, which is something we need to take a look at and study seriously. White: What about the view of the Earth? Lichtenberg: So many people ask me, “What did the Earth look like, a little ball hanging out there?” I have to tell them it wasn’t a little ball. In terms of a globe, I was only about a thumbnail’s width above the surface of the Earth, just 135 miles. You could see the curvature, but it was still big; it filled about half of your field of view. I experienced several things. The first couple of days, when I was sick, I didn’t even want to know where the Earth was. It was so distressing to go by a window and catch a glimpse of it somewhere that I didn’t think it should be.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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That’s rather a strange statement, but I would be thinking about something else, and suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, through a window, I would see a part of the Earth. I would say, “I just want to concentrate on what I’ve got here. This is down, right here, the floor, and I need to make sure that I’m upright, and that everything I think of is down. If I see the Earth up here, it really blows my mind.” It wasn’t until I got over a lot of the motion sickness that I was able to go out and start looking at the Earth. We were seldom able to see it during a work shift because there weren’t many windows in there, and those generally had cameras or instruments on them because they were collecting data. My only opportunity, really, was after I got off shift. I’d grab my dinner, then float up to the cockpit and strap myself into the pilot’s seat and sit there, generally chatting with John Young while I ate, because he was on the other shift, so he was working. He would be pretty much alone there, with the other guys working back in the Spacelab. It was just like the advertising scenes in the airline magazines: the dinner tray with the silver and the napkins and wine glasses, but out the window you see the moon and the Earth. Only we didn’t have silver or wine. We were strapped in with a little set of tins and foil packets and plastic cups, so it wasn’t nearly as elegant as in the advertisements, but the view was just as good. Thinking about eating your dinner around the world in 90 minutes is really something. I took advantage of that time; then I would stay up and look for another half orbit and end up going to bed exhausted. One thing that is really amazing is the different colors. Every color in the entire rainbow is there. You think about a blue-white-gray-brown planet, but it isn’t at all. It’s incredibly colorful. Even from 135 miles, you can see the clouds three-dimensionally. You can tell the height of the clouds. The mountains look flat, but you can recognize them by the shadows. You can see the ripples of the sand dunes in some of the deserts. But I think the biggest thing in going around the Earth is that your perspective really changes. You look down and see land you can identify. You don’t see any of the borders, you don’t see any of the cultures, you don’t see the different languages, and it just flows right on in. You say, “I wonder where the border is between India and Tibet, Nepal and China, or Afghanistan and Pakistan.” You just don’t see those, and that’s so striking because on every globe you look at, the lines are there, and it’s always brought home to you. It’d be interesting to put out a globe that had no borders, no names of countries, just continents and physical features. So there’s the sense of no difference, just a subtle gentle blending from one region to the next. That’s why the Association of Space Explorers really excites me, because when I read some of the things Rusty [Schweickart] wrote and then heard

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Jake Garn talk, for example, and heard other people who had been there, it was like, “They felt this, too, and they had that same sense,” and the more we talk to people, the more we find it’s pretty much universal. I think that’s one of the things that really got us all going, this universal feeling that there really isn’t much distinction around the world. Once you go around in 90 minutes, you realize that that’s all there is, there is no more, you’ve seen it all. White: That’s really what I call the Overview Effect at work. It’s not just that you have the experience, but you do something with it. Lichtenberg: That’s right. I think all of us feel that way, and one of the reasons I give a lot of talks is to try to give people their money’s worth. After all, it was the taxpayers who paid for it. I try to make it real for people in the best way that I can, to give them some feeling of direct connection to the program. It would be really interesting to get the world leaders up in a spacecraft to see and experience that same thing. I think that could make some big differences. Maybe once the space program gets really reliable, instead of jetting off to Camp David or a mountainside somewhere, they could go to the space station for a week and have a conference there. White: The more you think about it, the more it makes sense, if you had a reliable vehicle and a place. In 20 years, the leaders could be former astronauts, as far as that goes. Lichtenberg: That’s right. Let me just talk about one other thing about the Earth here. Going into space right now is like a camping trip. You set up in your mind, and say, “Well, we’re going to go camping for a week, or 10 days, or 2 weeks, or whatever.” You fix that length of time in your mind and plan for it and get provisions. People say, “Would you have wanted to stay up longer, or did you want to come home?” It was interesting, because you look down and it’s very stark and it’s black and white in space, and of course, the spacecraft is not the most hospitable place in the world to live. As it’s coming up to 8 or 9 days, you say, “It’ll be kind of nice to get back. I sort of miss hearing the breeze in the trees and the butterflies in the fields and the bubble of the streams and watching the flowers grow.” White: If there were one key message that you wanted to disseminate about space and the space program what would it be? Lichtenberg: To make the program grow the way other programs have grown, it’s important that you bring in a wide base of support. You need some government help, because it’s just too expensive to ask any one company to go in there and do something. You can make comparisons to the railroad system. You think about the railroads and waterways and highways: it’s an infrastructure that the government really supported. They subsidized

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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it, built it, and paid for it, yet they didn’t have the Army Corps of Engineers dig the ditches and the roads. Private industry did that. People say, “What good is it? Why do you want to do these foolish things like go into space?” It really galls me, this whole question, “If we can go to the moon, why can’t we . “ Fill in the blanks, whatever you want to do: feed the hungry, cure cancer, eliminate war, whatever. It’s not like that. The space program is not a panacea; nothing is. But it gives us a whole new area that’s just opening up. All I know deep within me is that this is something that is bigger than all of us that is going to help the human race make that first giant step. To be able to be there and help it happen, or help give one little push of my finger to the whole program, is what really turns me on and gets me dedicated. We’re not going to be able to predict what’s out there. We’re in a very early learning stage, and the only way to do it is to go out there and make mistakes. Lots of times you learn more from your mistakes than from your successes. The last thing is that the whole space program can be an area where we as a world could get together on projects, whether a manned mission to Mars or a planetary expedition. A lot of people are getting interested in a large collaborative effort. It’s amazing that when you don’t know people, it’s “them and us.” Then, when you meet them directly and personally, it’s “We know them and it’s all of us.” You have a contact there. You talk to them, and whether it’s a Czechoslovak, Russian, Saudi, or Mexican, you talk about your kids, where you’re going on vacation, or your daughter falling off her horse last week. Those are things you can relate to because humans are humans, and there are a lot of differences around the world. But if we can emphasize the things that unite us and bring us together, I think that’s extremely important. Doing that may be the hope of the space program. If it does nothing else, it would have paid for itself a thousandfold and more. That’s the dream. RONALD E. MCNAIR STS-41-B

Ron McNair died in the accident that destroyed the Challenger in January 1986. He had made a previous flight as a mission specialist on Challenger on February 3, 1984. McNair, who held a doctorate in physics, was also a musician. He played several appropriate songs on his saxophone while floating above the Earth. The first passage, from a letter McNair wrote, was included in the memorial service held at MIT on February 12, 1986. The second is from the report of that service in the student newspaper The Tech, February 14, 1986.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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“Truly there is no more beautiful sight than to see the Earth from space beyond. This planet is an exquisite oasis. Warmth emanates from the Earth when you look at her from space. I could no more look at the Earth and see anything bad than I could look at a smiling little girl or boy and see a bank robber. It’s impossible to see anything but goodness. My wish is that we would allow this planet to be the beautiful oasis that she is, and allow ourselves to live more in the peace that she generates.” Her husband intended to complete on the January 1986 mission a message he had begun during his first shuttle flight in 1984, but which had been cut off. Cheryl McNair read her husband’s message and played a tape of him on saxophone—silk-smooth runs which filled Kresge Auditorium for the first, and perhaps last, time. MeNair wrote, “Over the past 25 years, space travelers have repeatedly spoken of the astounding beauty of Earth as seen from the unique perspective of space. In the next few years, NASA will be flying private citizens equipped with the talent and expertise that will enable them to better describe the space experience. In the meantime, you’re stuck with people like me: scientists, pilots, engineers. “It just so happens that I brought along my soprano saxophone .. I wish to present to you a medley of songs . dedicated to every man, woman, and child in every continent on the planet. [The first song] offers a solution to the malice that exists among us. The second song addresses what we as individuals can do to make the world a better place for everyone.” The songs he played were “What the World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love” and “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand.” CHARLES D. WALKER STS-41-D, STS-51-D, STS-61-B

Charles Walker, a former design specialist for McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Company in St. Louis, was one of the most active payload specialists. He flew on the space shuttle flights of August 1984, April 1985, and November 1985. He conducted electrophoresis experiments designed to lead to major breakthroughs in the development of a purification process and a proprietary drug. I conducted two separate interviews with Walker. The first was a telephone conversation on July 2, 1985. The second took place at the space development conference sponsored by the L-5 Society in Seattle, Washington, in May 1986. He later added a written addendum.

Walker: I see the experience of spaceflight as an extension of my previous perceptions and experiences. Fifteen years ago, I was involved in White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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environmental activities in my community. I participated in the first Earth Day. At Purdue, I was interested in the same activities. I took civil engineering courses, but largely to learn about how human actions were affecting the environment. My interests were quite broad. I also took courses in astrophysics and oceanography. I found the experience of seeing the world as one distinct entity an enlightening one, and realizing with my own senses the interrelatedness of the environment on the globe and the magnitude of the universe in which the globe sits. It extended my desire to have a firsthand feel for the world around us, and it sensitized me to learn as much as I could about the interconnectedness of the environment. It created in me a lot of sensory stimulation, much more than I could absorb. You have a sight clearly in view for perhaps 90 seconds when you are moving at orbital speed. There is such an influx of visual information that you can only try to accept and interpret as much of it as possible. I came back with a mass of stored data. I wanted to spend a lot of time thinking back on it and how it related to my experiences here on Earth. It takes a lot of time to do it. I don’t think I can assimilate it all in a lifetime, but I’m going to try! White: How did you become an astronaut? Walker: At first, I was just one of the masses from outside, an observer in junior high school watching Shepard’s suborbital flight. I had an extreme desire to make the trip. I visualized the experience. I think many of us have been there in our mind’s eye. It gives you a good feel. You say, “This is a lot like I thought it would be.” There is a sense that you have seen it before, in your mind’s eye, but that vision was limited in scope, two-dimensional. White: It seems that different people react differently, as in any situation. Walker: Yes. If you take people and send them to the Grand Canyon for the first time, different individuals will respond differently. But there will be a familiarity for them and, at the same time, a feeling of the awesomeness of it. That can be equated to the experience of being in Earth orbit. The scope of human experience in space will really be as different as the different people who go. We haven’t yet seen a wide variety of backgrounds. White: Is it different in Earth orbit than going to the moon? Walker: Yes, there is a difference. It’s something that hasn’t been described or well defined yet, but it is obvious. White: Does space exploration play a role in human evolution? Walker: Yes. Over the decades and centuries, global surface exploration has been a strong undercurrent of change in Earthbound society. Changes in perspective will affect overall social structures. You can equate it to the European experience of the New World. But that was one of a number of

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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perspectives. The African colonial experience was not the same as the North American. Also, consider that the Chinese withdrew and became isolated in response to the exploration of others. So the European analogy alone is somewhat simplistic. Today, we have a lot of communication capabilities that did not exist then, and societies have similar perspectives, commonalities that didn’t exist earlier. The space perspective is generalized more quickly around the world. But it becomes diluted and is not seen as a saving grace of mankind. It seems to take time for it to affect society on a large scale. The localized societal impact is greater. The Soviets see spaceflight as driven by dialectical and economic principles. They see space as an integral part of their future. They are integrating into the lives of their people the idea of colonies on planets and in orbit. We don’t do that. We saw our manifest destiny in conquering the continent. The impact of spaceflight has been more limited in our culture than in some others. White: Is that because of a difference in their ability to communicate specific messages to large segments of society on a sustained basis? Walker: Yes. There is a difference in the systems. They can sustain their programs over long periods. In the United States, so many organizations see it as an either/or proposition, as space versus other social needs. There is a trend toward unification of different space-oriented groups now, which will help speed this country’s deeper understanding of space as more than a diversion. The space station activities are also focusing interest. That will be the direction over the next 10 years. Focusing on manned objectives will hopefully bring about a surge of interest, and I hope it creates an escalation of advances. We can build on it and generate momentum. It will allow us to overcome low points and give us enough momentum to advance on exploration and utilization. (May 1986) White: What is the effect of multiple trips into space? Do you eventually adapt to being there? Walker: Yes. Each person adapts with successive trips. You feel more comfortable each time, and you know what to expect psychologically as well. You adapt more readily to the environment and are less stunned by the perspectives and the sights. But each time you have mixed feelings about what you see and feel. I don’t know if that diminishes. Your perceptions are shaped by your previous trips. The character of it depends on each individual’s internal makeup, but also on what happens between flights. When you come back, you are still digesting and integrating. There is also the interaction with the people you

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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talk to. The predominant question is “What is it like in space?” Each time you verbalize it, that affects your thoughts and the context. When I verbalize something, it generates something new; there is a different answer each time the question is asked. This process is different for each person, depending on the flights and their contacts between flights. I had three flights in 15 months’ time. The company allowed talks and presentations between flights, and I addressed a lot of different groups. So you prepare for flight, go into the flight, experience spaceflight, and then process it verbally. Each time I was able to study more of the view in detail because of its familiarity. The immediate and superficial impressions that flooded me lessened. I could study them more carefully. White: Does space ever seem like home, or is it always strange? Walker: After some extended period, I would feel, “This is home; this is the home that stays with me.” I would cross over a boundary in time and think, “Given a choice, this is where I would reside.” But when I’ve gone on the shuttle, it wasn’t home because in a few days I returned to Earth. It was another place and another experience; it was pleasant and exciting, but it was not really home. It is analogous to my feelings on a jetliner. I’ve flown tens of thousands of miles in aircraft now, and I can sleep right through a takeoff. But it is a limiting environment and temporary. The space shuttle environment is that way. You know there is a “max stay time.” There is no way you can feel it is really home. Until there is a place you can go in space, no one will feel it is that comfortable. It will even take some time for people to feel that way about the space station. White: How was it compared to expectations? Walker: Having gone through all of it, I find there were many gaps in my thinking way back when. You don’t realize what it takes, the attitude preparation, and so on, to accept all the experiences that are part of spaceflight, such as living with seven other people for 5 to 7 days. Many of us, in thinking about spaceflight, are expressing our hopes, desires, and dreams for what can be. It is like the early pioneers of this continent, in the diaries that they wrote. From what I’ve heard, many were not prepared, and it may be that way now. Human nature hasn’t changed in that regard; it is the same reaction, but to a new environment. White: So you think the pioneer image is pretty accurate? Walker: It’s not far off. We also have some immediate analogies in the people who have gone to the South Pole, for example. It is not quite as artificial and alien as the orbital environment, but it is a similar situation. Early on, in the 1950s, the people who went to Antarctica were certainly

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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pioneers. Even today, they are pioneers taking on hardships. It will be some time before the space station will be like that. White: Do you want to go to the space station when it is built? Walker: Yes. I do. I keep trying to position myself for that. White: What do you think will be the impact of the Challenger accident? Walker: My guess would be that over 5 years or so, it will produce a “legend in its own time” for the astronaut corps and the public. The Challenger Seven will be like the original [Mercury] seven 20 years ago. We will have a voice that will be listened to with less reservation regarding the realities of spaceflight and the necessity for it. Polls have showed 70–80% of the American people supporting continuance. That will be the effect for 5 years or so, but not after that. Bureaucratically, I don’t know. Gramm-Rudmann has had a real impact, and it could push the program toward privatization. Then, people may get frustrated again if nothing grand happens. You ask the question, “Are NASA’s funding levels okay?” but most people don’t know what the funding levels are, how small that level is. I think people do want to support the program, but they may get frustrated. The following comments, dated August 7, 1986, were added by Walker to his copy of the original transcript. The new mythology of heroes is being born from the Challenger disaster. The Soviets have their heroes, but their names are not well known in Western society. We have our own. I hope this post-Challenger period is not going to be a dark age for American manned spaceflight. But my deepest fear is that too many of us are two-dimensional and too myopic, chained as we are to the surface of this planet. And in this existence gravity restrains not only our physical bodies but our expectations and our perceptions of what is possible. An accident of human failing may, unfortunately, be enough to start that dark age. But then maybe the “legend” will soon bring the decision makers back to the light. I have heard other space travelers express a perception that I have had: the feeling of euphoria beginning and continuing several days after launch. I think it springs from the mind’s realization that the reality without gravity is in effect a new dimension of freedom. It is a feeling that new possibilities must be present where physical orientation and visual perception are under control but always variable. The old limits fade, to reveal new, different ones—it is not enough to be hundreds of miles above the Earth in free-fall. You want to be outside the confines of the cabin, outside the confines of the pressure suit. Perhaps you even, without consciously realizing it, feel closer to being outside your body. For each person, it is different, but it must also be the same.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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STS-41-G, STS-77

Marc Garneau, one of six payload specialists selected by Canada in 1983, was the first Canadian to go into orbit. He flew on Challenger on October 5, 1984, and spent 8 days conducting experiments designed by the Canadian space program. In May 1996, Garneau flew on the 10-day STS-77 mission, during which the crew deployed two satellites and conducted a number of experiments in the Spacelab module. The following is part of my interview with Garneau in Ottawa, Canada, on July 11, 1986.

White: You went on 41-G in October of 1984. Can you talk about what you did? Garneau: I can remember walking into the 1-g trainer and saying, “Gosh, this is a very small place for seven people to live in.” Psychologically, as I got to know the crew better, the area expanded for me, and by the time I was ready for the flight, I was saying, “Well, this is bags of room. No problem.” It’s not really the classroom work or the hands-on training that’s the biggest factor. It’s the psychological adaptation, the interpersonal relationships that are probably the most important thing on short notice. White: The space experience is the period that you are actually in space, but it’s also the period before you go, and the period after, isn’t it? Garneau: Very much so. In fact, I was probably dull company for the 3 months prior to the mission. I can remember my parents and my wife commenting to me afterwards that when they phoned me I just wasn’t there. I was answering all the questions, but literally, from the moment I woke up in the morning until I went to bed at night, I was just thinking about the mission. It was very, very absorbing. White: What was the most important aspect of the experience itself, and how did it compare to what you thought would happen? Garneau: A lot of things come to mind when you ask that question. I would describe it as a little bit of a dreamlike experience. Sometimes, in hindsight, it may take on a certain different quality, but trying to be objective about it, and thinking about how I felt at the time, it is a dreamlike experience because space is a very magical place to be. I’m not trying to be whimsical here. Floating around in a place where you seem to be working and living almost in slow motion, yet being on top of the planet and going around it in 90 minutes, has a magical quality about it. It’s a bit like Alice in Wonderland. Things do make sense up there; it hasn’t got the chaos of a normal dream, but you are walking into something that is so

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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strange compared to any other experience that you have been exposed to in your life. It doesn’t prevent you from working. I don’t think I lost my head; I don’t think I was distracted in any appreciable way in the sense of not being able to do my work, but I was continuously amazed at the whole thing. It didn’t lose any of its magical quality while I was up there. White: On the one hand you’re in this extraordinary place, while on the other hand, you have to do very disciplined tasks. Every minute is really accounted for. Garneau: No doubt about it. It’s a unique opportunity for a Canadian scientist to get some good space science done, and they, the scientists, want to pile on as much as they can, not realizing that things do take a little bit longer to perform up there. Each one is saying, “Well, I’ll only add 20 more minutes to his day,” but there are six others who are doing the same. You end up doing a lot of work that is regulated minute by minute, and you have to carve out a little time for yourself, so you don’t come back to Earth after this unique experience and say to yourself, “I didn’t have any time for myself to feel the experience.” I did what everybody else, at least on our mission, did when we had some free time—I found a spot where I could gaze at the Earth. I’ve had people ask me, “Did you take a book to read with you?” It’s just the most ridiculous suggestion in the world. You don’t go up there to read a book. Perhaps it’s because they don’t realize what this view is that’s available to you. White: What was the experience of looking at the Earth for you? Garneau: There’s a mixture of things. One is just the sheer wonder of looking down at the Earth. It is very, very beautiful. There are wars going on, there’s pollution down there, but these are not visible from up above. It just looks like a very beautiful planet, particularly when you see it interface on the edge with space. There you suddenly get the feeling that, “Hey, this is just one small planet which is lost in the middle of space.” If you’re looking straight down, you don’t get that feeling, but if you can see that limb, then you see that boundary between Earth and space, and that gives you a very important feeling about the fact that we’re just drifting through an immense universe. It also makes you realize that this is a friendly place where humans can live, and there probably aren’t too many of these for a long way from our own planet, so you become a little more conscious about the fact that we shouldn’t be doing silly things on Earth like fighting and killing each other. I’m sure this is a commonly related thing: you lose your feelings of national belonging. We went up on a 57-degree inclination, so we would see quite a bit of Canada. The Americans, who were used to doing 28-degree

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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inclinations, would see a lot of the United States they don’t normally see, north of Florida. And you couldn’t tell when you crossed from Canada into the United States. I had spent a lot of time before that studying maps so I could take pictures of various parts of Canada to show my friends or look at geological formations of interest to Canadian geologists. I was almost expecting to see these boundary lines, and they are not there. They’re not there when you go through all of South America and through all of the Asian continent, and after a while you realize it’s a very artificial thing to put boundaries between us. In that sense you become more of a global citizen and less concerned with your own petty problems, at least during the time that you are up there. When you come back down to Earth and you get away from all the media razzmatazz, you’re back to such mundane concerns as “I’ve got to fix the washer on my tap here,” and “I’ve got to put the garbage out.” But for that short time, it’s part of that dream, that magical quality, raising you to a level where you feel you’re an extremely privileged person. You’re conscious of the fact that not too many people have had this. White: How about weightlessness? You talked about the floating and the dreamlike nature of it. Garneau: Floating and weightlessness were what I really enjoyed, and I think everybody will tell you the same thing. I think the right word for it is that it is so much fun; it’s no more complicated than that. I really took to that environment. I enjoy scuba diving and I’ve done that for a long time. I like the feeling of being suspended. I liked the floating so much that I slept that way. Most people get into sleeping bags or strap themselves in one way or another. I didn’t, I just floated. You can’t hurt yourself up there, and I felt totally comfortable closing my eyes at nighttime. You obviously position yourself so that you can at least start out not moving. Eventually, you will be moved; forces will move you throughout, but I felt very comfortable with that. A lot of people feel they should tie themselves down somewhere, that it’s not right to be drifting all over the place. To me, it was no longer a factor. I really did release myself from my reference system. And I think that if I was up there 10 years, I’d still get as much of a kick out of floating as I did on those 8 days. White: I have a sense that if you just stayed in a weightless environment and didn’t come back to a planetary surface, you would become more fishlike. Do you have any feeling about that? Garneau: Perhaps there is something we don’t know about that, after 5 years, would kill everybody living in space, because nobody has been up there that long.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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There’s going to be a loss of calcium, but we don’t really have enough information. We are extrapolating beyond the present maximum duration, which is less than a year. Making a simplistic guess, I would assume that the muscles in our legs and arms would atrophy and become skinnier. Our legs would probably just disappear eventually, because there is no use for them. You can move around very well just with your arms. I don’t think your arms would stay the same size as they are now, because you don’t need much strength. You do need their dexterity and manipulating capability, and you use them to stop and start and move around, but they don’t need to be as big or as strong as they are normally. I can’t see things like our eyes and ears changing much. You still need your senses up there. The sense of touch would remain. Basically, I think our members would change substantially. I have a feeling that we will dabble with artificial gravity because we will want to see what it’s like, and it’s quite possible that when we have permanent space habitations there may be a tendency to revert to artificial gravity, but it’s not a big factor at the moment. White: Does this sort of experience have long-term impact? What’s it like being back with us Earthlings, trying to understand what it was like, trying to explain to everybody? Garneau: It’s not easy to explain because it’s a very personal experience. It’s also difficult for me to separate the experience from all the hype that followed it. When I got back down to Earth, before I knew it, I was carried off into a maze of publicity in this country, which was very exciting and a very busy time. I never had to come back down to Earth, if you know what I mean, for quite a long time after actually getting back. Also, I would say that the experience of being in low Earth orbit is substantially different from going to the moon. Going to the moon, a quarter of a million miles away from your own planet, and seeing it from that far away, has to be much different from being in low Earth orbit. Setting foot on the moon must be very emotional and special. I think that for people who have been profoundly affected by their space experience, it’s proportional to how far they go away and whether or not they set foot on a foreign planet. So it has changed me as a person, but I think the publicity has changed me more than anything else, in the sense that I had to go from being a private person to one who is often asked to appear in public or speak about some particular topic and has to adjust to expectations from the public. That adjustment is considerably more profound in terms of my personal life than my 8-day experience in space, which remains a very personal and beautiful experience, but not one that has substantially changed me. I think I would have to go for a lot longer and a lot farther before I would say that.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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I would add one last thing. One part of the total experience is the sheer adventure of the launch itself. That internal adjustment, making peace with yourself and squaring off your conscience and preparing for that short experience, is an adaptation as well. You have to come to terms with yourself if you are going to go through it. You have the choice of backing out, but when you decide that you’re not going to do that, you have to tidy up your mind and sort out your priorities. This is something most of us don’t have to do in the normal course of events. But here you’re consciously saying, “I’m going to take the chance that something could happen. I believe it’s a small chance, but I’m prepared to take that risk.” That personal decision is a part of the overall experience. White: It must be an amazing feeling when the shuttle lifts off to realize that you are actually doing it at that moment, and you can’t go back. Garneau: Yes, it is. This dreamlike feeling begins in the morning when you wake up, which is still some 4 or 5 hours prior to actual takeoff. This time, you are going up to that launch pad and up in the elevator, and you know you’re not going to come down. You’re going up there to get on board, and this is no longer a practice. The 2 hours before the mission are probably the hardest of the whole thing, because you haven’t got a heck of a lot to do, just sitting there. If you are the pilot and the commander, you’re a little busier, but even they are not that busy until the last 20 minutes when they start flicking switches and doing a lot more talking. It’s something like playing football, waiting for the first contact on the line. After that, you relax a little bit, but you’re saying, “Let’s get on with this game.” It’s that sort of feeling. But it’s an overwhelming sensation, and your ears, your eyes, your whole body is attuned to everything that’s going to happen, particularly if you’re where I was, which is down in the middeck, where you don’t have the additional visual element that the people at the windows have. Then the whole shuttle comes to life, and it’s moving and it’s going, and you say to yourself, “Oh, good, I don’t feel any lateral accelerations that I wasn’t expecting. We’re going to the right place.” You suddenly become the most sensitive sensor in the world. White: I’m interested in how we are going to evolve as a society in space and how it’s going to affect life on Earth. What thoughts do you have about what is going to happen as we spend more time in space? Garneau: I think my vision is probably a fairly common one, but I feel very strongly about it. Certainly, we are drawn to space. That is irrefutable in my mind, and we’re going to continue going up there. We may have slowdowns and buildups, depending on budgets and the political scene, but we’re not going to turn our backs on space. That would be unthinkable for

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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me. I think it’s going to be like Columbus’s setting off 500 years ago and starting the trend of people going out to explore the world beyond the European and Asian shores. He initiated this flurry of “Let’s explore the rest of our world,” and even to this century new places were being discovered. I believe that we are going to become comfortable with our space environment. We are going to go back to the moon and set up a base there eventually and use it as a staging place. There will be people living up there on a long-term basis. We will have a space station that will blossom into several space stations—co-orbiting platforms and polar platforms. Within my lifetime we will send human beings to Mars. But beyond that, I would say that within the next 50 to 100 years, we are going to have people being born and living in space, if not for their whole lives initially, at least for a substantial amount of time. Probably in a couple of centuries people will live their entire lives on places like the moon or on large space stations that are orbiting our planet. We will explore our entire solar system in the next 400 or 500 years, but we won’t be able to go beyond that point. To do that, we have to take a magic step to propulsion systems that allow us to approach the speed of light. I believe it’s possible, but it’ll be a long time. When we do get that capability, we’re going to visit our neighboring solar systems. Eventually we will reach other intelligent life. I believe there is intelligent life out there, but it could very easily be a million years before it contacts us. Somehow we get impatient if it doesn’t happen within our lifetime. It may be watching us now; it may not. We may be the first to contact. I think the contact will eventually happen, but we’re not going to be in a position to do that for a long time. I think it will be very exciting. I think that within my lifetime, someone will be born in space, and that will be a thrilling moment for that child and that child’s parents. White: Do you have a feeling for how the political and social relationships might evolve? Garneau: I don’t think we’ll ever become “one” on Earth, in the sense of all becoming friends, until somebody contacts us from out there. I think we need that strong a force to bring us together. Otherwise, I think regional interests will prevail. It’s within our human nature and it’s too strong to break down. Although we all espouse brotherhood and friendship, it’s unrealistic to expect all of us suddenly to be brought together by our common desire to do something in space for the common good. There will be lots of cooperation, and we will maintain civilized relationships, but I think we will still see countries preserving their autonomy. Only when we reach the point where we are contacted from

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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outside will we suddenly pull together and realize that it’s more important that we be together. White: Is there any one thing you would like people to know about space and space exploration? Garneau: What comes to mind is that it’s inevitable. It’s not something that we’re going to sit down and discuss whether or not we should. It’s something that’s going to happen, and nothing is going to stop it. There are people who would like to turn away from that, who cannot reconcile the fact that we have a lot of problems here on Earth with the fact that we should be trying to go out and spend a lot of money doing this other thing. Really, the two can be reconciled quite easily, depending on how you look at it. The bottom line in my opinion is that no matter what we do with our government money, it’s still going to happen. Nothing can prevent it; it’s too strong a human instinct. JEFFREY A. HOFFMAN STS-51-D, STS-35, STS-46, STS-61, STS-75

Jeff Hoffman, an astronomer, made his first spaceflight as a mission specialist on STS-51-D, which was launched on April 12, 1985. During that mission, he made an unplanned spacewalk in an attempted rescue of a malfunctioning satellite. Hoffman flew on four other missions, including STS-61, during which the Hubble Space Telescope was captured, serviced, and restored to full capacity. I heard Hoffman speak at the Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Harvard University, in October 1985 and interviewed him at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston in November 1985. Excerpts from Hoffman’s talk at Harvard, integrating answers to a few audience questions, are followed by material from our discussion.

We had 50 hours underwater training for spacewalking. When I first went out on my spacewalk, I was overwhelmed for a few seconds, but then it is remarkable how the training takes over. For an hour, I was out there “watching the world go by.” It was overwhelming, the high point of the trip. One of the hardest parts of working there was trying not to spend too much time looking back at the Earth. You have a “gondola” mode of observation, looking out of the top of the shuttle. You have a sense of the threedimensional nature of the clouds. I spent a lot of time taking cloud pictures. You also get a lot of views of global weather patterns. We spent a lot of time before the flight going over a list of pictures to take. We had a few sessions studying ecological problems. You see things happening all over the world that are appalling.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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You have a continent-wide view, but you can also see individual buildings with 14-power binoculars from 300 miles. We took pictures of sunrise and sunset, and I counted 20 layers of atmosphere. There is a halo around the Earth, which becomes visible about 8 minutes after the sun sets. On reentry, the rear view is dramatic. A huge standing shock wave is visible even after the sun comes out. It is a spectacular phenomenon. There is a bright white light right in the middle of it. It is like a huge totemic figure. When I showed it to mission specialist Rhea Seddon, she said, “Maybe we should bow down and pray to it.” White: Since you have read some of my material, we can start by getting your reaction to it and the idea that spaceflight does have some impact on one’s perspective on life. Hoffman: One thing I will say in general about some of your opinions is that I don’t think you have to fly in space to have that psychological impact. For instance, the idea of the Earth as a closed ecosystem, a sense of the fragility of life, of the remarkable difference between the Earth and Venus or Mars. We appreciate it more because of what has come from the space program, but that perspective is not necessarily available only to a person in orbit looking down and seeing it. What I saw reinforced rather than created new feelings. I think that is true of most of my experience. That may not be true of somebody who didn’t spend as much time before the flight thinking and reading about the experience, but although I saw a tremendous amount of stuff that surprised me, in terms of overall philosophical impact, I didn’t go through any sort of conversion experience that some people have talked about. The direct experience of being in orbit is something you can’t get just by reading about it. But I don’t translate that directly into psychological or philosophical consequences. I think you draw philosophical or mental consequences from an experience like that only if you think about it a lot. A lot of people fly in space and really don’t think much about it; then, when they come hack, it was a fantastic experience. I know about the phenomenon of going to Tibet and sitting on a mountainside for 2 years and all of a sudden achieving your inspiration or revelation or whatever. Perhaps something like that could come out of the space experience too, but [laughing] not when they keep us so busy. Most of your contemplation is done during the wee hours of the sleep period. White: I heard you talk on the radio on the topic “Why I took 6 years out of my life to do this.” You said something like, “Perhaps when we look back on it, going into space might be the most important thing we’ve ever done.”

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Hoffman: I feel very strongly that this is part of a long-term development of human civilization and that what we are doing now is taking the very first steps. Of course, I was raised on science fiction, so the idea of people living on other planets and traveling to the stars doesn’t bother me. White: As an astronomer, you had some predisposition toward this being a natural way for people to live. Hoffman: Yes. A lot of the limitations that we perceive on human life come from what we are used to. You often hear people say that travel to the stars is impossible just because they’re too far away. That presupposes that you want to come back to the Earth eventually, and as far as I’m concerned that is not a justifiable assumption. It is for us now, at our stage of development of civilization, but I suspect that eventually there will be people who don’t live on the Earth. I don’t think that there is any real sense of humanity as being cosmic. Humanity is very much of the Earth, and so it should be, because we really are; we depend on the Earth. But that will not necessarily always be the case. White: It is certainly a primitive beginning, but almost every month, some human beings live a fairly complete life for one week away from the Earth. Hoffman: We are all waiting for the chance to do it on a longer basis on the space station. It’s sad that is still a long time in the future for us. The Russians are getting a lot of good experience. From what I’ve heard, space as a new frontier, society coming out of a revolutionary past and looking to the future, is very much a part of their tradition, too. I think that space research is very important to them, not just from the military point of view, but as a general philosophical basis for their whole culture. White: Yes, I think that’s true. We have a physical frontier culture, and they have a social frontier culture. Building a new society is very strong with them. Going back to your experience, what would you say was the most important thing? Hoffman: Leaving aside the technical aspects of the flight itself, I would have to divide it into several elements, because clearly the most important thing we did on the flight was to show the adaptability of having people up in space who could react quickly to a situation. First, there is the direct experience of weightlessness, which is the overwhelming factor at the beginning. It’s both an external and internal experience. You see how the other people move around, see the freedom that you have, and also have the internal sensation of what your body feels like, which is completely different from anything—well, not anything, because we have done parabolic flights—but once you get used to the fact that it’s not over after a quick 30 seconds, it becomes a very different experience. There’s no fundamental philosophical importance, I think, to the experience, except that it is a fascinating one internally. Externally, it’s

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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quite interesting. It’s the first time you have true freedom in all three dimensions—much more even than birds or airplanes, because you don’t need any power to stay where you are. Of course, we can’t really take full advantage of it because the shuttle is such a small environment, but looking ahead, I can see fantastic opportunities for space construction because of this freedom. It is a completely new physical environment, and there will eventually be whole new fields of engineering and design to build structures that don’t have to support their own weight, using novel materials and all sorts of things which come out of this basic three-dimensional freedom. Obviously, gravity still exists up there, but as a force, it’s very different. You certainly build up a new sense of what gravity is. We don’t normally, just standing and sitting, think of it as being a constant acceleration. We think of it as something that holds us onto the Earth, but when the shuttle first lands and you step out, you feel it as an acceleration down to the ground. White: You actually realize that it is always pulling you to it? Hoffman: Yes. So it certainly gave me a lot of insights on a very physical basis, an appreciation of how these basic forces, gravity and fluids, work. That’s part of the fascination, watching how things behave so differently in free-fall. That’s the first part of the experience, the whole concept of weightlessness. The other part is the location, what you can see from Earth orbit that you can’t see from the ground. That’s a constant fascination from the beginning to the very end of the mission, because there’s so much, and you can always see new things out the window. White: It’s one thing to be there, to be able to see the Earth, but also it’s changing all the time. Hoffman: It’s not just the Earth, it’s the environment of space, the atmosphere, and the nearby environment of the shuttle and the stars. From the top to the bottom, it’s a very different perspective. White: So you did have that sense of not just the Earth, but of the solar system. Hoffman: Yes. Even as close to the Earth as we were, I still felt I was able to create in my mind a picture of the Earth in space. The sky around you is black, and you can really see the atmosphere from above, the tops of the clouds and the airglow on the horizon. It’s certainly not like being on the moon, where you can see the little globe in the sky, but with a little jump of the imagination, it is possible to appreciate that. White: How about the time sense? Hoffman: I quickly stopped carrying any ground clock in my mind. It became irrelevant. Obviously, if I had wanted to figure out what time it was in Houston, I could have. But there was never any need to, and I certainly lost

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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track of that after being in orbit for only a few hours. Everything went by our orbit clock, Mission Elapsed Time, because all our activities were scheduled in its terms. For my internal planning activities, I tended to use the orbit as the basic unit of time. When our scheduled activities were finished, I would think to myself, “I have a little work to do, and then I want to get ready for bed, and then I want to look out the window.” I might say, “I guess I’ll look out the window to see the next sunset, or I’ll spend a half orbit looking out the window.” Sometimes when I was ready for bed, and we were scheduled for 8 hours of sleep, I would say, “I don’t need 8 hours of sleep. I’ll spend the next orbit looking out the window, and then I’ll go to sleep,” knowing, of course, that it was an hour and a half, but basically thinking in terms of an orbit. White: I’ve been interested in time as a subset of space and realizing that time is really measured by what Earth is doing. Hoffman: Time is measured by change, not just of the Earth but of anything, at the subjective level. One year is one year, but subjectively, the more things are changing, the deeper your impression of time. I’ve always thought that’s why a year seems much longer for kids than for grown-ups, because there is so much more change in 1 year in a child’s life than there is for you and me. And certainly, there is much more change in 1 week in orbit. Of course, that is not unique to space travel. The same thing happens if I spend a week in Europe. Or on a vacation, when you do something different while you are there, every day seems so jam-packed full of new things that time somehow seems expanded, and the experience lasts a lot longer. Whereas you go from week to week around the office and because it’s the same, you get to Friday and say, “What have I done all week?” White: One essential factor to the whole experience seems to be that of excitement and adventure. Hoffman: At the point we are now, the emphasis, the training, the preparation, is not at all on the adventure. It’s on accomplishing tasks, learning how to function in space, and you carry the adventure along with you. It’s not like you go to climb a mountain because the goal is to climb a mountain. We are no longer at the point where we are going into space because the goal is to go into space and just experience it. They are not sending me up and spending all that money so I can have an adventure. We spend all our training time on learning how to do useful work up there. I think that in itself is an adventure, if you take the big picture, because we are setting the groundwork for the next years of human development and whatever humanity ends up doing in space. That is an adventure, and it’s worth all the hard work.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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White: I’ve studied Zen, and the promise is of a great experience, but they never talk about the experience. They talk about the work that it takes to get there, and there is a real focus on the practice. Hoffman: Well, I don’t think it’s for the same reasons. My understanding of Zen tells me that the reason for not talking about the experience is that you don’t want to be grabbing for it. It has to come and get you, and if you grab for it, you never get it, and that’s not at all true about going into space. You can think about it as much as you want to, and when you get there, you are there. It’s all over. So I think it’s not apt from that point of view. I think the reason we don’t talk that much about it is that that’s not what we are preparing for; we are preparing for the work we have to do. Then who is doing the talking to whom? I don’t have to talk with a fellow astronaut who’s been up there about what the sunset looks like in space, because he’s seen it. And when we talk to people coming back from other flights, we don’t try to tell each other what zero gravity felt like, because we assume that we understand that. What we tend to talk about is the unique things they might have done on their flights that I might not have done. We come to share a language. The main thing is to talk to other people about it, which is one of the reasons I agreed to have my diary made public. People don’t ordinarily have much opportunity to find out what it was like, so I thought it was a nice way of sharing the experience. But by and large, it’s hard to share, and it’s certainly not something that’s directly relevant to our training, so we don’t talk with our trainers about it. I think the sharing is done more through pictures. Everybody expects us to bring back good pictures, and that is the way we communicate the experience. White: Do you feel that you are successful in sharing it? Hoffman: By and large, people tell me that I share it reasonably well, and I’m willing to accept that. I enjoy it. Even before I flew, I liked to talk about the space program. I’m willing to talk about something that I’m interested in and people are willing to listen to. White: Have you had the sense that some people have really been affected as they have listened to you? Hoffman: Some have said that especially listening to my diary gives them a direct sense of what actually goes on during spaceflight that they have never had before. All that most people ever hear is conversations between astronauts and Mission Control, and that is not what goes on during a mission. Without aviation experience, most people don’t realize how artificial that language is, and it’s developed that way for a very real purpose, because historically radio time has been very valuable. That’s changing with relay

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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satellites, and we can put scientists on the line and talk to them without any radio discipline at all. Even displays of emotion are frowned upon on the radio, and for good reason, because they are not necessary. The tradition of aviation and nautical radio is to keep the radio quiet unless you have something necessary to say. And anyway, because you are limited, the only thing anybody ever says is, “Wow, isn’t this beautiful?” It’s become a cliche´. Perhaps some people can’t say anything better, but a surprising number of people can; it’s just that they don’t. We kind of get a bad name because of it. White: I don’t know that you showed a lot of emotion in the diary, but I could sense your feelings. Hoffman: Well, I was certainly excited the whole time. I was on a total high. White: I want to talk about the EVA because I have the sense that for a lot of people it’s the most interesting experience. Hoffman: I think that all of us would like to do it, especially the people who do the EVA training for the shuttle. I think it’s another step of adventure that’s much more exciting. It’s also a more immediate sense of the environment of space. White: I would think that out there the Earth would loom even larger in your view. Hoffman: The shuttle’s windows are surprisingly good compared to those of previous spacecraft, where it was like day and night between being in a space suit and looking through a small window. The shuttle actually gives you a remarkably good view. It’s still not as good as out of a space helmet, but I think it was not so much that the view itself was intrinsically so much bigger; it was just knowing that I wasn’t looking through a window. I could look at my hand, and there was the vacuum of space between my eyes and my hand. That’s a very strange feeling. White: Did you have any of that experience, either when you were inside or on EVA, that Rusty Schweickart talks about, of a shift of your identity, from identifying with a specific place on the Earth, to identifying more with the Earth itself? Hoffman: I don’t think of that sort of shift as being unique to the EVA. Maybe it was different for him because of having so little view when he was inside. But we got a very real sense of our position in relation to the Earth in the shuttle, because there are windows all around no matter which way you are pointing, and you can see a large chunk of it. I think the most unusual experience I had was the feeling of being able to become detached from the shuttle and be an independent satellite. Philosophically, I could have that experience even inside, because in terms

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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of the laws of physics, when I’m floating inside the shuttle’s cabin, I am an independent satellite, a satellite inside a satellite. But it’s different, obviously, when you are outside, and the shuttle’s over there. That was exciting. I don’t think there is any great philosophical importance behind it, but it was interesting to me that I could get a feeling of detachment relatively easily. White: In physical terms, you were really a planetary body. Were you tethered? Hoffman: Oh, yes, all the time. But at the heart of the matter, if I was exerting a force on the shuttle, moving around, doing work, translating from one part to another, then the shuttle was this big massive object. Of course, it was I who was moving and the shuttle that was standing still, and therefore everything I was doing was in relation to the shuttle. But if I just had my hand lightly on the handrail and was floating, and there was no force on my hand between me and the shuttle, then I’m equivalent to the shuttle; there’s no difference. We are both equal satellites around the Earth, and I’m under the same laws of physics as the shuttle is, and that’s what made the difference. Luckily, I had enough spare time that I could do that for a while and just get that part of the experience. White: There was a time when you were lying on your back, looking up through the shuttle windows at the clouds, and you said it was like looking at clouds when you were on the Earth, but from the other side. It sounded like a big daydreaming session, a kid lying on his back, looking up. Hoffman: It was very much like that. Looking at the tops of clouds, you get all kinds of neat patterns, just as when you are looking at clouds from here. I found it very relaxing just to look at them from the top. It was also neat to go from day to night, and sometimes you would get magnificent thunderstorms. White: Did you notice any difference in your dreams? Hoffman: Only one night was I aware of any dreams, and I was actually dreaming about the flight, so I would have to say yes, it was different. I was dreaming that I was back on the ground asking people how the flight was going, and they were saying, “Aren’t you supposed to be up there?” White: So you dreamed you were back on Earth. Hoffman: Yes, but the dreams were concerned with the flight, because I was back on Earth asking people what they thought about it. White: I’ve wondered if dreaming on the shuttle would be different for people, whether the weightlessness would have an effect. Hoffman: I would be surprised if it did, except that it might make it easier in the future to dream about being weightless. Only rarely do I remember my dreams, and of those I have remembered since my flight, none has had anything to do with spaceflight, which is a shame because that would be the

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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one way I could recapture the feeling of weightlessness. Once you’ve lost it, you’ve lost it; you can’t bring it back. The very first night on the ground, when I lay down in bed, before going to sleep, I could sort of bring it back. It’s probably not dissimilar to what a hypnotist can do when he or she makes your arm just lie there, and it truly feels weightless, but you get that feeling through your whole body. White: I have speculated a lot on the long-term impact on society of the space program. I wonder if you have any thoughts about how the experience has affected people’s perceptions. Hoffman: I think that the technological impacts are likely to be more important than the philosophical in the near term. The impact of worldwide communications has already been tremendous. There has been an almost revolutionary change in terms of twentieth-century politics and economics compared to the whole previous time. By and large, things don’t happen around the world without other people knowing about them. That is probably the biggest thing the space program has done in terms of changing human consciousness, although very few people recognize it as the space program. But it is because there is such a thing as geosynchronous orbit with the satellites up there. I certainly don’t think we have gotten anywhere near the point where people think of space, with the exception of people like the L-5 Society, as being a safety valve for human populations. That may happen someday. It may be that new types of cultures and societies will form in space colonies or on Mars. Intellectuals would say it is important as a metaphor, but I think it is important in how it affected the rest of the world’s idea of what America is, and the fact that Americans went to the moon. It’s also interesting how important the existence of the space program is as a motivating force for young people. Many other areas of endeavor, from my point of view, are just as exciting: exploring the bottom of the ocean, researching the human brain, all sorts of things that are just as revolutionary as space. But there is something about space travel—maybe science fiction has a lot to do with it, because there is that sense of adventure and excitement. There is no Star Trek equivalent under the sea, so space is a metaphor and it makes a big difference in motivating a lot of kids to work a little bit harder. White: Finally, if there were a single message you would like to offer, what would it be? Hoffman: As the shuttle program becomes more and more routine, I think there’s a danger that people will lose sight of how much we are still working in the unknown. It’s expected now that every mission is going to go perfectly. And in fact I don’t even know how the country would be prepared to take a major failure. [Author’s note: This was before the Challenger disaster.] But we are still working in a very unforgiving environment. Number one is just

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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the physical survival of the crew and the ship. After all, ships still sink in the ocean and airplanes crash to the ground. I like to think that we spend a lot more time preparing our spaceships for every flight than we do the average airplane. But realistically speaking, someday . who knows? Spaceflight is not always 100% safe. That’s one aspect of it, but more important is that we’re going to go up and try to do some things that don’t work. I don’t mean like what happened on our flight. We tried to fix a satellite, and it turns out to be a problem you aren’t going to fix. But I don’t think people realize what a new environment we are working in. We still have an awful lot to learn. White: So your message would be that even though it appears routine, it’s not. Hoffman: Yes. We’d like to make it seem that way, because that means that everything is going well, but we can’t get complacent about it. EDWIN (“JAKE”) GARN STS-51-D

Former Republican Senator Garn of Utah was aboard flight STS-51-D, launched on April 12, 1985, with Charles Walker and Jeff Hoffman. Garn had been a pilot in the U.S. Navy and chairman of a committee that oversees the NASA budget in the Senate. What follows is a reconstruction of my interview with the senator in Washington, D.C., on July 23, 1986.

White: What was the experience like, especially seeing the Earth from a distance, and have you noticed a change in your view of the political system as you’ve been working here again? Garn: First let me say that it is virtually impossible to describe the beauty of the Earth. I don’t have the vocabulary, and I have felt very frustrated in trying to describe it. You can take people to see The Dream Is Alive, but spectacular as it is, it’s not the same as being there. That’s because you are not only seeing it with your own eyes with an even broader perspective than the IMAX camera does, where you can scan the whole horizon, experiencing the 45 minutes of daylight with the 45 minutes of darkness, but then you couple that with the mobility of weightlessness while you are doing this, and the feeling is absolutely euphoric. Toward the end of our mission, after we tried to rescue the satellite, I wanted to do one complete orbit of the Earth, uninterrupted, all the way around, which I did, floating on the flight deck, listening to Swan Lake. It was so fantastic and so beautiful, and I felt guilty, thinking about my family, my

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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wife and seven kids. My feeling was that I’d seen and done it all, and I didn’t care whether I came back or not; it really didn’t make any difference. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, but if something happened, and we didn’t come back, fine, so be it, just utter peace and contentment and fulfillment. So there was that feeling and something that is not original with me—I’ve heard it for years from other astronauts—you certainly come to the recognition that there aren’t any political boundaries out there. You don’t see any asterisks or stars for state or national capitals or any political subdivisions. You see it as one world, and you recognize how insignificant the planet Earth is when you look at 100 billion stars in the Milky Way and recognize that our sun is a rather minor one. You look out there millions of light-years, and it is impossible to comprehend the vastness of space. I have always believed that there were other human beings on other planets. Not in our solar system, obviously, but I personally believe that God created our Earth and the universe and that we are not the only children of God in the universe. I said that to one of my colleagues after I got back, and he said, “I don’t believe that, Jake. I don’t believe that at all. We’re the only place where God has chosen to put his children.” “Oh, come on,” I said. “If you could look out there at billions of stars, recognizing that there are stars and planets out there millions of light-years away—I can’t even comprehend 186,000 miles per second times 6 or 7 million years. The vastness of a 100-billion-star system that is our own galaxy: how many planets are out there that we can’t see any more than we can be seen by someone? “I would come to that conclusion if I didn’t believe in God just on the basis of the law of large numbers. Even an atheist mathematician ought to be able to say that it is statistically probable that someplace out there in the vastness of those numbers there is another planet, or many, that have the same atmospheric conditions and all of that.” Either way, from a Creationist or evolutionist standpoint, there is no doubt in my mind that there are human beings out there. Not just life, but people who don’t have ears like Spock and are not green and don’t have different shapes, but are like you and me. The other intense feeling is that, along with the great beauty, you also have great feelings of sadness. At least I did, because you fly over Ethiopia and you have vivid pictures in your mind of those starving little kids with their bony ribs, or Iran and Iraq and the war that is going on there, or Afghanistan or Nicaragua, and you look at the trouble spots. You fly over Africa and recognize what occurs in so many of the Third World countries around the world, and you think, “How sad,” because certainly we have the natural resources to take care of all of God’s children. We have the capacity to grow

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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enough food that nobody needs to go hungry, so I sat there and questioned, “Why, why does this have to be?” You recognize that the Russians, the Nicaraguans, the Canadians, the Filipinos—it doesn’t matter where they’re from—all they want to do is raise their kids and educate them, just as we do. So you think, “Well, the problem is government. It isn’t people, it’s government, and when you look at the history of mankind, there have been such a few individuals who want to impose their will on others. That is where the trouble is. Just a very few of the billions of people who have lived on Earth who want power and dominion over their fellow citizens, not for wealth or material gain particularly, but just to control. Just for power itself.” When I’ve said that, I’ve often been asked, “Well, do you believe in oneworld government?” Oh, no, no, it even greatly strengthened my patriotism, because also, as I sat there in orbit and thought about the differences in governments and why we have so much freedom and opportunity and material gain here in this country, to me it was obviously the freedom of the individual. So as you fly around you look at the controlled countries compared to the democratic ones, and there is such a vast difference. It made me feel even more strongly that as Americans who enjoy so much, we really have an obligation and responsibility to our fellow human beings to try to help them have freedom and opportunity. It didn’t really change any beliefs, but it certainly strengthened a lot of beliefs that I had, and it made me feel very sad that these conditions had to exist. In that way it is a changing and a softening in my attitudes in some ways—a lot more compassion for some people who have a lot less than we Americans do. I suppose that’s true because we become so accustomed to how we live in this country. We take it so for granted and think that everybody lives that way. Even though I have traveled extensively all over the world, it wasn’t the same perspective as “Here is the planet Earth.” Again, this is not something that is original with me, because other astronauts have talked about Spaceship Earth. But we really are all traveling together, so there ought to be more equality of opportunity around the Earth. We are God’s children; why such disparities? White: A lot of the astronauts have said that they had an intellectual understanding of Spaceship Earth, but now it is real to them. No one has said, “I have totally changed my point of view because of being there,” but rather, “I feel something that I previously just knew.” Garn: It’s hard, sitting here, being held down by gravity and walking around on the Earth, to really visualize that this Earth is rotating on its own axis and orbiting around the sun. I don’t care how many times you look at the globe or the models that show us in relationship to our solar system, it isn’t quite real to you. You know it intellectually.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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But the first time you look out at the Earth and see that, it’s a heart-stopper. You say, “My goodness,” and you just want to look all the time, because it finally is clear to you that this Earth really is round and it really is traveling through space. You’ve seen it for yourself. And it’s like the difference—I don’t care how many pictures you’ve seen of the Grand Canyon, it’s not the same as looking over the side and saying, “My goodness, it really is that deep!” It’s a spiritual feeling that you know, not just because somebody told you or because you read it in a textbook or saw models of the universe, but you have personally seen that it really is like what you learned in school. White: Looking at the future, what do you see, from having been there, in terms of the evolution of society as we become more of a spacefaring civilization? Do you see vast changes in human behavior? Garn: I don’t see vast changes quickly, but there’s no doubt in my mind that if more people fly, there has to be more understanding of what I’m talking about. DON L. LIND STS-51-B

Don Lind waited almost 19 years for his first flight on the space shuttle. It occurred on Challenger on April 29, 1985, when he served as a mission specialist on Spacelab 3. A Mormon and a physicist, he brings an interesting combination of spiritual and scientific training to his experience as an astronaut. His total time in space is just a few minutes over 7 days. My interview with Dr. Lind was held at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston on November 12, 1985.

Lind: In the Apollo program, there were a number of things I read where people were having profound religious experiences and changes in their whole outlook on life, and most of that, I think, is pretty much humbug because, at least back in those days, I was interested enough in what I read that I polled just about everyone. I know I polled everybody who went to the moon. Obviously, the people who had a profound religious background before they left were impressed in those terms, and those who were too busy to be religious before they left were too busy to be religious when they came back. So I don’t think that sort of thing changed anybody, and I think that, to a man, is true. After talking to a lot of people, I found there were two almost universal experiences, and almost nothing else. One was basically what you would call

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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nostalgia, looking back at home. You can easily understand that because of the dramatic situation. It was rather more forceful than it would have been on other forms of transportation. The other I guess you would call a feeling of brotherhood. People who had a religious background expressed it in religious terms, and people who didn’t expressed it in more humanitarian terms. But the idea, and I experienced this myself, was that you looked down and you could see how incredibly thin the Earth’s atmosphere is and realize that if we pollute it, we all breathe it together, and if we are so dumb as to start a thermonuclear war, we all go together; there is no lifeboat, and everybody is in it together. You can’t see the boundaries over which we fight wars, and in a very real way, the inhabitants of this Earth are stuck on a very beautiful, lovely little planet in an incredibly hostile space, and everybody is in the same boat. That feeling was very widespread and very intense, and people expressed it in different ways. But there were those two things and not much else. I have read a lot of articles about a lot of other things people are supposed to have experienced in space, but I don’t think they happened. White: There is an interaction between what you expect to see and what you see. But do you also have the sense that the media in some sense create these ideas? Lind: Yes, I do. I think, at least in the Apollo era, some people wanted to believe that going into space would reinforce religious beliefs, and therefore they almost read that into anything the astronauts said. That offended me, because I don’t think you get converted to religion by going on a trip to the moon or to Cincinnati or anyplace else. I think religion is a more profound experience than that. People wanted astronauts to say something, and if they said anything close to that, they would embellish. White: By religious, do you mean a strict religious notion, such as “God spoke to me on the moon?” Lind: No. I’ve got some very strong feelings myself, so I hesitate to read into other people’s experiences something they would put into totally different words. I was saying it in a much broader sense: just a very profound, moving experience that had any connotation whatsoever of deity in it. That’s what I was talking about as their religious experience. White: I’ve picked out three insights that people have in space. Do they square with anything that you or anyone you know experienced? One is the sense of an overview of the Earth, which you called brotherhood. I think I have confirmed that a lot of people have experienced that. Lind: Very definitely, in my experiences and those of all the people I have talked to. Absolutely. White: A second is a realization of the Earth’s place in the solar system, a physical experience of what I call the Copernican Perspective. A realization

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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that Copernicus was right, and we are a part of the solar system as a whole. A couple of people have told me that although they already knew that, they felt it very strongly. Lind: Yes, I would concur with that. White: And the third is a sense of the Earth’s place in the universe as a whole, a feeling of the vastness of the universe, how large it is and that the Earth is just a part of that. Do those three sound valid? Lind: Yes, they do: they sound valid. I would add one other, and I’m talking basically about my own experience, but I tend to think this might be more widespread: the almost overwhelming beauty, in an aesthetic sense, of the Earth. Intellectually, I knew what to expect. I have probably looked at as many pictures from space as anybody, except for two or three specialists here at the center, so I knew exactly what I was going to see. There was no intellectual preparation I hadn’t made. But there is no way you can be prepared for the emotional impact. I had been on orbit for 2 days. We had a laboratory mission, and we had all sorts of experiments that people had spent 10 years getting ready to fly. So we had a sense of responsibility, trying to get all those experiments started. I had been up on the flight deck at night, taking pictures of the aurora and other things. I had certainly looked down at the Earth, but I was busy, in a professional mode. It was the third day on orbit before I had a chance to take 10 minutes out of the flight plan and, just as a tourist, look down at the Earth. When I did, it was a moving enough experience that it brought tears to my eyes. It was on two different planes. One was pure aesthetic beauty. I paint, and I was estimating how many colors of blue there are just in the transition through the Earth’s atmosphere from the horizon to the incredible blackness of space. I can remember 20 very intense shades of blue. Then you look down at an archipelago with hundreds of shades of green and blue-green and yellow in the shoals and the atolls. That also brought tears to my eyes. I’ve seen a lot of sights in my life, but that was an incredible one. For me, it was a mixture of the spiritual element because I’m an active member of the Mormon Church and have a strong testimony of the existence of God. Looking down, I thought of half a dozen Scriptures that say, “If you’ve seen the heavens you’ve seen God moving in his majesty,” and “The heavens declare the glory of God.” To me this had, in the very narrow interpretation of religion, a very strong religious component to it, which added to the emotional impact of seeing the beauty of the Lord’s creations below me, and it’s very, very meaningful for me in a religious sense. But even without the religious sense, it would have been a very moving experience. I have heard other people comment on that, and I suspect that this may be more universal and widespread. White: Just hearing you talk about it gives me the desire to do it myself.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Lind: I highly recommend it. It’s the kind of thing no film system can ever record. The Dream Is Alive comes closer than any mechanical reproduction process I’ve ever seen. Maybe they get 50% of the way there, but that’s better than anything else. It’s like going to a live concert and then hearing a fairly good recording. The live concert has something that a good recording will never get. It was the sheer beauty of the scene, that I could see the Earth out there, this huge ball just rolling, rolling. Your sensation is always that you’re right side up and stationary. Intellectually, you know you’re moving and the Earth is basically stationary, but you get the other impression. You get the impression that you’re floating and the Earth is rolling. That’s a nice picture. White: Joe Allen mentioned that as you’re looking at the Earth you never see the same scene, because it’s constantly changing. Lind: That’s right. I remember one time I had just a couple of minutes and looked out when we were just passing the Iberian Peninsula. We were going essentially right up the English Channel, and Europe was cloud-free that day, which was very unusual. All the Low Countries and France were open. London was covered, but you could see the mouth of the Thames, and up through Jutland and across Scandinavia, it was all clear. I could see the town where my grandfather was born in Sweden, the Baltic States, and then Leningrad was cloud-covered, but Moscow was open. So we essentially went from Bordeaux, France, to Moscow in something like 6 minutes. And I thought, “Look at world history. I just passed over it.” The fact that you are scooting along, looking at whole different cultures within a few minutes is very impressive. White: In addition to the view, which is spatial, the change in time sense must be extraordinary. Lind: Yes. You decouple yourself totally from day and night. I’ve experienced half of that. I’ve been to Fairbanks, where you have almost total daylight or almost total darkness, and you tend to decouple from the sun. But when you’re around the whole world, you’re not in one place. Five minutes later, you’re going to be in a different continent. That kind of total decoupling from a local time didn’t seem strange at all. I don’t know whether as astronauts we do much practicing and rehearsing and simulating relative to that, but it was unlike the visual experience where I had been prepared intellectually but not prepared from the emotional side. It was exactly what I had expected, and it had no emotional impact. It was a very interesting scientific and intellectual experience, but it didn’t seem strange in any way. I was totally prepared for it. White: One other element of the experience is the weightlessness. How about that?

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Lind: Oh, that’s marvelous, sheer delight after the space adaptation syndrome. It’s a sort of Peter Pan mobility. That was absolutely delightful. White: The whole of the spaceflight experience is greater than the sum of the parts. What is most exciting about the whole thing? Lind: That is probably different for everybody. I’m a scientist and science is fun. It’s an intellectual game, like a treasure hunt that is all right for adults to play. The intellectual excitement was there for me, and it was what I had expected, what I’d experienced before in other kinds of sciences. But then you add just the sheer high adventure; there’s obviously inherent risk. There’s no fear, but it’s the respect for the situation, both ascent and reentry. That gives it an element of high adventure. Then there are all the other elements you talked about, the experience of weightlessness, and the overwhelming visual beauty. And the sense of significance, either because a lot of money goes into it or, in our case, hundreds of man-years of preparation for these experiments. Whole teams of people are going to spend the next 4 to 5 years analyzing the data that you take in a week. The purposefulness of what you’re doing adds an importance to it. Money notwithstanding, there’s an importance to what you’re doing. It’s like going to the circus and your oldest child’s first birthday and your first date, all the fun things wrapped into one. White: One other issue I’m interested in is the effect of all of this on society as a whole. What are your thoughts on that? Lind: I maintain a scientific research program with Western European collaborators, who pointed it out to me better than I have experienced it for myself. Back in the sixties, Americans didn’t think very much of themselves. It was the “ugly American” era, and we were burning down campuses, and Americans were lost and purposeless. I think the national pride in the space program uniquely countered that trend. Some of the Europeans showed me that their perception of Americans in that decade was strongly modulated by the space program. Without that, it was a pretty dismal decade. I could look around and see in society a sense of national pride. The Sputnik experience had been devastating for the national psyche. All sorts of things came out of that. The new math was a response to Sputnik, as were the successes of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs and the scientific programs that went with them. The space probe trips to the planets were significant and probably therapeutic as well. The other thing is the response to this idea that I call brotherhood, that people almost sense it. If they had never seen the pictures or heard people talk about it, they wouldn’t get it, but I think they almost feel that rather than hear it on an intellectual basis.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Think about the picture of the Earth coming up over the horizon of the moon, which I call the picture of the century. Every crew that went to the moon took that same picture. It is probably as moving as anything in reorienting people’s idea to the whole-world concept. I believe it was not coincidence that this generation began to think of the Earth in that way when they saw those first space pictures. We probably would have responded to the Ethiopian famine without space pictures, because we obviously responded to the Tokyo earthquake in the twenties. But the intensity and the personal involvement wouldn’t have been the same. We’ve removed the concept of exotic distant lands like Bali or Afghanistan or Tibet. Where I grew up, there were faraway places with strange-sounding names, but only Lowell Thomas got there. We’ve taken that away now, and you realize that Tibet is just around the corner. White: You waited a long time for a flight. I gather from what you’ve said that it was really worth it. Lind: Oh, yes. If I had been waiting in a vacuum, not doing anything, it would certainly not have been. Nothing that is 1 week long could be worth 19 years. But I was doing extremely interesting things. And I had a front-row seat for great history. SULTAN BIN SALMAN

AL-SAUD

STS-51-G

Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia flew on the Space Shuttle Discovery launched June 17, 1985, as a payload specialist. The occasion was the launch of a satellite for ARABSAT, a telecommunication consortium of Arab League countries. Prince Sultan, a member of the royal family, a pilot, and a television broadcaster, became the first Arab astronaut. The following excerpts are from Sultan’s interview with Bob MacDonald of Christian Science Monitor Broadcasting for the Conversations with the Christian Science Monitor program of September 9, 1985.

Sultan: I think the minute I saw the view for the first time was really one of the most memorable moments of my entire life. I just said, in Arabic, “Oh, God,” or something like “God is great,” when I saw the view. It’s beyond description. MacDonald: The experience of flying through space has really had an effect on a lot of our own astronauts here in America. They come back and their lives are changed by being up there. How has it changed your life? Sultan: I think it has changed my insight into life. I’ve got more appreciation for the world we live in. I happen to be a believer that we have

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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the best planet, so we really don’t have to go out and look for another one. I think God has given us so much to be thankful for, and we are wasting so much time trying to destroy it. The message that I came back with is that material things that used to interest me are of less interest to me right now, and I’m more of a person who wants to go out and do things and be involved rather than isolated. My experience was such a wonderful one, and I want to share it. Back home, we had 2 weeks’ worth of receptions that you would not believe, especially among kids and teenagers. Our reception was beyond description. They are all excited about it, and that was the main goal, and I’m glad that was accomplished. MacDonald: What do you think you mean to the people back home? Sultan: I think they look at me as a symbol of their country’s accomplishments. Saudi Arabia has worked very hard for the last 20 years to go somewhere and to develop itself. MacDonald: The reaction was strong, of course, in your own country. How about the other Arab countries? You were the first Muslim and the first Arab to become an astronaut. What was the reaction around the Arab League? Sultan: I can tell you the human reaction from individuals. I get a lot of letters—300, 400, 500 every day, which I look at myself and answer. Most of them are not from Saudi Arabia, but from other Middle Eastern countries—Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Syria—and everyone is excited about it. I’ve got invitations to visit many people’s homes, all over the Arab countries. MacDonald: You come from a tradition of great religious faith, and I was just wondering what it meant to you from that foundation, how did it change your understanding of God? Sultan: It really strengthens your convictions. To me, it’s an opportunity to prove that there is no conflict being a Muslim, or any other religion, and pursuing a scientific or space mission, which is almost at the peak of technological achievements in the 20th century. I did go up, I did practice my faith, the rituals, very simple things, whereby you resort to God and think about him. I did think about what the Koran, our book, my religion, has told me so many times, when I was looking at the Earth, the view. It is really the most incredible thing. I was asked by a Spanish magazine to come up with one word to describe what I have seen, and I said, “The word I come up with is that there are no words to describe it; it is beyond description.”

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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LOREN W. ACTON

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STS-51-F

Loren Acton, a professor of physics at Montana State UniversityBozeman, flew on the space shuttle in July 1985 as a payload specialist. His flight, scheduled for July 12, 1985, aborted on the pad 3 seconds before the scheduled liftoff. Ultimately launched on July 29, the space shuttle experienced a premature engine shutdown, resulting in an “abort-to-orbit,” which caused it to fly in a lower orbit than planned. At the time of this interview, Acton was employed by Lockheed. Since returning from his flight, Acton has been an active member of the Association of Space Explorers. My telephone interview with him took place July 15, 1986.

White: What was the most profound part of the experience for you? Acton: It was the obligation and responsibility to carry out my job in an error-free way and a feeling of enormous frustration and defeat when I made mistakes. I carried a burden of obligation, which was perhaps out of proportion, so what really affected me most was the work. We had an extremely busy mission. We worked around the clock, and there were a lot of experiments. My failure was that I let it get the best of me and was not willing to focus on the good stuff that was happening a lot of the time. I ended up the flight feeling totally defeated. My poor wife had to put up with me on the plane going back to Houston, and instead of talking about the wonders of the mission, all I could talk about was my mistakes. The healing process began when we landed in Houston, and there was an enormous crowd of astronomers out there feeling really good about how well things had gone and that began to raise my spirits. White: What would your comment be on the experience beyond the work? Acton: It’s a little difficult to separate. I’m a kind of a loving guy, and those sorts of feelings were amplified in connection with the whole experience. I loved my crewmates, I loved those people on the ground, and in a very emotional sort of way. For the whole week, it was difficult for me to say anything over the voice loop of a loving nature, or a word of thanks, without choking up. I could talk nuts and bolts pretty well, but when I started to thank one of the investigators or the ground controllers or the payload specialists for something, I would just choke up something fierce. But aside from that, with respect to the broader scope of a person’s feelings toward the Earth and toward the experience, frankly, I am not able to untangle those that were simply self-fulfilling prophecies. I was supposed to be amazed at the beauty and fragility and finiteness of the Earth. I went up expecting that experience, and I had it. Gordon Fullerton said on his first

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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flight that he was amazed at how thin the atmosphere was. I looked out the window and said, “By George, the atmosphere is really thin.” Maybe I would have done that anyway, but I was primed. I’m an astronomer, I understand that the Earth is not infinite, and I was impressed with the fact that it is very finite. The Earth is beautiful, and I like colors, so I loved the blue of the ocean and the white of the clouds and the red of the deserts and the green of the jungles. It was what I expected to be impressed with, and I was. Did it change me? Yes, because all at once it made these rather pedestrian realizations something that other people want to hear about. And I had enough sense to realize that this was going to be the case, that people were going to be a lot more willing to listen to what I had to say than they would have been if I hadn’t gone into space. I was going to be prepared to come back and say things that were constructive from my frame of reference. I would like to save the world, I think the world is pretty neat. I think we are on a dangerous course, that we have to evolve, to change, to solve problems differently than we used to. We’ve got to be prepared to be less insular. I was prepared to have an experience that made it possible for me to come back and contribute to this process. White: So this was a kind of consciousness you had before. Acton: I think so. White: It was a confirmation of what you felt, and even more than that, you realized that it would make your saying it more meaningful to others. Acton: Yes. I don’t think that being in space changed me significantly. I was already there, but what it did do was provide an opportunity that I feel an obligation to make use of, so I’ve spent a lot of postflight time honing up on the experiences I had in space so they sound really impressive, and I don’t think it’s dishonest, because they were impressive. But I wasn’t dramatically changed. White: Let’s move on to another aspect of your work, the Association of Space Explorers. You went to the first congress in Paris. How would you characterize that? Were the national barriers and divisions really less present? Acton: Well, my perception of what was happening there was that the political barriers were minimal, that folks were pretty much on an honest basis. The language barrier is really enormous. It’s awfully hard to sidle up to somebody and begin a trivial conversation. We had excellent interpreters, so if you wanted to talk about something substantial, you could get Natasha or one of the other interpreters over, and it would go fine, and we did that. But if you just wanted to develop a friendship, it was hard, even though there was no reluctance on anybody’s part to talk to anybody else. That’s why it’s important that these meetings be long. It was 5 days, and at the end of

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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5 days I had made friends with at least two or three people who spoke little, if any, English. Making friends resulted from working together on subcommittees, stuff that I really don’t give a hoot about, but simply doing it together caused us to learn to respect each other’s opinions. After we had done that, we began to share personal experiences. Quite a few of the cosmonauts speak a smattering of English, and some of them speak pretty good English. But the opportunity for the development of misunderstanding, if you’re communicating with someone who speaks your language poorly and you speak his not at all, is overwhelming. Time and again, I would start down some track, and I would see misunderstanding beginning to develop. If you didn’t have a good interpreter there to sort it out, you rapidly bogged down. But the political things were not allowed to interfere with our ability to communicate. I didn’t feel anybody had a hidden agenda at that meeting, and that was very refreshing. White: I’ve read the press release of the first congress, and I think I understand what the association is trying to get at, but could you say some more about what the goals are, how they’re evolving, and what the association ought to do? Acton: I wish I could in a lucid way. Those statements were agonized over by Schweickart and Leonov and the fellows to try to state worthy objectives that could be translated into both languages and mean the same thing. My agenda is satisfied by simply having the Association of Space Explorers exist, but we do need a program, something we can talk to people about. Of course, the objective of the use of space, access to space, development of space for the good of the Earth and the people who live on it is something I believe in. The Apollo-Soyuz test program was an example of doing an adventurous thing that made us both look good. But in terms of where we ought to go, I wish I had the wisdom to know. I feel like someone who has inherited an enormous bank account, and I am responsible for investing that wisely and making it grow and flourish. But I don’t know anything about investments, and nobody else does, either. So the risk of blowing the money is very real, and the other risk is if you don’t do anything, you blow it by definition, and it goes away. I feel inadequate to the job at hand, so we just do the next step, which is to try to broaden the participation of people who have flown on both sides. The next step is to produce a book that contains pictures of the Earth and quotes the constructive things that people who have seen the Earth have said about the Earth and the space experience. The next step is to manage to hold another congress and come out of it without having gotten into politics. We must at some point begin to be seen publicly throughout the world as an organization involved in worthy things.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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We must develop channels of communication to influential people throughout the world who are connected with the future of humankind in space, so that we can talk about it. White: Do you have a feeling for the possibilities in terms of the competition that’s going on between East and West on Earth? Acton: I don’t think anything is going to happen because of some automatic course of history. I think it will happen because of decisions people make. Right now, a lot of forces are driving us toward the ability to achieve a global compensation for our different political, social, and cultural systems. There are very big forces that drive us apart. On the other hand, people evolve. I use the example that there are other complex social systems, if you look at anthills and beehives. Collective endeavor lets them achieve marvelous things. But if you look at anthills and beehives from the time of Nebuchadnezzar, they look just like the ones we’ve got now. If you look at our particular beehive, the human animal has changed dramatically in attitude and capabilities over that same period of time. So we are capable of evolving, and thereby I find reason for hope. If you look at the Soviets now, they are not the same system that they were, by far, in the days of Stalin. The problems are big, and I don’t think that space represents anything particularly unique, except that it is the one area where we are both proud of ourselves. Maybe from that point of view it gives a bridge that is easier to cross than some of the other bridges. You’re not going to make much progress with somebody that already has a bit of an inferiority complex by addressing him in areas where he is sensitive. But if you can work with him in areas where he feels pretty good about himself, you’re going to have a lot better chance of establishing common ground that can let you talk about the more sensitive areas. I think space is an area where, despite the fact they didn’t go to the moon, the Soviets can feel proud of themselves. And despite the fact that our Challenger blew up, we can by and large feel proud of ourselves, and that helps. The space experience provides a starting point that is inspirational at the same time that it’s experiential. It’s something about which we can both write flowery words, but they are still meaningful sentiments: the beauty of the Earth, the fragility of the Earth, the world without boundaries. All these are things we can agree on and sound good about. The adventure, exploration, is meaningful to them and to us. There is a common ground of substance and significance that can be phrased in words that don’t sound political. So it represents a unique area of common interest that can catch the attention of the public.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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BONNIE J. DUNBAR

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STS-61-A, STS-32, STS-50, STS-71, STS-89

Bonnie Dunbar was a NASA astronaut for 18 years and flew on five space shuttle missions, including the largest crew ever flown at the time (eight on STS-61-A) and the first to dock with the Russian space station Mir (STS-71). This is a portion of my telephone interview conducted with her on September 19, 1997. (Author’s Note: I had the opportunity to meet Bonnie Dunbar in 1987 at a space development conference in Ohio and gave her one of the first copies of the first edition of The Overview Effect.)

White: When did you first think you might want to become an astronaut? Dunbar: I have wanted to be an astronaut since I was 9 or 10 years old. It started back in 1958 or 1959, when space exploration was just getting under way. I was living on a cattle ranch near Outlook, Washington, reading science fiction, and growing up with a sense of exploration as a natural thing. My parents had homesteaded in Washington State. My father was a firstgeneration child of immigrants who homesteaded in Oregon. My mother grew up as a sheep rancher in northern Montana. It just never occurred to me that space exploration was anything that different, and I followed my heart in becoming an astronaut. By the time I was 18, I knew I wanted to fly. I was watching the closing TV credits one night, and they were playing the national anthem with jets streaking across the sky, and I knew I wanted to do that. But I didn’t have the money at the time to learn how to fly. I applied to NASA at 18, and received a nice rejection letter from Personnel. So I applied to engineering school at the University of Washington. At that time, it cost you “credibility” to confide that you wanted to be an astronaut, except with one professor, Dr. Jim Muller. He was the department chairman for ceramic engineering, and he took me seriously. He had several research contracts with NASA and he made certain I could meet NASA people whenever they visited. From there on, it was a matter of circumstance and events. The astronaut program opened up in 1977 while I was a senior research engineer for Rockwell International Space Division. I applied, but I didn’t make it that time. However, I accepted a job as a flight controller for NASA (Skylab Guidance and Navigation), applied again in 1980, and was selected. I flew for the first time in 1985, just before the Challenger accident. White: What have your experiences in space meant to you?

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Dunbar: The fulfillment of a vision has been most important to me. I came from a family stressing issues like the environment, so seeing the Earth from orbit didn’t change that. My parents were the kind of people who did the unexpected, and they believed that their daughter had all doors open to her. So I had that vision of being part of a team flying in space, and it was fulfilled. I do wish I could go farther, but I may soon be past my flying age. Seeing the Earth from that perspective did reinforce my concept of a small fragile planet and a species needing to come to terms with itself. With successive flights, I have become more at home in space. I miss it. I miss looking down on the Earth and looking out into the universe. But we are not there for ourselves or for our own experiences. I became the eyes, ears, and hands for researchers and engineers around the world, and you can sense their gratitude for that when you are back on Earth. I like the strong sense of purpose and responsibility that comes with being an astronaut. White: So those are your reasons for flying. Dunbar: Yes, but in the end there is no rational reason for it. I am doing this because I am following my heart. I did not feel alien out there, I felt almost euphoric, and I adapted quickly to the environment with each successive flight. It’s an easy place to work, a place in which you don’t have to worry about being short, for example. The smaller you are, the better. White: I have often thought that “disabled people” would not be disabled there. Dunbar: Yes, in a future environment, when people can travel back and forth as “travelers,” it might be helpful. Right now, crew members still have to get through the preflight training in the 1-g environment of Earth. White: Have you seen any changes in the astronaut corps since women began entering the corps in larger numbers? Dunbar: I haven’t seen any changes in expectations or performance. Astronauts face a lot of problems in space, but I don’t think there is a female perspective on those problems. I solve them just like the guys, and it really isn’t a gender question. Team participation is the key. Being on a mission is like playing team sports or being part of an air crew. White: Do you have any plans for future flights? Would you like to go to Mars, for example? Dunbar: Well, I’m 48 now. Being a realist, I know that I may be too old for the Mars missions. But regardless of my own career, I believe that exploration of the universe by the human species is as inevitable as the fact that we exist. It’s something that has a value you can’t always quantify or measure. This is the essence of science: it is a matter of inquiry and also a matter of the heart. People spend their whole lives on one issue like space exploration because they just love what they’re doing.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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BILL NELSON

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STS-61-C

Former Congressman (now Senator) Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, represented the district in which the NASA Kennedy Space Center is located. He was chairman of a House committee that oversees NASA. Nelson flew aboard the shuttle in January 1986, the last successful flight before the Challenger accident. I interviewed Nelson by telephone on August 7, 1986, and in September 1986.

August 1986 White: I would like to talk about your feelings when you saw the Earth from orbit and what that led you to think about how you wanted to do things when you came back to Earth. Nelson: The Earth is an incredible sight. It’s primarily blue and white, blue from the oceans and white from the clouds, and it’s suspended in this black void of space that just goes on and on. On the night side of the Earth, that inky black is punctuated with brilliant stars, and it seems that you can see forever. I frequently recalled what King David had written thousands of years ago in Psalm 19: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” That order, that creation, was very apparent to me as I looked back on this beautiful planet that looked so fragile at the same time. I was so busy with my experiments during the work periods that the time I spent in front of the window had to be while everyone else was asleep, and I soaked in those views—and just floated there for revolution after revolution. All those views combined with a view that I saw on a pass on the night side of the Earth, coming up over northern Africa—out the window appeared this ribbon of lights with a crown jewel of lights and then a fan of lights. It suddenly occurred to me that I was looking at the entire Nile River, the crown jewel being Cairo, the fan being the delta as it flows into the Mediterranean. And in about 5 seconds, going eastward, there was the whole eastern Mediterranean—all of Israel and Syria and Jordan and Egypt. The irony of that view struck me, that it was so neat and so contained and so packaged in my window, when in reality it was anything but that 220 miles below. All of that led me to conclude—I can’t remember whether it was while I was in space or reflecting back after I returned—that if the superpower leaders could be given the opportunity to see the Earth from the perspective from which I saw it—perhaps at a summit meeting in space in the context of the next century—they might realize that we’re all in this with a common denominator. It would have a positive effect on their future decisions concerning war and peace.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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It is so beautiful, and yet it looks so fragile. White: I’ve also been interested in the summit. I talked about it with Joe Allen and some of the other astronauts. Is it a project that you’re actively pursuing, or is it more an idea that you are floating for people? Nelson: There is no way that you’re going to plan a summit today in space, but you can surface the idea and let people start thinking about it. It’s a natural for me to talk about this as a follow-up to our committee and the Apollo-Soyuz astronauts’ visit to Moscow for the 10th anniversary reunion of their link-up in space. We were there as the guests of the Soviet Academy of Sciences to talk about cooperation in space. White: It sounds as though the experience did have an impact on what you’ve done since you’ve been back. Nelson: It confirmed what I already knew and what I’d been working on, which is space as the unique environment in which adversaries can come together to cooperate. You hear so much about the opposite. You hear the SDI side, about using space for war. But the fact is that 11 years ago we used it for a giant symbolic act of peace, and it can be done, though we’ve had very little cooperation over the course of the last 5 to 6 years. We could have a continuation of exchanges at the working group level. The Soviets have a Mars project scheduled for 1988, and we are planning a Mars observer in 1990. We could exchange data on those before, during, and after the missions. We could plan the initial discussions of a joint unmanned Mars mission and look into the next century for the possibility of a joint manned mission. That would dramatically affect the politics of the globe. But that was not something that just happened to me in space. My notions about space being an environment of cooperation were confirmed by this extraordinary view, looking back at this planet. White: The trip probably makes your views more powerful to others, because when you speak, there’s a conviction in your voice, and one has to say, “This is a man who’s been there.” It makes a difference, I think. Nelson: It makes a tremendous difference, given that only 132 people, including 11 foreign nationals, have flown into space on American vehicles. It makes a difference substantively in that I can now relate what I’ve seen. It also makes a difference in the mind of the receiver of the information, knowing that you’ve been there. White: So it was really a confirmation experience that also gave some credibility and passion to what you had to say. I had the same feeling in talking to Senator Garn, who said that his beliefs were strongly reinforced. Do you and he communicate and work together? Nelson: Yes, very much. Because of the nature of this institution, the Senate and the House don’t get together that much. However, when we do, there’s a whole new dimension to our relationship with this shared

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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experience. Jake was very supportive in encouraging me to fly. So that relationship has built up, and not just since the flight. White: I presume that you would also think, as more people of all types fly, that this shift toward a new attitude toward space might develop. Nelson: Yes, but as a practical matter, that’s not going to happen for some time. When you talk about summits in space, you’re looking into the next century, into much more routine spaceflight. You’re not really talking about this generation of space vehicles. September 1986 White: In our previous interview, you were talking about how you had come to see space as an arena for peaceful cooperation and suggested ways in which supporting joint missions could lead to a change in political relationships on Earth. Nelson: I can see the potential for that change. I can’t say that we’ve actually seen any enormous and lasting change thus far. Adversaries are adversaries, and despite the good will generated by the Apollo-Soyuz mission, we went back into the war of words, a rejuvenation of the Cold War. However, it was obvious when we were in Moscow that the Soviets were extending every courtesy, and the hidden agenda was that they wanted to resume cooperative ventures in space. We talked at every level, all the way up to the president of the Soviet Union, Gromyko. That session with him was 2 1/2 hours long, eyeball to eyeball. He had a big delegation on his side of the table, and the members of Congress, plus our astronauts, and Dr. Tom Paine, the head of the National Commission on Space, were on our side. The important thing I suggested was that we get these working groups reestablished so this kind of exchange of information could start. I am told by NASA that some of that has been restarted. White: Is it accurate to say that there is no magic potion in space, hut that by working incrementally, you can move things more toward peace and away from conflict? Nelson: Yes. It’s also ironic, since so much is made of Star Wars and the militarization of space. That, of course, was the number one topic on the Russian agenda—since we were in Moscow a month before the summit—to talk about how bad SDI is, and so forth. It was always the secondary agenda that we would like to cooperate on ventures in space. So your characterization of that is correct. I think there’s probably a realization in the Soviet Union as there is in America that to go to Mars in a manned mission would be such an expensive task that shared resources would be very helpful. Of course, you can’t really start planning that until you do all the incremental steps, the sharing of these missions by the end of this decade, and

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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then the planning for an unmanned mission, where you could have two separate missions that taken together would be the combined mission, but no transfer of technology. For example, one nation could land on Mars, scoop up the samples, and bring them back to a predetermined position, where the other nation could land its spacecraft, receive the samples, and return to Earth. White: We seem to draw a lesson out of space missions, saying, “If we can send a man to the moon, why can’t we build better cities or feed the hungry?” If we do have a joint mission with the Soviets, the message might be, “If we can go to Mars together, why can’t we .”. You fill in the blanks. Nelson: You’re getting into a different realm of political thought that I, having been in space and looked back at the Earth, think could be very real. It’s a unique environment in which, if you put aside the politics of the moment and you don’t look for excuses not to cooperate in space, then you have a unique environment in which adversaries can cooperate. It’s an area of exploration that lends itself to joint participation for highly advanced societies. It’s not in anybody’s territory—not in the West, not in the Eastern bloc, not in the nonaligned nations. It’s in a common ground of space. White: The East, the West, the blocs, all those terms don’t make any sense when you’re in space, so it’s hard to maintain them when you’re not on the planet. Nelson: You’re not going to get leaders of nations going into space while it is so risky to fly. But once that risk comes down, it’s very likely to happen. I think the world would be better off for it, because the perspective of the leaders would change. White: You have no question that if any of the leaders go into orbit, they will definitely experience the unity of the planet? Nelson: That’s right. White: When you’re talking to your colleagues in Congress, do some of them say, “That’s all very nice, but we know that the Soviet Union’s goal is to dominate not only this planet, but space, and we have to be careful about them.” Nelson: Sure, and that commentary will continue. The Soviets have done a lot of things that lead people to be suspicious. On the other hand, they’re suspicious about us. We happen to think that truth and justice are usually on our side, so we have a few more suspicions of them. Of course, there are always going to be those considerations. When you have an adversary, that’s the nature of warfare/competition. White: How do you respond? Do you say, “I know that that’s so, but for common survival purposes, we have to find ways to work together”? Nelson: My response is that whether we like our adversary or not, the realities are that we have to try to seek accommodation and keep from blowing up the planet.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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White: What do you think of the scenario the National Commission on Space laid out? That is a fairly comprehensive vision of an American future in space that focuses on cooperation and a broadly based view of the future. Where do you see it in terms of its becoming an integral part of American space development? Or do you think it will become such? Nelson: I think it will because it traces the future of the next 50 years. That committee’s report could have been written in Moscow as well as in Washington; it could have been written 10 years ago or it could be written 10 years from now, and it would be essentially the same thing. White: Finally, if there were one key message you’d like to get across to people, what would it be? Nelson: That it’s very important for us to have a robust space program to complement the character of the American people as adventurers and explorers. If we are to fulfill our potential, we have to act on that characteristic. HELEN P. SHARMAN TM 11, TM 12

Helen Sharman entered a contest to fly to the Soviet Union’s Mir space station, and became the first British citizen in space and the first woman to travel to Mir. She spent 8 days in orbit in May 1991. The following is an edited transcript of a telephone interview that took place on January 18, 2013.

White: Was going into space a longtime dream, or were you just driving down the road, heard the ad for “Astronaut Wanted: No Experience Necessary,” and decided to try it? Sharman: I had never given it a second thought until I heard that advert because being in the U.K., it was not something that was on the agenda. There had been four military people training with NASA before the Challenger accident, but I did not want to be in the military. In my mind, space exploration was militarized and either American or Soviet. For me, being nonmilitary and a U.K. citizen, there just was not a possibility. So I decided to study sciences at university, not giving a thought to ever being an astronaut. White: So you heard the advertisement, and entered. I’m struck by the fact that you won out over 13,000 entrants. Was the selection process rigorous, did you have to prove you were the best person? Sharman: This was the first time that something like this had been open to the British public, so of course, there was going to be a large number of

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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people applying. It was not as though there was going to be another opportunity the following year. A lot of people responded with a phone call to obtain an application and in that phone call, they were asked about basic requirements, such as having a science and technology type of degree. Some were far too old or far too young and so on. Perhaps 13,000 responded, but they were not all serious applicants. So they received about 4000 to 5000 completed forms. White: Still, it is quite a number for you to have defeated, if we can call it that. Sharman: I supposed I was the right person at the right time, fulfilling the very specific criteria that were required. Of course, there were many people to choose from, and the Soviets could be very picky. White: Did the Soviets have the final decision? Sharman: Yes. They set out the criteria and then a British company was set up to manage the whole mission. That company then engaged people to conduct various tests, psychological and medical, including a more specific spaceflight medical. Then, all the results were gauged against criteria established by the Soviets. After that, there were four of us left and we went to Moscow for 2 weeks, where there were more tests done on us by the Soviets and then two people were chosen to do the training. At that point, it was supposed to be a joint British/Soviet decision as to who would fly, but I think it was the Soviets who decided in the end. White: You must have been thrilled when you were chosen. Sharman: Yes, I had always assumed it would be someone else, and it wasn’t a question of “I would fulfill my destiny if I really believed in it.” I never believed it, but I couldn’t not take the chance. I had nothing to lose apart from my time, and I suppose some damage to my ego if I failed, but I don’t have much of an ego, so that was fine. And I knew I had a chance to do something that could be absolutely amazing. And it turned out that it was, so I really just made good use of the opportunity. White: You spent quite a bit of time at Star City in the Soviet Union as well. How long were you there? Sharman: The training took 18 months, and we were not at Star City all the time, because there were times that the training took us outside, to the launch site or to the Black Sea to do sea training. But basically, we were at Star City with all of the cosmonauts and their families, the trainers, and the doctors. It is quite an interesting lifestyle. White: I’ve heard that the Soviet attitude toward the cosmonauts is somewhat different from the West. We still see the astronauts as heroic people, but it is a little bit more intense in Russia.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Sharman: I’m not sure it is now. They can walk the streets of Moscow and no one even notices them. But under the Soviet Union, they certainly were revered, because they didn’t have a religion, and they weren’t allowed to practice a religion. And so Gagarin, having died, became an icon, their idol, and spacefaring was the one thing they could say they were better than any other nation at doing. They were very proud of it, because they had gotten the first person in everything except the first person to go to the moon. So cosmonauts had special privileges. They were Heroes of the Soviet Union, and they had special flats and so on. White: So you flew to the Mir, which is no longer in orbit. What was the view of the Earth like from there? Did you have good viewing opportunities? Sharman: I would imagine it is very similar to the current International Space Station, though Mir was slightly smaller. There were two main modules in a kind of T-shape. There was an end of one module where they would begin their spacewalks that had had windows up, down, and to one side. Whichever way the space station was tilted, you were able to get a view of the Earth from at least one of those windows. We had one huge sapphire window in the floor of the main block of the habitation module. It was made of sapphire to get spectral images of the Earth and of the stars. Being made of sapphire, it was very expensive, and it wasn’t supposed to get pitted by space debris. There was a hatch outside that was supposed to remain closed unless you were going to use it, but occasionally we would treat ourselves and open the outside hatch, which would allow us to look out through that sapphire window. It was large enough for all five of us to gather there and just look out. It was lovely. White: This is something I’ve heard from other astronauts, which is that the entertainment of Earthgazing was a good part of what you did, and that people really did just enjoy looking out at the scenery. Was that true for you? Sharman: Yes, and nobody I had spoken with had ever gotten tired of looking out at the Earth. So when I arrived on Mir, there were two people there who had been there for 6 months, and still they enjoyed looking out. I think it’s because you are going around the Earth, and it is an alwayschanging view. It’s not like just gazing at a single view. People can only look at that for several minutes before they get bored. If the view is constantly changing, you can be there for many, many hours and enjoy that. The longer people are in space, the more they can recognize quickly different parts of the Earth, because you are not far away at 400 kilometers. You see large chunks of the Earth, but not whole continents. At some times, unless you are clear where you are when you look out over the Earth, it’s not obvious which parts of the Earth you are going over. I was

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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looking out once and Sergei was with me, and I said, “What are all those red rivers?” and he said, “Oh, yes, if there are red rivers, it must be Madagascar.” The other thing is that north is not always pointing up. If you get a map and look at it, north is always pointing away from you and south pointing toward your body. In orbit, you look out the window, and things have a different orientation. After a few days, you get used to seeing things without their being oriented in that way. If you show an astronaut photograph to someone who has not been in space, they tend to twist it around with north facing away from them. White: Did you have the experience that has been reported by others, of beginning to identify more with the planet, and less with parts of it? Sharman: Yes, I would say that reservedly, because when I was looking down on the Earth, it was less identifying with the geographical areas as it was identifying with the people who were there. So for me, while the image itself might be quite engaging, it was what it implied about the people who were on it that was the big thing I thought about. It made me realize after I came back to the Earth that what I had not thought about when I was looking out the window was jewelry, high-fi’s, carpets, cars, and stuff. What I had thought about was people. While I was in space, I had everything I needed. I had a safe place to be, it was warm and dry, and I had food and water. I had the clothes that I needed. They were practical, not elegant, but I didn’t care. I didn’t wear makeup, but I didn’t care. I realized after coming back that those things are so trivial, but because everyone on Earth talks about them, you get very quickly lured into that way of being, you are part of the advertising, the modern media and so you have the party jokes about adverts and so on. But in space, you are not part of that anymore. And what people miss is the news about what is going on, on Earth. They want communication, and they want to hear the radio, the news. At the end of the day, there wasn’t time left that we needed to fill up, and there weren’t family and friends to be with, so we would listen to the Moscow News, and that was our way of keeping in contact. It’s different now, when you have all the forms of media available. But we also had an amateur radio set, and that was a good way of making friends in different parts of the Earth. White: This is interesting, Helen. I have talked with astronauts about distance from the physical environment of the Earth, but I don’t know that anyone has talked about distance from the Earth’s social environment. Sharman: Nowadays, people are in orbit for longer times and there are a lot of people on the shuttle and the space station. With Mir, there were three of us in Soyuz for 2 days and five of us on Mir. I was only on Mir for 6 days, so I was 8 days in space altogether. Also, I had already been away from the U.K., being in Moscow for 18 months. I was used to being in a society with much less, without so many things on store shelves, so I believe that heightened my sense of social distance.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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White: One other astronaut did talk with me about the preparation for the flight being a part of the overall experience. Ron Garan told me he felt more isolated in the training for his flight than he did on the ISS, because he was working so hard and had so little time. When he got to the space station, there were many ways to stay in touch with his family, such as Skyping and social media. Sharman: Yes, when I flew in 1991, email was not widely used. In Moscow, you had to book an international telephone call. That was the environment back then, and it was quite different. The Soviet cosmonauts used amateur radio to make friends everywhere in the world. Having their families and friends coming into Mission Control was so important to them. They really looked forward to it, and one of the things I took with me was photographs and letters from their families. On Earth, you meet typically hundreds of people. You don’t actually speak with all of them, but you have a connection with this social world. If there are only a few of you out there in space, it is very noticeable. So you have time to look back on your life and reassess. To me, it was about realizing that “stuff” is not important. When I had all the basics, it was my friends and family, and it was people I thought of while in orbit, that were important. When you went over Germany, you thought of German friends, over Russia, it was Russian friends, and so on. White: Would you say the experience changed you, then, or confirmed existing beliefs? It sounds like there was a change in what’s important. Sharman: I had probably already gone down that line, being in a culture (Russian) very different from the one I had grown up in, during my training. I was already partway there, and space really confirmed things that I had learned. But it also gave me the opportunity to think about them, because although your time is very prescribed, there were still times when I was getting ready for bed, and I had a full window in my bedroom, and I would just look out, and it was a lovely time to just let the brain do what it wants. It wasn’t exactly meditating, but it was a “free-brain time,” and I could let my mind go over these ideas, especially when I was thinking about people, and it was a natural process. It was only afterward that you realize those things must have been very important to you. White: And what about weightlessness? How much do you think that played into your experience of seeing the Earth and everything else that was going on? Sharman: It was part of feeling different at the beginning, I suppose. But you very quickly get accustomed to it, and you forget what it was like to feel “weight.” It becomes normal, a part of you. Yet, I still felt very connected with the Earth because you are always maintaining what appears to be a similar distance from the Earth. It is like

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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being attached by a string and you are not moving away from it. So you are very close to the Earth and not very far away from anything at all. I didn’t feel like I was in outer space. White: You can see that the Earth is in space as well. Was that part of your experience, not just looking at the Earth, but seeing stars and other aspects of it, so that you could see the Earth as a planet in space? Sharman: Yes, I do remember seeing the Milky Way for the first time in space, and it is just thick with stars. If you go to Australia or certain parts of the U.S. where there is no light pollution, it is probably very similar. But there is no atmosphere to distort them, so you just see these constant white dots. Until your eyes become accustomed to what you are seeing, at first you just see black, and then, as you look, your eyes become accustomed to the darkness, and the more you look, the more stars there are, and they are just constantly coming, and you feel you would have to push your way through them. There is just a huge mass of stars out there. You relate to the idea that the universe is vast and it apparently goes on and on and on. It is not like the sky. You can almost imagine, “Yes, that’s the sky,” and you feel that there is a limit when you look at it from the Earth. The sky is several hundred kilometers high and you know that is where it is and that is where it ends. But once you are out of the atmosphere, there is no end, apparently; it appears to be endless. It brings out the idea that you are insignificant and that little Earth you left behind and are not looking at any more because you are looking out at this vast field of stars, is just puny and so trivial. If you were coming from another star system and blinked, you could so easily miss it and all the people on it, and all the trivial things that are going on. It really puts things into perspective. You realize that all the arguments and so on are really worthless, when you think about what is really important in life and what we really should be aiming for. White: One of the metaphors I have used is to say that we “are all astronauts,” because the Earth is like a spaceship moving through the universe. We are like the crew, but we don’t act like the crew. We don’t work together very well. Sharman: They say that, in space, you work together because you have to. On Earth, you can get by quite happily not only by not working together but also by working against one another. Astronauts are selected largely on their psychological profiles, and they look for people who are willing to lead when necessary, but more than happy to be led as well when appropriate. Astronauts tend to work together very cooperatively and it’s an impressive environment to be in. In the early days of spaceflight, when astronauts got a bit edgy with one another, mission control would give them something really “way out” to do, and they would have to pull together. It was a kind of “us

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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against them” mentality. The crew would suddenly get together and start collaborating and acting as one again. White: I know you have been an advocate for Britain being more involved in space exploration. My understanding is that the government is putting more effort into it now. Is that correct? Sharman: We have a U.K. space agency, but it is difficult to see how funds are allocated. Have they just moved funds around from other places or have they created new funds? Britain is funding unmanned space probes and to a certain extent some microgravity research. It is mostly Earth observation and satellites. I hope there is an intention to support human spaceflight and more basic science research in space, but given the economic climate, I think the government would be embarrassed to promote that at the moment. I fully believe that in a couple of years, when we come out of this economic hole, and just before the general election, it would be a fabulous time to announce that Britain was going to become a part of the rest of the world and support human spaceflight—something we haven’t done since 1986, when NASA told our astronauts to go home until they had sorted out all the problems with the shuttle. The U.K. people don’t understand this. I flew, and four other Britons have flown with NASA, but they flew as Americans because they had dual citizenship. It’s great that they come over and give talks, but I think the impression is given that the U.K. is funding human spaceflight. I very much would like that to happen, and the general feeling is that we should be doing this. White: One final question: It is possible that Sir Richard Branson, who is a British citizen, might have the first successful commercial flight. Have you been following Virgin Galactic and would you be interested in going on one of their flights? Sharman: I have a friend who has booked a flight on Virgin Galactic and I am supportive of him. I am not particularly interested for myself because you don’t get into orbit. It’s basically up and back and you only have a few minutes of weightlessness. I would rather make an orbit of Earth if I went back. It is great to see the world from outside the atmosphere, but I would like to wait and go on something where I could spend a longer time and do some experimental work. White: I think you are going to be able to do that because the commercial space industry is moving in that direction. Sharman: Are you signed up to go on any of these? White: No, I don’t have the money, but I definitely want to go and I am laying plans to do so. My ultimate dream would be for the Overview Institute to have a presence in orbit. Like any institute that is studying something, you would like to have the experience you are studying. I have spent so much

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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time talking and thinking about this experience, it seems I should try to have it myself. Sharman: It would be interesting to see what you would write afterwards. White: I would want to be sure I would do it in a way that I could share it widely with people. I wouldn’t want to do it just for myself. TAMARA E. (“TAMMY”) JERNIGAN STS-40, STS-52, STS-67, STS-80, STS-96

Tamara (“Tammy”) Jernigan flew on the space shuttle five times, logging 1277 hours in space, including the record-breaking STS-80 mission of just under 424 hours. The following is a portion of a telephone interview with her conducted October 2, 1997.

White: When did you decide to become an astronaut? Jernigan: There were two defining moments for me. The first came when I was 10 years old, and the United States sent people to the moon. I recall looking at the moon and realizing that at that same time, humans were looking back at me. The second came when I was a sophomore at Stanford. I was a physics major, and I thought that someday I might have a shot at flying in space. During the 1978 selection, NASA had chosen astronauts with career paths similar to mine. White: What did you find to be unique about your trips into space? Jernigan: There were different things on different missions. One thing strikes you is that “We are all in this together.” There are no boundaries drawn on the planet, really, and it looks fragile when seen from orbit. You get the sense that we do need to be good stewards of the planet and of each other. There’s nothing like going to orbit and seeing our planet for yourself. You can’t imagine how spectacular it will be. For example, I saw fires in the oil fields of Kuwait during the Gulf War. It’s one thing to hear about those kinds of events on the news and quite another to see them from orbit. White: Some researchers at Harvard are investigating astronauts’ dreams. Did you have different dreams while you were in orbit? Jernigan: No, but I did have a number of floating dreams when I came back to Earth. White: Did anything about the experience surprise you? Jernigan: I was surprised by how quickly you adjust to 0 g. For me, that seemed normal, and coming back to Earth seemed odd, which doesn’t make sense, considering that I was born on Earth and had spent 30 years here. The body is a great adaptor and adjusts quickly and easily to weightlessness. It’s a delightful environment to work in, and my single

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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greatest disappointment when I returned was that I could no longer float. I understand that someone is now going to commercialize parabolic flights so that people can experience brief periods of weightlessness. Whoever participates will have a ball. White: If you take an evolutionary perspective, this adaptation might be explained by the idea that our most remote ancestors lived in the sea, which is essentially a weightless environment, and that some of those animals came onto land and adapted to it, leading to evolution of the human species. And now, perhaps the next step in evolution is Homo spaciens, an organism that once again flourishes in a weightless environment. Jernigan: Yes, but I don’t believe that. White: Why not? Jernigan: Because I’m a Christian and I believe we were created, not that we evolved. White: I share the same faith, and I’m interested in what you are saying, because I have wondered whether the Christian paradigm and the space exploration paradigm can be reconciled. Jernigan: I think it can. There is nothing in the Bible that says, for example, that we are the only intelligent inhabitants in the universe. It’s likely that there are others out there, and I think we are all God’s children. I see Christ coming to all the inhabitants of the universe. Even if you fully understand how the universe works, you get back to the question of the initial condition. Someone had to set the universe in motion in the first place. White: What do you want to do in the future? [Author’s note: this interview was conducted before her final flight, STS-96.] Jernigan: I want to fly a fifth time. If possible, I want to participate in the international space station. After five flights, I’ll have to give my future more thought. Space is such a fascinating frontier that I think I will always be involved in it, even if I’m not in the astronaut corps. White: Do you see a time when that frontier is opened up for everyone? Jernigan: I think that is decades away because of the cost. White: Do you have any final comments? Jernigan: Just that it has been a great privilege to fly on the shuttle and to see the Earth from such a unique vantage point. JANICE E. VOSS STS-57, STS-63, STS-83, STS-94, STS-99

A NASA astronaut since 1990, Janice Voss made five flights on the space shuttle as a mission specialist or payload commander. Highlights of her time in space include the first flight of the Spacelab module, a White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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rendezvous with the Russian space station Mir, and the flight of the Microgravity Science Laboratory (MSL-1). The following is a portion of my telephone conversation with her on September 9, 1997.

White: When did you first become aware of your interest in being an astronaut? Voss: It was in the sixth grade. I picked up my first science fiction book, A Wrinkle in Time. It was an award winner that is still used in schools and libraries. I read it and got hooked on the whole concept of space exploration. I also got into reading science fiction. This was back in 1966, and from then on, I never talked about anything other than being an astronaut. Science fiction is also an interest that has continued. I have taken science fiction books along on my flights and read them while doing exercise there. White: Who is your favorite writer? Voss: Isaac Asimov is my overall favorite. I also recommend James Hogan’s Code of the Life Maker. Arthur C. Clarke has great science in his books; Hogan has great people. White: Could you talk a bit about your experience in space? Voss: Well, I am not a sightseer by nature, as my parents will tell you. We would go on trips and I wouldn’t look at the sights; I would read a book. Scenery is something I don’t think about very much. But I do have my memories of my shuttle flights. On the first flight, I was on the middeck for the launch and I was involved in getting into orbit. On my first trip to the flight deck after the launch, we were just coming over Kennedy Space Center on the first rev [revolution]. I looked down and I could see the landing facility and the launch pads. I knew my family and friends were still sitting in the traffic down there on the causeway. That really brought home to me what an amazing achievement launching into space is. White: What did you take along to read while you were in orbit? Voss: I took Asimov’s Foundation. Except when I was exercising, I really didn’t have time until flight day 9 to read it. I curled up and read Asimov by Earthlight. It was an amazing feeling, floating there and reading science fiction in orbit. Since it was really science fiction that got me started, it was just a great experience. White: How did going into space affect your thinking overall? Voss: Well, a lot of astronauts talk about having a spiritual experience in space. I had a solid religious grounding, and it validated that. It also gave a different perspective on my connections with people. I was raised as a Unitarian, which says to me that it is most important to believe what you believe and to respect what others believe. In my case, the concept of God is

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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beyond my ability to make any sense of it. For example, if God created the world, how did God get there to create it? So I’m happy to stay at a very simple level with all of this. I do my best to look at the world as it is and to be an optimist. I think that if I behave in a moral fashion, He or She won’t care too much if I believe in Him or Her. White: Women have only been going into space in significant numbers in the past 10 years or so. Did you detect any gender differences in the experience of spaceflight? Voss: There were no differences that I could detect. There are a lot of individual variations, but nothing in terms of gender. I have flown with women on all my flights so far, and that has been helpful to me, but overall I think the problems and challenges of the experience are similar for men and for women. White: Do you have any particular plans for your future as an astronaut? Voss: I hope to fly again. My second flight was a 16-day mission in 1994, and we had Vladimir Titov on board. He had been in space for almost a year, and he was helping us to take good pictures of the Earth. I realized that he knew what all the pictures were. He knows the Earth so well that he can tell you where anything is on the planet. I also realized that this could happen with me. Our ground track was pretty constant, and during my exercises, I could look down, and say, “Hmm, this looks like Iran,” and it was! So I’d like to go on the space station and spend enough time there to be able to recognize any place on Earth. MARY ELLEN WEBER STS-70, STS-101

Mary Ellen Weber is an accomplished skydiver and pilot who reported to Johnson Space Center for astronaut training in 1992. On her first spaceflight aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1995, she was primarily responsible for deployment of a NASA communications satellite and operation of several biotechnology experiments. Her second flight was on the third shuttle mission devoted to International Space Station construction. This is a portion of a telephone interview conducted September 23, 1997.

White: When did you first become aware that you wanted to be an astronaut?

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Weber: It happened when I was in graduate school, about the time of STS26, the return to space after the Challenger accident. I was involved in science and aviation, and I loved both flying and skydiving. White: Was it the flight of STS-26 itself? Weber: No, it wasn’t the flight alone. It was just something about that time that brought me to wanting to be an astronaut. It was an “emerging.” White: Can you tell me about your first flight on the shuttle? Weber: Yes, it was on STS-70 in July 1995. We deployed a communications satellite, and I helped deploy it and also did experiments in the shuttle middeck. I was also a contingency spacewalk crewmember. White: What was the experience like for you? Weber: I recall spending a lot of time preparing for the flight. When it came to the actual experience, I had already heard a lot about it, so it was not shocking to me. It was great, but not a shock. I will say that it’s fun to be in 0 g. White: What was the most interesting thing to you about the view of the Earth from space? Weber: I especially remember looking at the Earth at night. The upper atmosphere glows, and it’s something that’s hard to capture in pictures. I also saw a number of shooting stars. Every night before going to bed, I would look at the Earth, and once I saw 12 shooting stars on a single night pass. I thought of that recently, when some scientists detailed a hypothesis that Earth’s water had come into being because of hundreds of thousands of ice particles, perhaps from passing comets, crashing into the atmosphere. The lightning storms at night are also striking. You can see how huge these networks are, as you watch a chain of storms stretched over thousands of miles. Also, as you go from night to day, or day to night, you have a realization of what is really happening in a physical sense. When you are on the Earth, you don’t think of the distinction between day and night as resulting from a light—the sun—shining on the Earth. White: Do skydiving and space exploration have common elements? Weber: No, they are entirely different. In skydiving, you feel much more like you are flying than in free fall, where you are actually floating in a microgravity environment. One interesting thing is that when I came back to Earth, for the first two nights, as I would lie in bed, I would feel the sensations of floating in the microgravity field. But it’s hard to reexperience that feeling now. But the overriding experience for me of going into space is the amount of power and effort needed to get there. White: Do you have any plans for the future?

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Weber: I don’t have any particular plans for the future at this time. I will say that everyone in NASA is thinking about going to Mars. You can feel an upswelling of support for this from the American public, and I think it excites just about everybody. Going to Mars is such an enormously different problem from going to the moon. But you have to walk before you can run, and that’s how the Apollo program fits into long-term exploration plans. MICHAEL LOPEZ-ALEGRIA STS-73, STS-92, STS-113, ISS EXPEDITION 14

Michael Lopez-Alegria is a former naval aviator and test pilot who joined NASA as an astronaut in 1992. He is a veteran of three space shuttle flights and served as commander of the International Space Station on Expedition 14 from September 18, 2006, to April 21, 2007. His first flight was aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1995. He has performed the second-most spacewalks (EVAs) at 10, and was on EVAs for a total of 67 hours and 40 minutes. Now retired from NASA, he is president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

White: What caused you to decide you wanted to be an astronaut? When did the space bug bite you? I think your experience is somewhat different because you were born in Spain. Lopez-Alegria: I was born in Spain, but we moved to this country when I was young so I grew up as a multicultural, but pretty much an American kid. We moved to California, and my mother worked for NASA in an outreachrelated capacity. She used to bring home these publications called “NASA Facts.” I remember reading about Tiros, one of the very early satellites, and then the manned programs. So when I was a kid, around age 9, I used to play rocket ship in the closet with my neighbor, and we had the whole cockpit drawn on the inside of the closet door, and I was pretty much into it. The dream kind of came and went, and I wasn’t really focused on it during junior high or high school, or even at the Naval Academy. For a while, I thought I might want to be a submariner. That was until I spent some time on a submarine and quickly found that wasn’t for me. I ended up in aviation, but chose not to be a fighter pilot; I figured you are going to spend an hour a day on average in the cockpit and the other 23 hours dealing with the consequences of that one hour (i.e., on a ship at sea somewhere). It was really only after learning how to fly and then becoming interested in becoming a test pilot that I read an article about Naval Test Pilot School, and there was a sidebar about all these graduates who had gone on to become

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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astronauts—like John Glenn, Wally Schirra, John Young, and so on. That really rekindled the fire at the age of 25. For me, it was always a technical fascination because I got there through the appeal of being a test pilot, which combines aviation with a very technical approach, so that was my angle. White: You have a lot of missions and a lot of EVAs. You know of my interest in seeing the Earth from orbit while weightless and all that goes with it, so could you describe the difference between seeing the Earth from the space station and seeing it on an EVA? Lopez-Alegria: I would characterize the experience as multifaceted because on one level, after all the training in Earth observation, in which we look at different features of topography and geology from space, and trying to find things scientists would like to have pictures of from orbit, what the Earth looks like from space is a lot like what you would expect it to look like. You are 200 miles away and looking at it, and it’s just physics. But the fact that you are there is kind of mind-boggling. You feel that you need to pinch yourself, and I think it is just because it is such a rare experience, and no degree of education or preparation can get you ready for what it really looks like or feels like. Then, I think that that same sort of characteristic is true when you scale that from being inside the space shuttle or space station to being outside because you feel that it is just that much more special and that much more magnificent to be kind of a human satellite holding on with one hand and you are looking through a helmet, which is effectively not like wearing anything at all because you don’t see any aspect of the helmet, and you are just looking through the thin faceplate. It feels like you are just there, and you don’t have a window or a hatch or anything like that. White: What about looking at the Earth in space, that is to say, seeing the rest of the universe out there? I suspect that David Beaver has talked with you about seeing stars. What was it like to apprehend that you are really out there with the whole universe? Lopez-Alegria: I don’t think you have a sense that you are any closer to the universe, because obviously you really are not. Being on the surface versus being in low Earth orbit is really an insignificant difference. You are aware of the incredible aspect of the sky in terms of how much light there is at night, when you are looking away from the Earth and seeing the starfield. In the absence of the light we have on Earth, it is so much more apparent how many more stars there are. We know the numbers—there are 100 billion galaxies and 100 billion stars in our galaxy, and you feel like you can see all of them. It is really striking. There is some good imagery on the Web of the starfield at night. When I think about it in the purest sense, I’m not sure it is terribly different from being in the desert at night. It’s the same stars, right? It is a question of

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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how much of the image is being attenuated by the atmosphere. If you were in a place of low humidity like the Atacama Desert, it might be similar. Again, though, not many people have had that experience, either. White: You were on more EVAs than most people. Do you think it had an effect on your overall experience? Did it become increasingly familiar to be doing something that is quite out of the ordinary? Lopez-Alegria: If you are talking about the difference between 5 and 10, it’s not that big a deal. If you talking about the difference between zero and one, it’s huge. The shape of the curve is asymptotic, and at some point, maybe four, five, or six, I can’t say it gets comfortable, but it gets familiar. And that is probably accurate. I definitely felt very familiar with what to expect, was not surprised by things, the more EVAs I did. I wouldn’t count the two I did in the Russian suit in the same way. That was a different experience. But being out there and having the Earth go by at 5 miles a second in your peripheral vision is the same, no matter what. There is something new every time, and your mind assimilates the changes, and the next time you are definitely better prepared. I think the effect diminishes each time, with the biggest difference being between zero and one. White: Many of the astronauts I have interviewed have said that after a few days in the space environment, they felt very comfortable there and hated to leave when the time came to go home. Was that true for you? Lopez-Alegria: I will tell you that I never “looked at my watch” while I was there, as in “When am I going to get out of here?” I kind of expected that I would, because 7 months is a long time to be on the ISS. All of my shuttle missions were an average of 2 weeks long, and I think of myself more as a sprinter rather than as a distance guy. I was a little wary of what the effect might be, and when I got there, the most pleasant surprise of all was that I was in no hurry to come home. I think it has a lot to do with doing meaningful work, being part of a team, having easy access to communications with my family, seeing the Earth. I think all of those things are going to be in question when we start going to places like Mars and look back and can’t even tell which object is Earth against the starfield. You can’t have a real-time conversation with somebody, and you won’t be able to get much scientific equipment there, so I don’t know how much meaningful work you can do, and those are all very serious psychological issues we will have to face. But in low Earth orbit, I found it eminently doable. White: Being part of a team is very important, in that you are part of something larger than yourself. All of us have experienced the pleasure of being part of a team, whether a work team or a sports team. Those of you on the ISS had to be a team, because you couldn’t get angry and go home.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Lopez-Alegria: The more important team there was the team on the ground, like the flight director and the payloads officer who helped you get an experiment done on time. That was a big deal. There is a bit of a joke that with the shuttle, we would arrive on the checkout building where we would get suited up, and out to the pad in this big Airstream trailer and the vehicle would stop at a certain point and the Chief of the Astronaut Office would get off and this is where the road turned. In one direction was the launch pad and the other direction was the shuttle landing facility. Traditionally, that guy would go fly a weather reconnaissance flight, but before he got off, he would gather us together and say, “I want to invite you to join me in the Astronaut’s Prayer,” which was, “Please, God, don’t let me screw this up.” It was very much about succeeding and helping a team succeed, more than whether you are going to do an experiment well or survive the whole journey. White: Going back to the view of the Earth, people have described it in different ways. Some mentioned that there were no borders or boundaries, others talked about how the Earth looked fragile. Was there anything about seeing the home planet that stands out? Lopez-Alegria: I always marveled at the reality of seeing everything you have seen your whole life as a map, seeing it “live.” That, to me, was very impactful. All the places, all the people, all the experiences you ever had, are right there. When I think of someone in Moscow, or Madrid, I think of horizons, and they are far away, but in orbit you don’t have that feeling because it is right there. If you aren’t looking at it now, you will be in 20 minutes. It also struck me that the clouds, which we always look up to see, were plastered down to the surface. We were only 240 miles up, but the clouds are more like 5 from the surface, and seeing them all squashed down against the Earth is something I wasn’t expecting. You also see the meteorites burning up in the atmosphere and they are below you, as are the thunderstorms. That is spectacular. White: Weightlessness seems to be an important part of the experience, because you are seeing things you don’t ordinarily see, but you are also in a different physiological situation than any of us are when we are on Earth. Lopez-Alegria: Yes, I agree, and that may be an even bigger kind of impact. You are so used to being in a gravity field that it is hard to be out of it. You are moving around, bouncing off things, experiencing action–reaction, and with something as simple as typing on a laptop, the pressure you are putting on the keyboard is enough to push you away from the keyboard, so you have to anchor yourself to do it. There are a lot of indicators as to what’s up and what’s down on Earth, both visual and vestibular, but when you are up there, there is only the visual. If you are in a confined workspace and your field of view is limited because

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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you are close to something, working on a panel or something like that, there might be four surfaces, two are ostensibly walls, one is the ceiling, one is the floor, but when you get close to it, it is very common to be working on the ceiling or floor for a long enough time, you forget that it is the ceiling or floor, and when you pull away from it, you are expecting it to be a wall, and when you realize what it is, there is this curious gyro-caging effect, which is almost enjoyable. It is fascinating. The first time I sensed this was on my first shuttle mission. We had a laboratory module in the payload bay, connected to the middeck with a long tunnel about 2 1/2 feet in diameter. We did not have solar arrays; we had fuel cells, and the more electricity you used, the faster you use up the propellants, so we would turn the lights off in the tunnel to conserve energy and it would be fairly dark in there. As you pulled yourself along through this tunnel, you might exit the tunnel in a different orientation than you had entered it, without knowing it. We would fly with the payload bay pointing toward the Earth, so you go belly down in the shuttle and you might turn 90 degrees left or right, and you wouldn’t realize that until you exited and when you came out, you would have to figure out which way is up. Things snap into place right away, though. It is a really curious feeling. White: I want to ask you about how the advent of commercial spaceflight and having more people have experiences like yours, might affect them and life on Earth. Lopez-Alegria: It is extremely hard to describe quantitatively the change in people before and after spaceflight. However, I think it is safe to say it is in some way a positive change. I mean positive in terms of greater understanding, appreciation, and acknowledgment of a more outwardlooking viewpoint. Rather than being self-centered and worried about your own personal issues, you think more about others and loftier, ideal things. Those who go will not have as much time to spend there as we did, but I still think it is going to be positive. I can’t help but think that all of that cumulatively, as they expose the population to those things, there is going to be a shift. Whether you call it benevolence, open-mindedness, or awareness, there is going to be something positive about it. White: That’s really good to hear. That’s the hope that the Overview Institute has, and the reason we are promoting the experience is not just for people to have a good time, but we are operating from the belief that cumulatively, it will make the world a better place. Lopez-Alegria: I believe that. White: How long do you think it might take before we have had, say, 20,000 or 30,000 people have this experience, or whatever number you might want to choose?

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Lopez-Alegria: That is a super-hard question. I think that after the first 2 to 3 years, we will be flying in the high hundreds of people a year. I don’t know the shape of that curve. I think it will be fairly steep at first, and I can see it taking off, because the concept is proven, the technology is there, and the price will come down; all of that creates a virtuous cycle. It is really risky to try to predict. But I would say in the first 10 years of commercial operations, we will see more than 1000 and fewer than 10,000. White: That’s a good guess. When I was flying cross-country recently, I was thinking about these issues and as I looked at all the hundreds of people in the airport, I thought, “Gosh, a hundred years ago, the people flying airplanes were like today’s astronauts, and now look at all the people who are flying.” Lopez-Alegria: That is very true, and I have a graph of passengers flying in airplanes per year as a function of time starting in 1925, and there are millions of people flying annually today, and if you had talked about that a hundred years ago, it would have been laughable. We are talking millions of people, not 10,000, so I could be lowballing the number who will be flying on commercial spaceflights. White: I hope your other prediction will come true, which is that it will be positive. Lopez-Alegria: I think that’s an easier prediction to make. AL SACCO JR. STS-73

Al Sacco Jr. is Dean of the Edward E. Whitacre College of Engineering at Texas Tech University. Flying in space was a lifelong dream for him, and he applied several times for the astronaut corps before being accepted. He flew on the second U.S. Microgravity lab mission on the Space Shuttle Columbia in October 1996. The following is a portion of my interview with him on August 14, 1997, in his offices at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, where he taught at the time.

White: When did you first become aware of your interest in spaceflight? Sacco: It was in the early 1960s. I was excited about the Mercury flights, and Gemini, and Apollo. As an adult, I applied to the astronaut corps as soon as I could. Eventually, I was accepted, but it took 12 years. Initially, I was selected as a backup and worked as a science coordinator on the ground for the first mission, called USML-1 [U.S. Microgravity Laboratory 1]. At first, I was very disappointed at not being selected to fly on the first mission, but I

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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decided to get as much out of the opportunity as I could. Then I was selected for the second flight [USML-2]. White: Did you become a full member of the astronaut corps, or were you a payload specialist? Sacco: I was a payload specialist on a flight commanded by Ken Bowersox. Kathy Thornton, who is now at the University of Virginia, was the science commander. But the distinction you’re making doesn’t hold today. There is, in fact, a better approach to the payload specialist position now, in that you are considered to be a full member of the corps, and the barriers between payload specialists and other crew members have been broken down. White: It took a long time for you to be selected to fly. How did you stay motivated? Sacco: Yes, it took 12 years, but it wasn’t hard to stay motivated. No one becomes an astronaut as a career. Instead, you have a career, and then to become an astronaut, you need to be both qualified and lucky. During the time when I was applying for the corps, I was also doing research and teaching. Eventually, I got my chance, and I was able to fly experiments on the shuttle, and the astronauts became my friends and colleagues. White: How do you explain your interest in spaceflight to others? Sacco: People ask why you would risk your life to fly in space, and I tell them it’s in response to a dream and a vision. Once you get into space, I tell them about something I call “The Astronaut’s Secret.” It’s a realization all of the astronauts have, which is that we are a member of the whole human family. It goes beyond even being a citizen of the Earth; you are really a citizen of the universe. When you are in orbit, you ask yourself, “Why do people have the differences they have down on Earth?” You see that the Earth is just a small part of a large universe, and you have a feeling about it that is hard to describe. For me, being in orbit was very comforting. In some ways, I was more comfortable in space than on Earth, and I hated to leave that environment. That is another part of the astronaut’s secret. White: When I interviewed Senator Jake Garn for this book, he talked about floating and looking down at the Earth and playing some classical music, and he said that while he would be sad if he didn’t make it back because he would miss his family, he was also perfectly happy and at peace at that moment, and if they didn’t make it back, that would be all right. Sacco: Yes, I did that as well, though I was listening to Dan Fogelberg. I sometimes would think about the fact that there was a quarter of an inch of material between me and oblivion, and then I might have 30 seconds of anxiety, but for the most part, I was just totally at peace.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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You know, I talk with kids about risk and reward in this regard and how important it is to have a dream or a vision in your life. I say to them, “If I gave you $100 to walk across a narrow balance beam, would you try it?” and they usually say, “No,” but then if I say, “How about $10 million?” the answer is “Yeah!” It’s like Martin Luther King, Jr. and his speech, “I Have a Dream.” You have to have a dream and a vision for life to have meaning. My desire to fly in space is part of my desire to be part of the future of mankind. White: Could you talk about your experience of seeing the Earth from space? Sacco: My main thought is of how awesome it was. As a scientist, I just didn’t expect it. There’s a film called The Dream Is Alive that captures about one-millionth of the true feeling. I was just awestruck at the view and surprised at how clear it was. I could see Logan Airport [Boston], for example. And the ocean is just radiant; it takes your breath away to see it. On the dark side of the Earth, I would darken the flight deck, and you can just look out into the universe, or you can look back at the Earth and see the lightning storms flashing here and there in the clouds. You can also see the bright lights of the cities; I remember we passed over Beijing, and I could see Tiananmen Square. Kathy and Ken really forced me to spend time looking out, and I’m glad they did. White: What was it like doing science in space? Sacco: Doing science in space is harder than it looks. You have a lot of practical issues that have to be resolved when you are working in a 0-g environment. But the results were amazing, and we are still analyzing them and finding things that were not predicted. When you are on the leading edge of a field like that, you really can understand the insights of people like Einstein. White: What is your religious background and how did the experience affect your religious beliefs? Sacco: I’m Roman Catholic, and I don’t think the experience changed any of my fundamental beliefs. As I said, it reinforced my sense of the oneness of humanity and the universe. I think it also gave me a deeper understanding of the overall unity between humans and nature. We talked about this while we were in orbit, and I think everyone who goes into space feels it. I just can’t conceive of anyone who would not say it was awesome. White: What do you see as the future of human exploration of the universe? Sacco: I am reminded often of a quote by Socrates, to the effect that “Man must go high above the atmosphere to see himself as he truly is.” In the

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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future, I think we will increasingly see ourselves as part of a great continuum. We will have a much larger perspective and will see ourselves as part of something bigger than humanity and as part of the whole universe.

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SUSAN L. STILL-KILRAIN STS-83, STS-94

Susan Still-Kilrain was a naval aviator and the space shuttle pilot on two missions, one of which (STS-83) was cut short after a few days in orbit because of an equipment malfunction. The entire crew and payload (Microgravity Science Laboratory, or MSL-1) was reflown on STS-94. The following is a portion of a telephone interview conducted with her September 22, 1997.

White: When did you first become interested in being an astronaut? Still: It was not an “oh, wow” thing that I had as a child. I remember Apollo, but that did not translate into wanting to be an astronaut. Wanting to be an astronaut was a natural progression from wanting to be a pilot. As I worked on being a pilot, I found myself always looking to the next challenge. Just being a private pilot was not enough for me. I think military flying would have been enough of a challenge, but after college, I looked into becoming an astronaut, and that became my goal. White: You attended the Walnut Hill School (in Natick, Massachusetts), which is known more for its capabilities in the arts than producing astronauts. How did that come about? Still: I was pretty competitive in gymnastics, which is what first attracted me to Walnut Hill. The school was very good in biology and math, and I arranged to go to another school for physics. Also, Walnut Hill had a special program that allowed you to take time off in your senior year. I went home in the spring of 1979 and got my pilot’s license at the age of 17. It took me 30 days to do it. White: You must be a “natural.” Still: I guess it is possible to be a natural at flying. But I think I was able to do it quickly because I enjoyed it so much. The first 10–20 hours of learning to fly are challenging, and there is something in me that wants a challenge. White: Were you the shuttle pilot on your missions? Still: I had the designation of pilot, but actually the commander, who is also a pilot, really does the flying. The commander of a shuttle mission is always someone who has flown on the shuttle previously as a pilot. He or she does the landing, while the ascent to orbit is controlled by computers. When we land, the commander takes over once the shuttle goes subsonic. The pilot

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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lowers the landing gear and calls out landing speed, and really functions as the co-pilot. When the shuttle is moving around in orbit, either the commander or pilot will handle that, but if there is a rendezvous of any kind, the commander is in charge. White: Can you describe the experience? Still: I flew a Spacelab mission, so I had a lot of science duties in orbit, and I also had a lot of maintenance tasks. But one of my jobs was an Earth observation program that required taking quite a few pictures. I think the view of the Earth that I got from that work stands out as a highlight of the mission for me. I don’t think I ever got tired of looking out of the window, and it’s a scene you really can’t describe. It’s true that there are no country boundaries, but you can see changes because of different approaches to agricultural land. I particularly enjoyed the variety of colors. And as often as we orbited the Earth, we would keep looking out whenever we could. White: How did you like weightlessness? Still: It’s fun, but it’s hard to sleep in 0 g. I was glad to get home, because it was nice to be able just to set a cup of coffee on a table and have it stay there. Some things are just harder to do in that environment, and I looked forward to coming home and sleeping in my own bed and taking a hot shower. White: Do you think men and women experience spaceflight differently? Still: I don’t think there are any real differences there. People do have differing experiences, but it can’t be explained by gender. Take the experience of seeing the Earth from orbit. People react differently, but not because of gender. Some people, for example, don’t spend all their free time looking out the window, because doing science in space is the driver for them. But for me, I would just have to be on the flight deck for ascent and descent. White: Has there been any change in your philosophy of life since your missions? Still: No, I don’t think so. I have always been in tune with environmental issues, for example, and those feelings were reinforced rather than changed. For example, when you are on orbit and you see all the agricultural development going on in the rain forests of Brazil, with fires burning and trees slashed, it’s pretty devastating. It reminds me of how the land in Mississippi looks when you are flying over it in a plane. The two landscapes of Mississippi and Brazil look almost the same now. White: As I recall, you took a special memento into orbit with you. Still: Yes, an artist in Boston sculpted a talisman for the Walnut Hill School. I took it with me and then returned it to the school. I spoke there on alumni weekend, and I think the students really enjoyed it. I tried to tell them that they could do both liberal arts and the sciences and encouraged them to pursue their dreams.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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White: What do you plan to do in the future? Still: When you have had a goal of becoming an astronaut and flying in space for so long, you have to ask “Now what?” when the goal has been reached. Some can just move on and say, “Goal accomplished,” but for others it’s more difficult. It’s also important to realize that when you are an astronaut, you spend most of your time training, between missions. Right now, I am training to be a capcom for ascent and re-entries, so that’s a new challenge for me. I do hope to fly on another mission as well. White: Do you have any advice for young people interested in space exploration, based on your own experiences? Still: Yes, you should do what you love to do, rather than trying to do whatever will help you become an astronaut. Then you need to convince the managers of the space program that your talent is needed there. It would be a shame for someone to become an aerospace engineer because they thought it would get them into the astronaut corps and hate the work. I have enjoyed every step of the way in my education and career, and I would have been happy, even if I had not been selected to be an astronaut. SANDRA H. (“SANDY”) MAGNUS STS-112, ISS EXPEDITION 18, STS-135

Sandy Magnus became an astronaut in 1996 and made her first flight on the Space Shuttle Atlantis in October 2002. She spent 4 1/2 months on the International Space Station in 2008/2009 as a member of Expedition 18, and flew STS-135, the final shuttle flight, in July 2011, again aboard Atlantis. At the time of this interview, she was executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the publisher of this book. The following interview was conducted with her on July 22, 2013.

White: Could you talk about what influenced you to become an astronaut? Magnus: The great science fiction writers, like Asimov, the Dune books, and similar works, played a significant role. The Foundation books really stick in my mind. In fact, I read so many of them that it’s hard to remember all of them. Of course, Star Wars came out and Star Trek was always in the background. I think all of those influenced me at some level, but in large part, it was my natural curiosity that drove me. I wanted to know how the world works. I worked at McDonald’s in high school, and I remember after work, we would be sitting in the parking lot looking up at the night sky. You look at the sky and see all the stars there and you try to wrap your mind around what you

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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are really looking at. You are looking at all these stars that are sending light our way that left billions and billions of years ago. You try to grasp how really big it is out there, how incredibly infinitesimal we are in the scope of the universe, and you try to conceptualize infinity, and it is just the way I think. I mean, “Wow, I have got to go see that.” White: The word I’m hearing is “curiosity” as underpinning your drive to become an astronaut. Of course, there is no greater adventure than leaving the planet and trying to understand what is out there. Magnus: What happens with a lot of people is that we put limits on ourselves. As I was growing up, I wondered, “Why should I get to go and do this, some little girl from a small town in the middle of the country? That’s the kind of thing that happens to other people.” It is very easy to put limits on what you perceive you can do, and when I talk with young women in particular, I try to address that. I tell them, “Go for it and see what happens. Don’t limit yourself because you think you can’t do something or you don’t have the special skills and it is too remote for you to accomplish.” I believe that a lot of people put invisible barriers around themselves that ought not to be there. White: In a way, it is symbolic of the whole human species. One of the reasons I am an advocate of space exploration is wanting people to see the great adventure we have before us if we will only take it up. People as a whole put limits on what humanity can do. Magnus: I try to spread that message as much as I can. It’s really important to share my experiences and give others my perspective about how I thought at their age. What they are feeling is normal, but they should just ignore it. It’s easy to fall into a trap if you don’t know it is there. White: My focus in this work is what it is like to see the Earth from space and in space. Could you talk about what you have retained from looking at the planet, what stands out for you as central to that whole experience? Magnus: Mainly, I would say that there is a difference between intellectual knowledge and experience-based knowledge. You know it is hot outside when you hear it is 110 degrees, but you don’t really know it’s hot outside until you walk out the door and you get blasted with a wall of heat hitting you in the face. It is not just an intellectual fact anymore; it is experience that you have connected with that piece of data. So there are these different levels of understanding. For those of us who have been able to see our planet from space, and had that kind of experience, you take a bunch of intellectual knowledge—that the planet is 25,000 miles around and the oxygen is already significantly depleted at 29,000 feet up from the surface—these facts that all of us learn in our textbooks have been transformed for those of us who have traveled above the planet and experienced it. So our knowledge of it is different.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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For example, all of us understand what gravity is, but I would argue strongly that you have no idea what gravity is until you have left it, come back, and experienced that horrible force trying to push you into the ground. It is a completely different kind of knowledge. When you go above the planet, what you see is a system that is highly connected and interwoven. You don’t see the tree outside your window, or intellectually think about China on the other side of the world. When you see a tree or know that there is the Pacific Ocean on the other side of California, you don’t see that they are connected at all. They are two separate bits of information that your brain is processing, but when you see it all together from orbit, you see it as a system; this fundamentally changes the way you look at the planet. It is all connected, it is all interdependent. You look out the window, and in my case, I saw the thinness of the atmosphere, and it really hit home, and I thought, “Wow, this is a fragile ball of life that we are living on.” It’s hard for you to appreciate that until you are outside it. I think what you are writing about here is really the transformation of the intellectual knowledge that we all have as human beings into an experiential set of knowledge that space exploration can give, and it just changes those facts a little bit. As I said, it’s like the difference between understanding that it is 110 degrees outside and being in a 110-degree environment. It’s the same piece of data, but it is understood a lot differently. White: That is a concise way of putting it. The Overview Institute is looking at this issue in depth, and we concluded that the best way to describe the Overview Effect is to call it a cognitive shift. I think that is what you are saying, if I understand you correctly. Magnus: I think that’s right; I agree, and it’s true about anything. This just happens to be about spaceflight. You can have that shift any time you take a piece of intellectual data and you experience it, then you see it a lot differently. White: Another thing that has come up in a lot of my discussions with astronauts are words like “awe” and “beauty.” Is there any particular word that you would use to describe your emotional response to the planet from that vantage point? Magnus: I would say the planet looks warm and welcoming. It looks like a place where you would want to go. So much out there is dark. The sun comes up over the horizon and the light from the sun is just stark. We have this nice yellow glow as it is filtered through the atmosphere, but when you see it from orbit, it is very stark. So it is very bright and there are not a lot of warm feelings. Space has a harsh overtone to it, and you look down at Earth, it is warm and inviting, and it’s friendly looking. At the same time, it looks fragile, but welcoming.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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White: It is like Ron Garan’s term, “the fragile oasis.” Magnus: He came up with a very good phrase, because it does look like that. White: I have also asked people if they were able to see stars. In most of the pictures you see from space, you don’t see stars. You talked earlier about feeling infinitesimal; did you have the feeling when you were seeing the planet in space, as well as from space? Magnus: Oh, yeah. When you are on the night side of the planet, and the moon is not visible, if you go to some of the windows, you can look out into the night sky, which is more populated because there is no distortion from the atmosphere. It is really beautiful, and you can see the Milky Way quite clearly. It amazes me how crowded it looks out there. We can’t even see it with the naked eye. When you are in orbit, space seems big and small all at the same time. You look out and see all of that stuff out there, so it seems crowded but it isn’t, because of the distances. So it is a paradox and an interesting contradiction. White: I am drawn back to your comment about looking at the night sky when you were working at McDonald’s. Was this different? Magnus: No, you see more in orbit, but infinity squared is still infinity. I sat there looking out the window of the station and I tried to have that experience I had had as a teenager, where you just try to imagine the vastness and the size of the universe. But it is just too mind-blowing to realize that the light you are looking at has traveled for millions and billions of years. There is a book that puts the entire history of the Earth into the perspective of one year, and human beings show up at 15 minutes to midnight on December 31. It really puts it into perspective and you put that into the context of the universe, and you figure that Earth is just a small speck on a timeline. So you get stuck either way. On the space station, we are only a couple of hundred miles from the surface of the planet, so I don’t think that is far enough away for a paradigm shift with respect to intellectual versus experiential knowledge in comprehending the size of the universe. White: So you did have that shift looking down at the planet, but not looking out. Magnus: I think we have a ways to go for that to happen. White: One of the questions I have asked every astronaut is this: to what extent do you think weightlessness is an important part of this whole experience? You did mention not understanding gravity until you come back, but what about when you are there? Magnus: First, you realize how adaptable we are as human beings. After you are up there for a few days, you feel you have been there forever. You have to live your life differently, but you fall into a “new norm.” More interesting is our understanding of gravity. Why do different masses exert a

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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force on one another? You ask why does the Earth exert a force on me, and you realize what a struggle it is to move around in it. You realize how much energy it takes to live on this planet. The planet is exerting that subtle but pervasive force on you every day. We have adapted into it, we grew up in it, and we consider it normal to have gravity. My response is, “No, it’s not, because I have been to a place where there is no gravity.” It is a norm; it’s not the norm. To me, that was the most interesting perception shift that I had. You look forward to seeing the Earth from space, you expect the Earth to look spectacular, and you expect that to be a different kind of experience. But because you have lived in gravity all your life, it’s just there. So that was really surprising to me, and it was like, “Wow, this is weird.” White: One of the people I interviewed for the first edition of the book was Peter Diamandis. He was a cofounder of the International Space University, among other things. At the time of the interview, he was an MD/PhD student at Harvard, and he got me to start thinking about speciation, and the biological changes that might come when people spend most, or all, of their time in 0 g. Astronauts today exercise all the time so they can come back to Earth and a 1-g environment. What if people didn’t come back? Magnus: And didn’t exercise either? White: Yes. Magnus: Well, I think your legs would become much less useful. That would be a definite result. When I was there, the only things my legs did was hold me in place when I was working. I stretched every single day and I could tell that my muscles were getting tight. When you think about people who don’t use their muscles over long periods of time, I think our legs would become pretty useless in microgravity. Also, at one point, I took some water and it formed a kind of glove over my hand just to show what liquids do in zero gravity. If you take that phenomenon and extrapolate it to the fact that human beings are 80 percent water, you ask yourself what is happening to the cells of your body and other processes over extended periods of time. I think there are some interesting questions you can ask about how a person would develop if they were in 0 g for years and years. White: Most of the astronauts I have talked with enjoyed 0 g, and Jeff Hoffman actually said it was addictive. When we think about larger numbers of people living off the planet, you can certainly imagine people wanting to stay longer and longer in 0 g. A more common example is how much people enjoy swimming, partly because they have a sense of freedom. Magnus: Yes, and I don’t see it as any different from people deciding to live, say, in the Arctic Circle or at the equator. We are a really adaptive species, and we will adapt to wherever we choose to live, at the Arctic Circle,

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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or 0 g, or 1/6 g. It is just another environment for us to adapt into. How much it changes us remains to be seen. People who live up on the Tibetan plateau have physiological changes that allow them to live in an oxygen-thin environment. People who live in the Sahara are better at retaining water. We will adapt, but the environments on the Earth have not had the stepfunction change that you might see in a settlement on Mars, or if you hang out on the space station for a couple of decades. I don’t think your speculation is far out at all; it seems like a normal progression of the species. White: Coming back closer to our current time, I would like to talk about “the Overview and the Effect.” In other words, you have the experience, and vicariously, other people have the experience, and then there is an effect. Could you talk about the interpretation you came away with from seeing the Earth as a whole system? As an example, a number of astronauts have said, “I realized that we are all in this together, and we have to start working together.” One of them said it is as if we are all on this little lifeboat in a very large and hostile ocean. Magnus: My experience would confirm that. When you go and you see the planet as a system and you realize it’s all we’ve got, and it’s all connected, your natural conclusion is “all of the above.” You can’t just trash a quarter of the planet because you are actually trashing the whole planet. Everything you do affects everything else, so not having a coherent way of tackling these problems that span the whole globe doesn’t make any sense. The astronauts are very consistent about this one insight, but we are not a critical mass of people who have had that experience. So we might speculate what is going to happen with these people who are doing suborbital flights. I think they have several years’ worth of people who have paid to take those flights, and I wonder if that is going to be enough of a paradigm shift for them that they “get it” in the same way. Then one wonders if based on the passenger lists of those who are going whether that will reach into the community and we will start to see the critical mass that is needed. White: I hope to interview some of those people. I am planning to interview Sir Richard Branson for this book, so I will be able to ask him what he thinks will happen. Magnus: To this point, we have only had about 540 people who have had this experience. Some are more communicative about it than others, so you might have 250 people who are able to really talk about this, out of the population of the planet, which is 7 billion. And we have limited resources to communicate the message. But some of the people like Richard Branson or Leonardo DeCaprio, that will be different. If Branson flies a couple of thousand people per year, we might reach a point where there will be a kind of wave of consciousness about these ideas over the next 5 years or so. That will be interesting to see.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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White: It is an interesting experiment, that’s for sure. I think we can say that the number of people who have flown so far has strengthened the environmental movement. I’m curious, since you have had the experience of both space station and shuttle, how much you think people can get out of a suborbital hop. Magnus: I think it will be enlightening. You will get a view of the horizon, even though it won’t be the same as the view from the station, but it will be pretty spectacular, and it will be enough to create a shift briefly. What happens will also say a lot about them as a person. We were out there longer, and they will have to be much more open to the experience if they are only there for 5 minutes. I think it will make an impression. White: The other thing is to look at how the experience is shared. If Leonardo DeCaprio or Angelina Jolie go on these flights, that is going to be a much more attention-grabbing report than one from anyone else. Magnus: They have a bigger reach than we do. The people going on Virgin Galactic flights are going to have resources to spread the word. White: That leads to another question. We like to think about how the view of the Earth unifies us, but I am interested in whether you have detected among astronauts any differences in the experience according to gender, nationality, or other aspect of people’s background. Magnus: I really can’t say that I have heard any contrary opinions. Some people are more eloquent, enthusiastic, or energetic about their expression of their opinions, but I think everybody shares the same opinion that this is one planet, one system, there are no country lines embedded in indelible ink on the surface, and we are all in this together. I don’t think I have ever heard anyone express a contrary opinion. Some people are not as moved as others, so there are different levels of engagement. White: That’s a pretty important statement, because on the surface of the planet, we are extremely divided by race, ethnicity, country, and gender. It would be difficult to think of an experience on the Earth that would have that overall unifying impact. Magnus: From there, what you see is the planet, and that is a unifying thing; that is what you have in common. On the planet, you might not have anything in common. You might live in the mountains or on the seashore and have a completely different lifestyle. These artificial divides that we devise on the surface are huge because that is the scale we are dealing with. It is kind of like a fractal system. If you are in a forest, you might be differentiating between the pine trees, the maple trees, and the oak trees, but if you see it from an airplane looking down at the forest, you just see trees. If you are in space, you just see the planet. It really is a fractal system, though I had not thought of it that way before. You take the resolution up a notch and your perception changes. When I look

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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down from orbit, I don’t see pine trees, oak trees, or even a forest, I see a planet. Wherever you live, you are a member of the planet. White: The Overview Effect experience really is contingent on where you are in space, and that is why the space program is so important in bringing us this new experience. And even if you have had the experience of the unity of it all, when you return to the surface, you may have that memory, but now you are seeing all the diversity. That may be what you are saying with your use of the term “fractal.” Magnus: Yeah, it is. And you do see the diversity, but you don’t take it as seriously as you did before because you know it is just a layer of the onion and you have been up another layer of the onion. White: So the experience is a filter when you are back on the surface. Magnus: Of course, because it has changed your perception. It’s the same thing with the gravity; I perceive it differently now, and I don’t lose that other perception, because it is an experience-based knowledge now. I can choose to ignore it but I can’t get rid of it. It is not disconnected from me now; it is all connected. White: I would like to work more on the experience of astronauts coming back to the Earth and having that filter. Of course, it is a common thing, that your past experience affects your current and future encounters, but what happens with astronauts has to be unique. Magnus: Yes, I remember after my first mission, my parents were taking me out to eat in Cocoa Beach, and they were driving me to the restaurant. I looked around and said to myself, “Wow, it’s really crowded and noisy down here.” You look at the planet when you are in orbit and you don’t see all that at the different level of resolution. It is a beautiful, quiet, calm planet. When you come back, it is the whole thing in reverse. White: Did the experience affect what you decided to do after leaving NASA? Was that part of what led you to AIAA? Magnus: It’s hard to say. I wanted to do something that helps people. You want to go out and crusade for the planet at some level. White: Is it part of your awareness that you have had the experience and by being the head of the AIAA, you are also the publisher of The Overview Effect? Does that fit in with your desire to share the experience? Magnus: I’m pleased that the AIAA publishes books about the aerospace industry, whether it is technical or something like The Overview Effect because the industry brings a lot to the forefront for the country, whether it is technological spinoffs, economic gain, or experiences like the Overview Effect. So I am very pleased to be a part of that. On a personal note, I do think it is important to share these experiences as much as possible. Those of us who have been privileged to have these experiences are required to do so and need to do so.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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That is part of the importance of having humans in the loop on space exploration, because we come back and share the experiences and we get people excited and inspire them to go out and do even better things, further changing perceptions about where we are in the universe. We are at an interesting place. There was a time when it was thought that the Earth was the center of the universe, and calculations showed that it wasn’t, and that really disrupted the whole perception of the world then. Now we are living in a time when people are eager for more information of this kind. It is not threatening and people are open to it. We are living in an exploration-oriented era. People want to know what is around the next corner, and being able to facilitate that is a great thing. White: Is there anything else you would like to add? Magnus: I think we have covered the important issues about the perception of the planet. I would just add that humans are incredibly adaptable, and wherever we send people, they’ll be fine. We will adapt and we will thrive, because that’s what we do as a species. JOHN B. HERRINGTON STS-113

John Herrington is the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to go into outer space. A member of the Chickasaw Nation, he flew on STS-113 in 2002 and would have commanded an expedition to the International Space Station, but was medically disqualified. Since his retirement, he has been active in a number of areas, including Native American education. The following interview was conducted by phone on July 29, 2013.

White: I’m interested in why people want to be astronauts, and I know that you had a little cardboard spacecraft when you were a child, in which you simulated being an astronaut. I’m just wondering when that started and why you were so enthralled with being in space? Herrington: Back in the 1960s, we were going into space and to the moon, and it was a remarkable time in our history when the reality of spaceflight was right there in front of me as a kid. I jumped on that bandwagon. Beyond the fascination that we had for space, people were actually doing it, and it was real. They were risking their lives for it, and that captured my imagination. So the idea of being an astronaut appealed to me and that’s where the “box spaceship” came from.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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White: I was out in the front yard, trying to make rockets, scaring my parents. Herrington: We used to fire them off, too. We would go out and put beetles in the payload, and they would come back and stagger around after the flight. It was fun and a fascinating thing to do. White: You didn’t take a conventional path to becoming an astronaut. You did construction work for a while. When you were doing that kind of work and not going to college, did you still dream of going to the stars? Herrington: No, I was working for a surveying company because I was kicked out of college. I wasn’t motivated my first year; I thought about being a forest ranger and working outside. Being outdoors has always been my passion, and my interest in the outdoors took me to rock climbing. I didn’t study very hard, and I didn’t pass my tests, so I was suspended. During that time off from school, I was offered a job as a rock climber working for a survey crew. That led me into the practical applications of math. I saw people using math in their everyday work and that fascinated me. My boss convinced me that if I wanted to make something of myself, I had to go back to school, and that led me into engineering and mathematics, which I excelled at when I got back into school, because now I had a passion and motivation to do it. White: That’s a great story, and I guess all of us have stories of people who intervened in our lives in a similar way. Herrington: That’s why I’m involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education for Native American students. There are people out there who want to make a difference in your life, if you want to pick up on it. No one is going to give it to you on a platter; you have to work hard for it. White: So you became a naval aviator and then an astronaut. What was your experience of seeing the Earth from orbit? Herrington: (Chuckling) All the pictures I had seen, going back to the ‘60s, were static, but space isn’t static, and it is certainly an emotional experience. What struck me about it first was how enormous it was. Because of my fascination with the outdoors, when I had a free moment in orbit I would take the time looking at places I had been, backpacking and hiking, or places I had flown in the Navy. It was something that was constantly in front of me that just captured my imagination. That was really awe-inspiring. You are still close to the Earth, but you are as far away as you have ever been. I focused on the places I had been because I knew those places emotionally, and now looking at them from a distance and seeing the entire area where I had been, in a glance, was remarkable. I remember one time I was on the exercise cycle on the flight deck of the shuttle, and we were crossing over Sydney, Australia, and I was looking out the windows at the

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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fires, and then we crossed the Pacific Ocean in about 20 minutes. Then we went over Los Angeles, and were about to go over Colorado. I wanted to get a picture, so I went over to the window and got out the camera, and in that short period of time, I was already over southern Colorado in the Four Corners area, and we were coming over the Sangreto de Cristos, and I was taking a picture of that and the Arkansas River. I remember the shadows that were cast all the way out to the Wet Mountains, and that just fascinated me. What was significant about that to me was that it made me feel really insignificant, really small in relation to what I was looking at. White: Astronauts have also talked about not only seeing the Earth from space but also in space and being impressed by that. Did that also impress you? Herrington: In the shuttle, no, because I was looking through three panes of glass, but on spacewalks, yes. You have this ear-to-ear view of what is in front of you, and I remember taking the time to look. Jerry Ross told me, “Stop what you’re doing at some point in time and sear the image into your memory, because you will have that for the rest of your life.” So, I was out on the end of the Space Station on the P1 Truss, and I had to do some work over the side of the truss. When I climbed over, I remember looking at the horizon of the Earth and the vastness of space, and thinking, “There is nothing between me and whatever else is out there.” (laughs) It was the first time in my life that I had that feeling of absolute, total solitude, looking out there and going, “What’s out there?” And that was the “Oh, gee-whiz” moment of my spacewalk where there was nothing between me and whatever exists in the universe. It was a fleeting moment, because I had work to do, but I made a point of taking the time to savor the moment as this was the edge of my “ultimate cliff”; as a rock-climber, it was my “ultimate cliff.” White: There must be some analogies with rock-climbing because you are getting a bigger picture in both cases. Herrington: I think there’s a direct correlation between rock-climbing and spacewalking. You have a rope, you have a tether, you have to know where you are going. You always have to be mindful of where your tether is and be sure you don’t get tangled up in it. And it’s gorgeous up there. So there is a direct correlation. So I think that was the “ultimate cliff,” because you are falling, but you are not. You can let go, but you won’t go anywhere. Of course, if you are rock-climbing and let go, gravity does its thing. White: On a different topic, I have had some experience with indigenous peoples and their worldview, which focuses on the interconnectedness of everything on the planet. I know you are a member of the Chickasaw tribe, and I wonder if that informed your experience in any way.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Herrington: I think it did, from the perspective that I have a deep appreciation for the world around me. I like being in places where others have not been, or very few others have been. I love being outdoors, because it makes me feel special, an integral part of my surroundings. When I am in a wonderful place where I feel comfortable, I sense my connection to my Chickasaw heritage, my heritage as Native American. It is an innate characteristic that I think native people have. My appreciation of looking back at our planet from a macro view makes me appreciate even more being on this planet and being a part of what I can see from afar, and the intimate involvement in it. I can see it from space, and I can really appreciate being on it. It’s like going to the Grand Canyon for the first time. You are on the edge of it, and you go, “Oh my God, this is beautiful.” It is just an overwhelming sensation of awe and inspiration. There is an appreciation from being up and looking down on it, but also an even deeper appreciation from having seen it from afar and then being down inside it. I like to think there are a few astronauts who have that connection from having a worldview, a macro-view, down to a view that appreciates the sights, the sounds, and the smells, and textures you can’t get from space. White: It seems that Western society, having gotten away from the outdoors and our connection with Mother Earth, over the past few centuries, had to use the space program to reconnect. I don’t think anyone saw it as a reason for the space program, but it is an outcome. Herrington: Looking out into space was the goal, but looking back has been the most dramatic part of it. I think we have been as surprised about how much it has meant to look back at the Earth, as it has to look out into space. I have flown in space, I have ridden a bike across the country, I have backpacked across much of the West, I have lived underwater for 10 days, and I have seen the Earth from many perspectives. Space is perhaps the macro-view, being on the surface is the mini-view, and underwater is the micro-view, where you see some of the world’s tiniest creatures. Being under the ocean is a whole different world that you can appreciate, but you can’t actually see that from space. I have been fortunate to do all of those things. White: I have to ask you a question that was submitted by my granddaughter. We went to Plimoth Plantation near Plymouth, Massachusetts, where they have a re-creation of a Wampanoag Village. One of the interpreters told us about the Wampanoag creation stories, and he said they were remarkably accurate in describing what the Earth actually looks like when seen from afar. For example, these stories describe North America as looking like a great turtle, and there have been times when it has looked like that. Does the Chickasaw Nation have any stories of that kind?

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Herrington: Well, one of our stories is a migration legend, how we got to the Southeast and the story is of a long migration over many years. They followed a “sacred pole.” They would put it in the ground every night and then they would make decisions the next day on which way to go based on how it was leaning. Generally, it is a story of migration from the West to the East. Now, the Choctaw [a neighboring tribe closely aligned with the Chickasaw] say they came out of the Earth, out of a mound in that area. I have heard different stories from other tribes, and I had always heard that the Black Hills in South Dakota were “the heart.” And when you look at that area from orbit, that is exactly what it looks like! I took a picture of it, and it doesn’t look like a Valentine heart, it looks like a real heart. White: Really? Herrington: Yeah. If you do a search online in “Astronaut Photographs from Space” and look up STS-113, and you put in “Black Hills,” it will pop up, and you will go “Oh, my goodness, it looks like a heart.” From space, that is what you see. White: My granddaughter says that the native peoples had an Overview of the Earth without going into space. It also fits in with what a lot of astronauts have told me, which is that for the first time, they viewed the Earth as a living thing. Herrington: Oh, without a doubt, you can. I don’t know how you can fail to see it that way. You have to have an appreciation and respect for what it is, and how it came to be. Whatever your religious belief, you have to have awe for this remarkable jewel we get to live on. That makes you appreciate that you are a part of this incredible planet. You are only a part of it, though, and once you get back, you live with that knowledge. It’s all about respect for the place where you live. White: If you had to choose one word or a short sentence to describe your experience in orbit, what would it be? Herrington: One adjective really can’t describe the experience. The impression? I would say it was “awesome,” “fascinating,” and “emotional.” But to put it all into one word, you can’t do it. It’s like the analogy to the Grand Canyon, but multiply that a hundredfold. I can pick out little things and talk about those, but to wrap it all up and put it in one little package, I can’t do it. White: What about weightlessness as a component of the experience? Herrington: Well, the first thing I did after main engine cutoff was to let go of my ascent checklist and let it just hover there. That was an “Oh, gee whiz” moment, like “This is real, it’s not magic, it’s not an illusion, this is reality. I’m in a weightless environment, I’m falling and everything is falling around me, but I can’t tell that.” You feel like gravity has gone away. It hasn’t, but

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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that’s your impression. My checklist is floating in front of me, and it’s “Omigod, whoo hoo.” Weightlessness really manifests itself when you do a spacewalk. Unless you are looking at a large section of the space station, or you are looking at the Earth, your body can’t tell what is up or down, because it doesn’t have that sensation of gravity any more. If you focus on something close at hand, your mind will flip you upside down, instantaneously. If you look at the bigger picture of your surroundings, your mind will mentally reorient you to your previous position. You’ll be right side up again. Once, I was crawling out of the airlock to this truss, using a handrail. I was looking at my hands as I was moving along, looking up relative to the space station, and then instantaneously, I was looking down at the space station, and I hadn’t moved. My mind was suddenly telling me I was looking down rather than up, and that was strange. Astronauts will tell you that this happens coming out of the airlock. You feel you are coming up and out of the space station rather than down and below it, and the reality is that you are down and below relative to the Earth. Once you get there, you can start managing it on your own. You can say, “Well, I want to be upside down,” or “I want to be right side up.” In your mind, you can choose, and it makes the work much easier than it was when we were training in the pool. Being upside down in the pool is excruciating, because gravity is pulling down on you and it hurts. In space, it is just the opposite and that is just fabulous as you go about your work. When we came back, it took me about a week to realize that the joy of being in space was gone, but it lingered for a really long time, and that was cool and sad at the same time. I would lie in bed and think the ceiling was the floor because in space it was, and on Earth, it’s not. You can’t push off your bed and go up there, but in space, you can. White: You left the astronaut corps for medical reasons and went to work for Rocketplane, a private company that did not succeed. I understand your disappointment, but do you think you might get involved in some of the other commercial space endeavors? Herrington: I have done consulting for some of them. When I stepped out of the government world, it was a shock. I went from working for a government entity to a company that had to make a profit. My role at Rocketplane was to be an engineering test pilot on a new space vehicle. What astronaut/test pilot wouldn’t want to make that transition? I worked with some fabulous engineers, but the business side didn’t pan out. Rocketplane/Kistler was one of two companies that NASA chose to demonstrate commercial access to the ISS. SpaceX was the other company. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the financial resources to continue. SpaceX

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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did and they have been very successful in their efforts. I wish them well as they move forward. One of the reasons I didn’t continue in the commercial space business was that I had found working with Native American students and educators to be incredibly gratifying. I enjoy it so much that I chose to return to school and earn a PhD in Education. I have the opportunity to share my journey to the astronaut corps with students who have not had a role model in that position. One of my achievements since I left the astronaut corps was to help start a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving Native American students’ success in higher education, specifically in science, technology, engineering, and math. I enjoy sharing my story with people who have the same dream and desire. Encouraging them is personally satisfying to me. RONALD J. GARAN, JR. STS-124, ISS EXPEDITIONS 27/28

Ron Garan served as a fighter pilot and test pilot in the Air Force, retiring with the rank of colonel. He was accepted as a NASA astronaut in 2000. Garan made one flight on the space shuttle and one flight on the Soyuz, and spent 179 days in space. He retired as an active NASA astronaut on October 1, 2013. He has founded a number of humanitarian enterprises, including the Manna Energy Foundation, Fragile Oasis, and Unity Node. The following is the transcript of a telephone interview that took place on September 23, 2012.

White: I know you began your career in the military. Was there any sense in those days that you were going to become an astronaut, and especially an astronaut with such strong humanitarian impulses? Garan: It was a hope of mine, and something I always desired to do. I didn’t know how likely it was that it would happen, but I wanted to serve my country, and I wanted to fly, and there was a great deal of motivation for me to join the military at that time. White: Did you have the interest that you have today in philanthropy and concern about the situation in other parts of the world? Or was that something that developed over time? Garan: Well, I think I did have it, but it was not a mature viewpoint. I realized that the world is not a perfect place, but I wasn’t sure how I fit into that and how I could help, and I wasn’t doing the things back then that I am doing now. So I think it was something that matured over the years into action, if you will.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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White: Could you tell me how you evolved the idea of Fragile Oasis? I read one story that suggested you had a change in your thinking as you were looking at the Earth. Garan: I should say that I don’t think there were any epiphanies when I got into space. I think it was a confirmation of what I already knew. This is a really important point, because you don’t have to go into space to have this perspective that we are all in this together, we’re all on this spaceship we call Earth. But there was a distinct moment on a spacewalk on my first mission where I was on the end of the space station’s robotic arm and we were doing this maneuver that we call the “windshield wiper.” I was on the end of the arm and it was swinging on this big arc where the arm was stretched out as far as it could possibly be and I was extended on the end of it and at the top of the arc I was about 100 feet above the space station, looking down at the Earth and it was definitely breathtaking, and I felt for the first time on that mission that I wasn’t just looking down at the Earth, I was looking at a planet suspended in space. It was definitely a different feeling from what I had experienced the previous 4 or 5 days. So the idea of Fragile Oasis was born at that moment. Before that, I knew that there was this view of the planet, and I knew that it confirmed this feeling I had that we all had a responsibility to leave the planet a little bit better than we found it. But now I thought that what I call the Orbital Perspective might be a way to help people to go out and make a difference and make the world a better place. To that end, we created Fragile Oasis, and it is really just 1% of what we hope it will be. As it matures, it will get to where we want it to be, and we are getting there step-by-step. White: When did you create Fragile Oasis? Garan: I was in Russia, and the downside of traveling is that you become jetlagged, but the positive side is that your mind is going at three o’clock in the morning. The whole idea for the website came to me, and I scribbled it out, and later called a meeting with NASA folks, and some designers I know. I laid out my vision for the site, and as I said, we haven’t reached it yet, but we are getting there. White: Was NASA supportive from the beginning? Garan: Well, they had to be convinced and that was because we already had a website at nasa.gov. But I wanted to focus this website on things NASA is not doing. I wanted it to be complementary to nasa.gov and I think they realized there was a lot of benefit from doing it. White: I think there is, because the issue many people have when you use the word “space” is it’s a place where you escape from the Earth. They think it is far away and is irrelevant to the Earth. What you are doing as an astronaut is

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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pointing back to the home planet. That benefits NASA too, because it says that the agency really is concerned about the Earth. As you point out, people who could care less about space exploration do care about the planet and they care about making it a better place. I think it is a good strategic approach. Garan: Yeah, and let’s talk about the next step. Basically, what the space program has given us is, first, what you call the Overview Effect and I have called in my writings the Orbital Perspective, is a view of the planet from space that we have, and we can expound on that quite a bit. But the other thing is that the International Space Station is a wonderful example of international cooperation, where you have a number of nations in an international partnership working for this common goal on the International Space Station. Some of these countries have not always been the best of friends, and it really is an amazing example. The third thing we get from the space program is this feeling that nothing is impossible, a feeling that 100 years ago, if you were to say it was possible to fly to the moon and back, people would have thought you were crazy. Now, it is common knowledge that we can do that. So we have those three things from the space program: the Orbital Perspective, the example of international cooperation, and the proof that nothing is impossible. It leads us to the next step, which is to apply that international cooperation to go out and do great things, and apply the Orbital Perspective to the planet. To that end, we have started a project that we called the Collaboration Project, and which now has evolved into something that we call the Unity Node. So we did not want to say, “Look at us, and look at this view of the planet,” and set an example and have everyone follow it. We wanted to provide a tool to affect global change, and that was really the objective of Fragile Oasis, to provide a collaborative platform for humanitarian social networking. Then I realized that there are a number of organizations around the world that are trying to do that very thing. They are trying to build these collaborative platforms. So the idea dawned on me that the first step in creating a collaborative open-source platform is to collaborate with all these organizations around the world that are trying to do that. So we have been engaging a lot of these organizations, and it is really picking up a lot of momentum, and I think it could be a huge factor. You have all these organizations around the world and for the most part, they don’t operate in a cohesive, cooperative fashion. Sometimes, they even seem antagonistic to one another because they feel they are competing for the same resources. I think the platform that we are creating is going to show the value of collaboration and provide these organizations with a way to make a much bigger impact than they would otherwise.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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This is going to be a data tool. We are trying to develop a way that the existing databases around the world can talk together with a common language. It will be a “Humanitarian Wikipedia” if you will, rather than a central collection source. It will be open source, so that the world owns it. It’s not a commercial activity, it’s not an effort to raise money for a pet cause, and it’s not a website. It will be a central hub to which all these different “apps” can be connected. It will multiply exponentially the data everyone has access to, and the collaboration they can do. Consider that if you want to solve the water crisis on the planet, there are thousands of organizations trying to do that, and it is dizzying to try to wade through all of the information about them. So then people come up with the idea of having one overarching single source, and they find out there are already 15 of those! We are just trying to find what exists out there and give them a way to talk with one another. It’s pretty exciting. One of our objectives in doing this work is to let people know that space exploration is not just about seeing what’s on the next planet, especially when you consider what we are doing right now. Our focus is on improving life on this planet, and it is probably one of the best investments in our future that we could ever make. White: I couldn’t agree with you more, and I think that a lot of what Apollo was about was not only going to the moon but also looking back at the Earth, and having that realization of what the Earth is, where it is, and where we are, as a species. Regarding Unity Node, I went out to North Dakota to make a speech about philanthropy and fundraising, and I was trying to understand why I was there, and what came to mind for me was what I called the Global Philanthropy Project. It was exactly the same reasoning you had, which was, there are a lot of people trying to make the world a better place, but there is no coordination. You have now done what I had in mind that somebody needed to do. Garan: Well, we haven’t done it yet, and we have a long road ahead of us. In terms of what we are trying to accomplish, this is probably on the scale of going to the moon, but if we are successful, this would be applicable to any problem, and help to create a global community. We are trying to be 100 percent inclusive, so the only requirement is that you want to make the world a better place. White: The view of the Earth from orbit creates a kind of cognitive dissonance. We see how beautiful it is from that perspective, but then we see how difficult life is for some people on the planet and that creates a great engine for change. Garan: Yes, and one of the things we are trying to get across is that you don’t have to go into orbit to get this idea. That is why we have so many guest

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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bloggers on Fragile Oasis. We want to get people who have not been in space, but have that perspective to articulate it. White: That is another important breakthrough, to open this up to the ordinary person. Many people think that space is inaccessible and astronauts are somehow different from the rest of us. This project should break down some of those barriers. What are your plans for the future? Do you think you will be going back to the space station? Garan: I don’t know. That entirely depends on whether there is a need for me to do that. I am happy to do that if it supports our space program. Personally, I want to do whatever will make the biggest impact in my remaining time here on the planet. If that means going back to the ISS, that is what I’ll do. Otherwise, I will devote my time to the other projects I’ve been working on. One interesting aspect of the space program and how it relates to the health of the planet is technology transfer: how can we transfer Space Age knowledge to developing countries, for example? What we are seeing is that the technology we need to go beyond low Earth orbit to the moon, asteroids, and Mars are the same engineering principles we need to apply in the developing world. These engineering solutions have to be very robust, they can’t depend on a lot of training, and they should not require a lot of maintenance, so there is a big benefit to having NASA-trained engineers working in the developing world. It is not just that they help the developing countries, but they also get that kind of engineering experience, and that is what we have seen in the kind of work I have been doing with another organization I founded, called the Manna Foundation. This is happening outside of NASA and is not supported by NASA, but the results have been significant. Working with another company in Kenya, we have been able to provide clean water to 4 million people over the next 10 years using this philosophy. It is the largest privately funded water program in history, is completely free to the people, and is financially self-sustaining through the generation of carbon credits. White: From what you have heard about the Overview Effect and the Orbital Perspective, do you think we are basically talking about the same thing? Garan: Yes, to some extent, but I think in some ways Orbital Perspective is the call to action that occurs from the Overview Effect. Seeing the Earth from the vantage point of space provides a unique perspective. The Orbital Perspective is the recognition of the undeniable and sobering contradiction between the staggering beauty of our planet and the unfortunate realities of life on our planet for many of its inhabitants.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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But it’s more than just an awareness of this contradiction; it’s what I like to call elevated empathy and also a willingness to embrace the mindset that nothing is impossible. It’s the conviction that we do not have to accept that the suffering and conflict on our planet is inescapable. It’s the acknowledgement that we live in a world in which our exponentially increasing technological advancements and interconnectivity are making the impossible possible on a daily basis. It’s the awareness that you don’t have to be in orbit to have the Orbital Perspective. There is a big picture that is achieved not just by panning back in a spatial sense but also in a temporal sense, enabling us all to realize that the decisions we make and actions we take now will have a long-term effect on the trajectory of our global society. Many amazing, talented people have the correct pieces of the puzzle, but it’s not until we pan back to the Orbital Perspective that we see how those pieces fit together. This big-picture perspective allows us to take our focus off the quarterly report and instead focus on the 20-year plan and beyond for the good of all. To me, that is the orbital perspective; it’s the perspective that each and every one of us is riding through the universe together on this spaceship we call Earth, that we’re all in this together, that we’re all interconnected, that we’re all family and our Spaceship Earth is all we’ve got, a “fragile oasis,” if you will. AKIHIKO (“AKI”) HOSHIDE STS-124, ISS EXPEDITION 32/33

Akihiko Hoshide was born in Japan and grew up in New Jersey as a child. He was selected as one of three Japan Space Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronauts for the International Space Station in 1999. He flew on the space shuttle in 2008 and spent several months on the International Space Station in 2012. The following interview was conducted on April 29, 2013.

White: Could you tell me what led to your becoming an astronaut? Hoshide: I lived in New Jersey when I was a child. My father took me down to Kennedy Space Center and I also watched science fiction, like Star Trek and Star Wars. That made me interested in going and exploring space. At that time, we did not have any Japanese astronauts, so I didn’t know how to go to space. When I was in high school, the first three Japanese astronauts were selected and that was huge. That made me start thinking, “Hey, there is a career called an astronaut.”

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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So I went to college, got my bachelor’s degree in engineering, and joined the Japanese space agency. I tried to become an astronaut a couple of times, and on my third try, I finally got selected. White: Is that common, having to try a few times? Hoshide: In the U.S., yes. People try multiple times. One of my classmates applied five times before being selected. In Japan, it is the other way around. Since we only have had a few astronaut selections, most of the folks made it on their first try. So I might be an exception. I was stationed in Houston for a while, and there were a couple of people in the NASA Astronaut Office who knew I was trying to become an astronaut. They encouraged me and would say, “Well, try again.” People watch to see if you are really interested, and that was the message I got, “just try again.” White: That’s an interesting form of selection, just to see how intense people’s desire is. Given that you grew up in America, could you have applied to NASA? Hoshide: No, because I don’t have U.S. citizenship. My nationality is Japanese, so I would have had to change my citizenship to apply as a NASA astronaut. White: Could you tell me a bit about the Japanese space program? What are the program’s interests and goals? Hoshide: The primary goals in our space program are to develop and operate launch vehicles and satellites, do research in astronomy and space sciences, and also operate and utilize the International Space Station. White: Would you say that the primary purpose of the human aspect is international cooperation, or are there other goals separate from the International Space Station (ISS)? Hoshide: We started with utilizing space shuttle missions for science. When the ISS program started, we were asked if Japan would participate as a partner. We also continued to select astronauts to gain knowledge and experience over the years about how to develop astronaut training. By doing these things, we began to understand safety aspects, reliability, and also how to operate a mission. We have a mission control center and they are monitoring the Kibo module, working together with other mission control centers all over the world. Over the years, through space shuttle missions, we gained a lot of experience, and that helped us get to this point. White: Is your module the largest on the space station? Hoshide: I’ve heard that we ended up so. White: And it is primarily a science module, right? Hoshide: That is correct. But I have slept in there a couple of times myself. White: Is there any particular kind of science you are pursuing in that module?

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-16 02:15:46.

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Hoshide: Inside, we have different types of “racks,” as we call them, that accommodate various scientific equipment in areas such as life science, material science, fluid mechanics, etc. Then, we have the outside, which we call “the porch.” That has the external payloads, mostly for Earth observation and astronomy. White: What was it like for you when you went on that first shuttle mission and saw the Earth from orbit? Were you prepared for it, or was it a bit of a surprise? Hoshide: I had seen a lot of imagery of Earth in advance, and also talked to flown astronauts about micro-gravity. Even so, it was much more than I expected. You just have to actually be there and experience it yourself. It is a lot of fun. I understood what the Earth would look like, but seeing it with your own eyes was just unbelievable. I was actually looking at the pitch black space one day, and I wondered, “How far does it go?” I was trying to find the “bottom” of that darkness, and all of a sudden, you kind of feel this fear, in a way, a sensation of getting sucked into that neverending, bottomless darkness. I am a believer that humankind will and must go further, not just stay on Earth, but go out into space. When I had that sensation, it made me think about the Earth as an even more unique and precious planet, supporting humankind, even on orbit. I still believe humanity must go on, but also felt that we cannot go on without the Earth. White: That is a really interesting statement. When you say, “without Earth,” what does that mean in terms of responding to the fear? Is it Earth as a base, or as a familiar place? Hoshide: I think of it as a base. If we were in outer space without Earth, I don’t think we could carry on. It means a lot of things, but it means Earth as a birthplace, and Earth with a lot of people supporting. A lot of amazing people work on the space program, and without their help, you can’t do anything. That made me re-realize not just the importance of our planet to space exploration but also all the people supporting it. White: That’s a really interesting comment. When you read my book, I think you will see that I agree with what you are saying. It struck me that in exploring the universe, we are constructing several different civilizations, and each one builds on the other one. We need a planet that works and is environmentally sustainable to begin building a civilization in the solar system. If we are going beyond that, we need the same capability and maturity to begin encountering other intelligences. You can’t do one without the other. Hoshide: Yes, you need Mother Earth.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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White: A lot of people have used the metaphor that Mother Earth gives birth to a spacefaring civilization. Rusty Schwieckart said, “I began to see my mother in a different way.” But she was still “Mom.” We have all had that experience of becoming more independent but our parents are still very important. Does that sound right, in terms of what you felt? Hoshide: Yes, it was something like that. It is not like you think about it. This was something I just felt. It’s a feeling that without Earth, we cannot go anywhere. White: In terms of seeing the Earth, did it have any impact on your feelings? Some astronauts talk about the lack of borders and boundaries, others talk about the Earth’s beauty, and still others say it seems to be alive. Did any one thing stand out for you? Hoshide: I think it would be the beauty and variety of it. For example, you look out the window on an airplane, you see the ocean. Then, you take a nap, and look out again when you wake up, you still see the ocean. On the space station, it is not the same, because you are orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes. So the Earth will show different sides of her face, and different expressions, in a fast pace. You see oceans, you see deserts, the forests, and cities. And you see different times of the day. You will never be bored. The Cupola is the big window usually facing the Earth on the ISS. I called the Cupola “the black hole,” because it is kind of dangerous (laughing). You say, “I am going to go up to the Cupola and take a look out the window for 10 minutes.” Then you are up there for an hour or two because you get sucked in, enjoying the many different faces of the Earth. White: Is that the difference between being on the shuttle and the space station? You have more time and also you now have the Cupola? Hoshide: I think you can say that, because the shuttle is a short-duration mission and on a very tight schedule. You didn’t really have much time to say, “Okay, I am going to stay up late.” You don’t have weekends, and I think we only had about a half-day off while on the ISS during our space shuttle mission. But on a space station mission, you have a little more time and a little more flexibility and you do have weekends. You can appreciate it a little more. White: Was there anything distinct about the EVA? Some astronauts have talked about how being outside does give a more powerful impression overall. Hoshide: I felt a lot of things but there is one thing I think I should mention. During my first EVA, I was on the robotic arm. At one point, I was looking forward and there was absolutely nothing in my field of view. The entire space station was behind me, and there was no structure, and all I could see was Earth and space.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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It was during the EVA, but I was secretly wishing, “Please don’t talk to me right now. Let me enjoy this moment.” White: When you think about the variety of experiences in space (I like to point out that we are all in space, of course), only some 500 people have been in orbit or on the moon. I don’t know how many have been on an EVA, but not as many. Ron Garan talked with me about being out on the robotic arm and only a few people have been out there. I can see why you didn’t want anyone to talk to you. It is unique. Hoshide (laughing): Ron must have been talking about the EVA on our space shuttle flight together. We were flying Ron around on the robotic arm, and he was at the top of the world. He was looking down on the Earth and the space station. White: Do you think your experience has changed you or reinforced your previous ideas? Hoshide: Reinforced sounds about right. It’s not like I saw God. There wasn’t that much of an impact and I think that’s because you know what to expect. Previous astronauts, like those of the Apollo era, knew a little bit, but not as much, so that is probably why there was a greater impact for them. As I said, though, you do appreciate the Earth much more when you have had that vantage point of looking down on the Earth, and feeling the danger outside as well. You feel the importance of having this precious planet. White: Ron Garan and Nicole Stott have also talked about the space station as a model for international cooperation on the surface of the Earth. Did you feel some of that as well? Hoshide: Yes, you have 15 different countries working together. Up there, you have six crew members living and working alone, and you help each other out. On the ground, too, people try to work things out because you have one common goal. I find that this is especially so when things become challenging. Of course you have differences, but you try to overcome those differences, so it is a role model as an international project. White: When you are on the surface, if you have a problem, you can just walk away, but when you are in orbit, you can’t go anywhere. Hoshide: Right. I really enjoyed working with different people and different cultures. Especially on orbit, you feel like you are really at home in a way, with your family. It’s like being together with your brothers and sisters. White: I have said before that one of the metaphors for the Earth is that it is a spaceship and the people on it are the crew, and we need to cooperate more fully to keep the spaceship going. The problem is that people on the planet know intellectually that we are on a planet moving through the universe, but we don’t experience it. What we see is what our ancestors saw centuries ago.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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I hope that as more people go into orbit, perhaps on commercial flights, they will understand what you are talking about. Hoshide: In that regard, I think more and more people should go into space, and as that happens, more people will really understand both the Earth and space. This is ultimately the goal of human spaceflight. It is not just to have a few astronauts go into space, but it is for humankind to go into space. White: How important is weightlessness to the uniqueness of the experience? Hoshide: It sometimes makes things easier and sometimes harder. If something weighs a lot, you can move it around more easily, but you have to think about inertia and how you can stop it before it crashes into something. You can’t put something on a table, because it will float, so you need to use Velcro or a bungee cord to keep it there. Sometimes I used an air inlet that would suck the object and hold it in place. Some of my experience showed me how attached I am to Earth’s gravity. There is no up or down in space, but when you are looking at certain things on orbit, surprisingly you see them as being horizontal, and others as vertical. So you have that coordinate frame built into your brain. It made me feel that, “Hey, even though you are in micro-gravity, you are so attached to the Earth that you still see horizontal and vertical.” White: What are your future plans? Do you hope to go back? Hoshide: Absolutely. I would love to go back. I would go back tomorrow if it were possible. But there are a lot of good people training right now, and they need to go too. We should have greater experience throughout the corps. NICOLE P. STOTT ISS EXPEDITIONS 20/21, STS-133

Nicole Stott became an astronaut in 2000 and completed her first longduration spaceflight as a flight engineer on International Space Station Expeditions 20 and 21. She completed her second spaceflight as a Mission Specialist on STS-133 in 2011, which was the 39th and final mission for Space Shuttle Discovery. The following is an edited transcript of a telephone conversation conducted on December 28, 2011.

White: How did you become aware of the term “Overview Effect” and how did you begin to use it? Stott: I became aware of it through my husband, Chris, who had mentioned it to me several times. He is affiliated with the International Space University and has a really interesting network and various interests in space exploration

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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in general, and that’s how I was introduced to it. I went online and looked it up, and your name popped up and that of the Overview Institute and that’s how I got my general feeling for it. White: I would be curious if you found the descriptions you read to be consistent with your own experience in orbit. Stott: Overall, yes, though I think the one thing that stands out is that at some point the word “insignificant” is used, that everything is so big and we see this little planet and there is this feeling of insignificance, and I did not feel that. I felt the opposite in that it seemed to me that having this unique perspective reaffirmed that we have a very special place. We may be small on the grand scale of the universe, but from the standpoint of significance, I think in terms of “Here’s this planet that is placed at a specific distance from the sun that allows us to live as we do and created this environment that is a perfect place for us to survive.” And it says to me that there is a reason why we are here, not that there is an insignificance to it. White: I agree and it reminds me of a book I wrote on SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). I found that there is a body of thought that humans might be unique. People tend to think we are ordinary because there are so many stars and planets in the universe, but that doesn’t mean that they have evolved intelligence and the evolutionary patterns that we have. Stott: I agree, I think there is something very special about it. White: Other than that, what would you say is the primary takeaway from the time you spent in orbit? Stott: “Reaffirming” is one of the things that comes to mind. “Indescribable” is a word that is used a lot, but I think it’s accurate. You look out the window and pictures just don’t do justice to what you see. It is a dynamic, crystal-clear view that just glows, and that doesn’t come across in the pictures and videos. You feel more a part of it when you are looking at it that way. So it is a reaffirmation of what a beautiful and special place the Earth is. You feel stronger about your relationship with the Earth, and the importance of taking care of it. It makes you more certain that there is a reason for it, too. White: Astronauts not only see the Earth from space but also in space. You see it as part of another, larger whole. Was that a part of your experience as well? Stott: Yes, it is a mix of the two. It depends on which windows you are looking out of, and which perspective you have. Especially at sunrise and sunset times, you get this really distinctive view of the Earth in space, versus from space. You really do get that feeling that there is a lot more out there.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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It’s part of the whole idea of a “fragile oasis,” and I think that one of the cool aspects of the ISS is that there is this dual thing going on, and you come back and feel you have to give back a little more to make life better here on Earth. That is what is so beautiful about what is going on with the space station and space exploration, there are always two things going on: how do we live and work better off the planet and how do we help out to make life better on Earth as well? There is nothing we are doing on the station that does not feed into both of those things. White: That was the main thing I was trying to communicate when I wrote The Overview Effect. I meant that book to be as much for people who were not interested in space exploration as those who were. I felt that the more people who had the experience you have had, the more people would be working to make life better on this planet. You and Ron Garan are such strong exponents of that. What can you tell me about Fragile Oasis? Stott: It evolved very nicely from a personal blog site. Ron was looking for a way to communicate to his friends and family and to a larger audience what he was experiencing. In parallel to that, there were things he and I were doing on a humanitarian basis that merged into more than a blog site. It became a way to communicate to people what is going on in space and how we can use that perspective to generate new ideas about making life better here on Earth. Ron really pushed very hard to get NASA support of it as well, because we feel strongly that you need to be opening up what is going on with Space Station and space exploration to a much broader audience, to people who wouldn’t think about it on a daily basis. This is unlike what NASA has done in the past. There are a lot more individual interests out there that are not connected with space exploration and you could generate a lot more enthusiasm by exposing them to what we are doing. White: That is the brilliance of Fragile Oasis. You have projects people can propose that could exist separate from space exploration, but linking them with the Overview Effect is great. Even today, astronauts are still heroes, and you get a strong response from people because there are still only 500-plus people who have done what you’ve done. When you speak, people listen. Stott: And we feel an obligation, having had that experience. I think about it every day. It is kind of surreal now, and you have to think back on it, but there is something important about people just understanding what is going on up there. Not to justify it, but just to share the good things that are happening. And letting people know, “This is helping you down here, as well as sending us farther from the planet.” You know, there is also the idea about “all the money being spent in space.” It is said as if it is just going out into the vacuum of space, but every cent that is spent on space exploration is spent here on the planet, generating

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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business or research. That is an interesting communications problem that we have. White: I agree that it is an important point to make. I have been blogging recently about the importance of language and questioning the use of the word “space.” When you say that word, people envision something quite different from what it is. In my talks, I have said that low Earth orbit is closer to us than Boston is to New York City. And there is a sharp intake of breath. People don’t know that. I’ve started to think we ought to use terms like “Near Earth” rather than “outer space.” Stott: There is a great misconception based on lack of knowledge. I have met people, for example, who think the International Space Station is on the moon! There are those who think we have already been to Mars and back. We need to do a much better job of communicating, especially when you are in Washington, D.C., talking with congressional staffers and find out that is what they think. White: I was intrigued with your blog on Fragile Oasis about how the Overview Effect might work both ways, from orbit and from Earth. It really changed my thinking to realize that for 10 years there have been human beings looking down on me. Could you say more about that? Stott: Well, I was thinking about Ron and his crewmates coming home. I realized that I had also been there looking down at the Earth, but there are also some neat things about the fact that we can look up and see the station. I can see the station flying overhead and know there are people up there. It was one of the things that really got me when we were on orbit and chasing down the space station and I saw it for the first time. It really is a tiny little dot of light, and you think, “There are people there who will be opening up the hatch and I will be seeing them soon.” My son is less than 10 years old, and there have been people on Space Station his whole life, living in orbit, and I think we are moving into a new phase now. There is something very special about that and we need to share it. The fact that we can look at beautiful complexes like the space station orbiting the planet is kind of on a par with the impressiveness of looking back at the Earth. White: It’s true that there are children alive today for whom there has never been a time when humans weren’t orbiting the Earth. Can you detect any impact on your son that your work is to go there and then come home? Does he just accept that that is the norm or is it somewhat exciting to him? Stott: I think there is a sense of normalcy about it, which is good. But definitely around the times of launch and landing and during mission time, there is a heightened excitement. The important thing is to keep him engaged as much as possible in what is going on. And that includes going to training

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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events, and seeing what the job is all about. We are able to communicate much better now, with the Internet and videoconference calls, and it’s better for us even than for people who are on military deployments. Also, he is getting exposed to a lot of worldly things through my work. He has been able to travel and see other parts of the world and see that things are different from the way they are in the United States. He is much more open to the differences that exist from one culture to another. White: One of the interesting aspects of the Overview Effect experience is the difference between long and short stays. You had 3 months on the station and a shorter mission on the space shuttle. You would think it would be a deeper experience if you were there longer. Stott: It doesn’t matter if you look out the window one time or multiple times in terms of how impressive it is. It hits you just as strongly. With the long duration flights, you realize how our bodies adapt to the environment. You realize, “ I don’t question any more what I do to move around up here.” The adaptation is very quick, and it is really neat that our brains and bodies figure it out in that way. And the same is true when we come back. On long duration flights, we do have the chance to look out the window more often than on short duration flights. What is impressive about it is that no matter how many times you do it, you are just in awe every time you look out. You can pass over the same place and see something new and different you didn’t see before, or see something that struck you the first time about how beautiful and clear and glowing the planet is. It hits you the same every time you look out the window. I hope it never gets to the point where it becomes, “Oh, yeah, I’m looking out the window again.” I can’t imagine that happening. In 3 months, it certainly didn’t happen to me. And when I fortunately had the chance to go back, it was the same kind of feeling of, “Holy Moly, look at that; it’s still the same way.” Maybe that is another way of getting used to something. It is a realization that every time I look out, it’s going to be, “Wow!” White: One of the things that people have said to me about the Overview Effect is, “You know, our generation doesn’t care as much because we’ve seen all those pictures.” Maybe it’s because there is a huge difference between the pictures and the experience and a lot of people consider the pictures to be the same thing as the experience. From what you are saying, I think there is a difference between the two. Stott: Yes, I think there is. I’m thankful we have better equipment there, and Ron and his friends are doing more with it. The more we can improve that view, the better, and the more we make it seem alive, the better. The time-lapse photography does that. My hope is that it will make people more

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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curious rather than satisfying them. So they might say, “Wow, we need to see more of that or try to get there ourselves.” White: I watched a lot of the material Ron had produced and it got me to thinking, “How can I raise $20 million to go to the International Space Station?” I think about it almost every day, but the $20 million is a bit overwhelming. What do you think will be the experience of people taking suborbital hops on carriers like Virgin Galactic as compared with your experience? Stott: It will be different, but it will be a good thing. It will be a unique enough experience to make people more curious and to look beyond that. They will get that different perspective on where they live, looking back that way, short or long. It’s really impressive and it gets into your brain. White: Yes, even some of the early astronauts, like Alan Shepard, were awestruck even if they were only there for 15 minutes. The Overview Institute is trying to create a paradigm shift, and we are banking on the fact that part of what makes it happen is private spaceflight. Stott: I can’t imagine it won’t be a positive thing. White: I think some of the private spaceflight people are hoping it will trigger this experience. Many of them are keyed into what you and I are talking about. Certainly, Sir Richard Branson seems to be into the environmental issues. Stott: Yes, and my hope is that it really is for the greater good. White: It seems that the International Space Station itself is an example of the kind of shift we are hoping for on the Earth. Could you talk about being on the ISS with different nationalities and what it was like to have a common purpose with them? Stott: The international part of it is one of the great things we have gotten out of the project itself. We have done a complex thing with 15 other countries, and in some cases with countries where we have not always had a positive relationship. The fact that we have had this positive thing going with the space program has, I’m certain, alleviated issues in other areas. And we have worked things out more positively down here than we might have otherwise. That value alone is huge and justifies the effort. It’s neat to see how well things work out with the team on orbit. We don’t even think about who is from where. It is like a family or team anywhere working together. I enjoyed my entire time there. You figure out how to deal with issues just like you do on the ground. Everybody understands that you have to work it out. And it is not a confined space by any means. Of course, you can’t just walk out the door, but it is a huge volume. You can spread out and not see each other all day long if you want to, but everyone comes together for lunch and dinner.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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So I see the station as a model for human interactions, and as a facility as well. Aside from food and clothing, it is a self-sufficient place, and could be relevant to what we are doing here on Earth to have renewable energy and to take care of our resources better, and that is exactly what we have to do to live 200 miles off the planet. The engineers who are working on recycling wastewater on Station are doing the same thing here on Earth for people who don’t have clean water. White: Could you comment on how the installation of the Cupola has affected the experience of Earthgazing? Stott: When I was living on the station, it was not there. And when I came back on a later shuttle flight, it had been installed. It is a really impressive place and it has changed the view that you get from flat, Earth-facing windows. Honestly, it was so much more impressive than we expected. You are always looking for the horizon, and you could find it before, but the Cupola really puts it right in your face. You really get the curvature of the Earth, and you get much more of a feeling of a planet hanging in space. THE NEW ASTRONAUTS SIR RICHARD BRANSON Sir Richard Branson is founder of the Virgin Group, which includes Virgin Galactic,”the world’s first commercial spaceline.” At the time of this interview, Branson had announced his intention to be on Virgin’s first suborbital flight, along with members of his family. The interview took place in person at Virgin Group’s Americas headquarters in New York City on November 8, 2013. Before the interview began, I told Sir Richard that, based on reading his autobiography, I thought we had been in the same place at the same time 45 years before, in a demonstration against the Vietnam war in front of the American Embassy in London. We then started the interview.

White: Were you always interested in space exploration, or was there a moment when you decided this was something you wanted to do? Branson: Well, you and I are both old enough to have seen the moon landing, and it was the most momentous thing ever. I just assumed, having seen it, that someday I would go into space. Then, many years went by and Mikhail Gorbachev approached me, just after he was starting perestroika, and he said he would like to find someone from overseas to go to the (Soviet) Mir space station. I thought about it and decided against it because it just seemed that spending something like $60 million for what would

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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undoubtedly be the most incredible experience ever, didn’t fit with our charitable work in Africa. It was just too much. Then in 1991, I was asked by a kid on a TV show, “Would you ever consider going into space?” and I thought, “Why wait, life is going to run out at some stage, so let’s do something about it.” So the first thing I did in 1991 was to register the name “Virgin Galactic Airways.” (I still have the footage from that TV show, actually.) So we began to keep our eyes open for technicians or engineers coming up with wonderful ideas for taking people into space. I sent a friend, Will Whitehorn, on a number of trips around the world to talk with people who thought they might have something. Through my ballooning challenges, which required that we build capsules that could fly at 50,000 feet and withstand the pressure, we worked with Burt Rutan. One day, we found that Burt was doing more than just thinking about it, he actually was starting to craft SpaceShipOne. Just knowing that Burt was involved made me feel “this is very exciting.” He doesn’t do things unless he has thought them through, so I got on a plane and went to Burt’s house and had dinner with him. Like the title of one of my books, Burt was already thinking “the next thing beyond” SpaceShipOne: hotels floating around the moon and so on, and that just got me more excited. So we shook hands that Virgin would help with SpaceShipOne, and at a subsequent meeting with Paul Allen, after the first flight of SpaceShipOne, I asked what he was planning to do. He said he had finished that chapter in his life, and he was going to put the spacecraft in a museum. I said, “Surely you want to take it on to the next step,” and he said it wasn’t of interest to him. He loves to take on technological challenges, but he is not interested in running an airline or a spaceship company. So I said, “Can we buy the basic technology of SpaceShipOne? We will take onboard 200–300 engineers and technicians, and we will try to craft that into a much bigger spaceship that can begin by taking people into space and give them a taste of it, and then go into orbit, and have point-to-point travel. So we shook hands, and Virgin Galactic was truly born with us trying to find the best engineers and technicians in the world. Getting George Whitesides on board was a real coup. He was the chief of staff at NASA, enormously well-respected person, quiet-spoken, and impeccably honest. He attracted all the best rocket builders, and because the atmosphere is so good, we don’t lose people, and we have become a great magnet. One of the things that attracted us to this particular approach is that this spaceship had wings, and spaceships with wings rather than big rockets that launch from the ground remind me a bit of airplanes . White: Which you know a lot about .

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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Branson: (laughing) . which we know a lot about. We had once competed with British Airways, which had been given Concorde for a pound by the British government, and it was tough because BA could get the chief executives of all the companies to fly on Concorde and then in return they could get the corporate accounts of all these companies. Even I marveled at Concorde. Once I was driving down the motorway and Concorde came over, and I kind of drove across four lanes because I was so excited to see it. It didn’t even matter that BA was on the tail because it was the most beautiful plane ever. When they retired it, we tried to buy it, but BA was not having any of that. So we are now inspiring our engineering team to start dreaming and planning a vehicle that can go many times faster than Concorde. First things first: in the next few months, we want to get our spaceship program working and humming and singing, and then the next step is suborbital and orbital flights, applying everything we have developed and learned to make life on Earth better, and then, maybe one day, hotels in space. While that is going on, we want to keep fueling the imaginations and support of all these people who want to go into space—and an enormous amount of people want to go, as I am sure you have found from your book. People who are willing to pay to go into space, and a lot of people are willing to pay, which can help us. In the 1920s, some people were willing to pay $200,000 to fly the Atlantic, and that helped transform airline travel, and the price has come down dramatically over the years. White: You blogged about the Overview film, which is based on The Overview Effect. Did you know that the guys who made it (Planetary Collective) were British? Branson: No, I didn’t. White: Yes, Guy Reid, Steve Kennedy, and Christoph Ferstad contacted me and said some of them had read the book when they were 15, and wanted to make a film about it, and asked would I help them? Well, it was an answer to a prayer for me, so I said, “Of course.” You have said in your blog something like, “I have called Virgin Galactic ‘the greatest adventure of all,’ but I think now that I may have understated it.” I’m just wondering what the film said to you to elicit that kind of response. Branson: On a personal basis, I love creating things, I am taking my kids into space, and there is no question it will be momentous. I have met astronauts and they all seem like changed people. They have genuinely come back as changed people and you get some incredible insights back from these wonderful astronauts. Chris Hadfield is an example of an astronaut who has brought space to life in a wonderful way. I read in the newspaper the other day that in the Milky Way alone, there might be 40 billion stars just like Earth. When I lie on my roof on Necker

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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Island and look up at the stars, I just marvel at what is out there. For all of us who are working on space exploration, we are only going to be able to scratch the surface, but it is really worth scratching. I truly believe that if more private citizens go up to space, we will transform life on Earth in many wonderful, positive ways. White: Yes. You know, the only prenuptial agreement I have with my wife is that if I have a chance to go, she agrees that I can go. Branson: Well, I’m sure you will go. I want bus drivers, cleaning staff, schoolteachers, writers, journalists, people who could never have dreamed of going into space to be able to do so. We are going to set up a sort of “space lottery” and for $50 you have a 1 in 4000 chance of going. In the years to come, there will be a lot of people who will get the opportunity to go to space. White: I’ve been proposing something similar. My idea is for a third party to fund “Overview Scholarships.” An organization like the Overview Institute would raise the money and select people by merit, looking for those who would do something positive with the experience, and it would be a “win-win” . Branson: Well, I think the answer is yes on that (laughing). That would be great, and I’d say, “Let’s do it.” White: It occurred to me that if you go on the first Virgin flight and take your mom, she would be the oldest person to fly, if you take your kids, they will be the youngest to fly, and you will be the first knight. Branson: (Laughter) A good mixed bag . White: You would really establish some records on that first flight. Branson: It will be fun, anyway . White: I’ve talked with a lot of people about “democratization of space.” And there is a strong response to that idea. People tend to worry when they hear about Virgin Galactic that it will be something for the wealthy, and the 1% will go, while the 99% will be left back on Earth. Could you say a little more about why you think the democratization of space is important? Branson: Well, you and I are 60s lads, we marched against the war, and we believe you should be able to care about all your fellow human beings. I also suspect the people who will appreciate going into space the most will be those least able to afford it. NASA tried to send a schoolteacher, and it was an admirable idea that sadly went horribly wrong, and stopped that program in its tracks. However, I think she could have done a lot in opening the eyes of kids by teaching a class from space. Imagine what it would have done for science and math education—and the pursuit of valuable careers in engineering—not just in the U.S. but around the world. We are in a position where we can create a spaceship company to bring the price down from $50 million to $250,000, which is still very expensive for the majority of people. But then, these initial pioneers will help bring the

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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price down to a reasonable level and enable thousands of people who had never dreamed of going into space to do so. White: Your analogy to airline travel is apt. I was in the airport the other day, and I thought, “This is the future of space travel.” Only 50 or 60 years ago, the only people who were flying in airplanes were a few intrepid barnstormers. Branson: Yes, why shouldn’t more people be able to share in these wonderful things? White: In terms of life on Earth, the astronauts have already started a shift in awareness by going into orbit and to the moon. I call it the Overview Effect, of course, and if you just look at the environmental movement as one example, their experience has had a major impact. When ordinary people start going, we really can’t predict what will happen. Branson: It is going to be tremendous. White: Would you say that what you are marketing with Virgin Galactic is the Overview Effect, that is to say, the experience of seeing the Earth from space and in space, without calling it that? Branson: Of course. (Laughing) And we’d love to borrow your brand. White: (laughing) You can use it! Branson: One thing Virgin Galactic seems good at is asking, “What would we want?” And we said, “We want big windows.” Why would one go into space and not be able to look back at the Earth? So that is really important. I want to mention one other thing about the impact on life on Earth. We are able to put up about 3000 satellites every quarter with our spaceship. That is more than are out there today. We would put them into low Earth orbit, which means that they will not be blocking up space forever. They will drop out every 5 years and be replaced. The beneficial effect to mankind of having an array of 10,000 satellites around the Earth is, well, “Earth-shattering.” The price of telephony can collapse, 3 billion people who don’t have telephones or Internet access will be able to get it. If there is an illegal fishing boat destroying fishing stocks, you can know where it is in real time. You can check things like the ozone layer in real time, and weather reporting will be much better. That wasn’t what we were thinking originally, but there are times when you stumble across things that work. Back here on Earth, there is a lot going on that is wonderful and a lot that is sad. The Overview Effect helps us to see the damage being done as well as the beauty of our Earth. It’s clear that people around the world are concerned about our future and want to believe there is a future—and to help with that we must protect this world we live in and use the Earth’s resources more responsibly and efficiently.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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We will be able to put people into space with minimal carbon output. That is important because if we are going to go out there with messages about the importance of saving the world, we have to have our own house in order. Within a year or so, I hope we will be able to say, “zero carbon emissions.” At Virgin Group, we have a lot of not-for-profit organizations working on the environment as well. We have the Carbon War Room, which is working with the 21 industries that put out the most carbon to get a gigaton out of each of those industries, and coming up with imaginative ways to do it. We have the “B Team,” which is a group of business leaders trying to get their own houses in order and be sure business becomes a true force for good, we have “Oceanic Elders,” fighting to protect the oceans. Nobody has explored the bottom of the oceans, which we might call the “Underview Effect.” We need submarines to go to the bottom and explore them properly, where people can see out of them, and they can withstand the pressure, which is much greater than an airplane. We would love you to do a book on the “Underview Effect.” White: I’m game! Also, going back to the Overview Effect, do you know about Zero2Infinity, also known as “Bloon”? They are openly saying “We are going to take people into near-space with a balloon and give them the experience of the Overview Effect. And you can say that, too, if you want. I did not trademark it because I wanted people to use the term, get familiar with it, and understand the meaning of it. Branson: Thank you, that’s lovely, and it will come out. Thank you for the permission. White: I just don’t want anybody else to trademark it and prevent me from using it. That’s all I care about. Branson: (laughing) I think you’re safe on that one. White: Any final thoughts on your vision? You and I were in the same place at the same time 45 years ago. If we were able to be together 45 years from now, what do you think would be happening on Earth and in space? Branson: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, 45 years from now, the world were powered by clean fuels and clean energy, like our spaceships? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had used these wonderful pictures from space to protect our oceans, to make sure we have as big a rainforest as we have today? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we can use the Overview Effect to make sure the rhinos, elephants, and magnificent tigers are protected and that they still exist? This will take a combination of people who go to space who come back determined to make a difference working with people back here on Earth who genuinely care. If we can hang in there, in 45 years’ time, perhaps we can make sure our children and grandchildren can have the most wonderful world that we have had. We have been very fortunate and blessed to have had it.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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White: Indeed. Akihiko Hoshide is one of the astronauts I interviewed for this edition of the book, and I asked him what he felt on seeing the Earth from orbit, and he said something like, “That we can’t go anywhere without the Earth. We have to go out, but we have to keep the Earth going.” Branson: What a beautiful statement. Well, I will also be more eloquent when I come back from space. White: I would love to interview you when you come back, because that would be a first. I’ve never interviewed anyone before and after they have gone to space for the first time. Branson: I will look forward to it. Thank you. GEORGE WHITESIDES

AND

LORETTA HIDALGO WHITESIDES

George Whitesides is former president of the National Space Society and chief of staff at NASA. He is currently the CEO of Virgin Galactic. Loretta Whitesides is a long-time space advocate and promoter of the importance of the Overview Effect. Together, they founded Yuri’s Night, an annual global celebration in honor of Yuri Gagarin. George and Loretta are also founding members of the Overview Group, which formed the Overview Institute in 2008. The following is taken from an interview conducted on July 19, 2007, at the first Overview Effect Conference in Washington, D.C. George and Loretta have since reviewed and updated the transcript.

White: Tell me a bit about your interest in space exploration. Loretta: I have been passionate about space for as long as I can remember. I was born on April 12, 1974, my grandfather’s birthday. April 12 is also the date of Yuri Gagarin’s flight in 1961 and of the first flight of the space shuttle in 1981, so I like to think I was born into it. I remember in kindergarten if you learned your alphabet they would put your picture up on the bulletin board in the faceplate of an Apollo spacesuit as though you were walking on the moon. I remember being really motivated to learn my letters! My cousins and I also played “spaceship” under the stairs at their house and would look at all the pictures in the National Geographic book, Our Universe, and imagine being on all the different planets. All of this was very formative for me. The explosion of the Challenger was also pivotal. I was in the sixth grade when it happened, and I remember looking up at the white boxy loudspeaker and hearing the principal interrupt our lessons saying, “The shuttle just exploded.” I remember being undeterred; I was adamant that I would still be willing to fly the next day.

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In junior high school, I wanted to save the planet. It was the late 80s and we were worried about acid rain, saving the whales, and overpopulation but I was overwhelmed, I had no idea where to start. I got the idea that maybe I could save the Earth by going into space. I was into the idea of biospheres and O’Neill’s space colonies. I thought we could live in these model cities and could live in harmony with the biosphere and maybe the people on Earth could use us as an example, so we could work through all of our problems at once. George: I was also born in 1974, and I was really into science fiction as a kid. I can remember two moments that kind of marked my passion for space exploration. At the age of 11, I recall looking up in the sky of a cold Boston night and having an explicit sense of needing “to go up there.” Later, I was on a Fulbright fellowship in Tunisia. I was doing unstructured research and had a lot of time. Some of us rented an old Italian officers’ club near the beach. The sky outside was just amazingly beautiful, and as was the case in Boston, that had an effect on me. I was also reading a lot of books and doing a lot of thinking, and I realized one day that “The most important thing I can do is advance humanity’s expansion into space.” Many of us are caught early like that. The idea of space exploration has great power over children. White: How did you begin planning to actually go into space? George: I used to surf the Net and look at astronaut bios. I knew I couldn’t be an astronaut, because I had bad eyes and just didn’t have enough interest in engineering. I started going down the road of flying on the Soyuz to the International Space Station. We lined up $1 million, and began looking for more sponsors. I worked on it for about 6 months to a year, and scheduled a trip to Russia for the physical exams in 2003. This was after Dennis Tito went to the ISS, and it was an optimistic time. Then, a week before our planned trip to Russia, the Space Shuttle Columbia accident occurred. Around the same time, an unmanned Soyuz exploded. This had a cascading effect. I went to Russia anyway, but the flight was now on the back burner. The next thing that happened was that the first Scaled Composites flight took place. I went to the first rocket-powered flight of SpaceShipOne, which was in secret. I continued to follow the X-Prize developments over the next year. Finally, after Virgin Galactic had been announced, I happened to be in England on vacation, and I met with the Virgin people about buying tickets for Loretta and me. That began to look like a real option. Loretta: As a kid, I never wanted to be an “astronaut.” In my youthful optimism, I thought everyone would have their own rocket in their garage by the time I grew up. I thought there would be no NASA by the year 2000 because obviously by that “distant future” we would have a world

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EXPERIENCES

OF THE

ASTRONAUTS

AND

COSMONAUTS

313

government and a world space program .. Later, after college, I decided I did want to be an astronaut, that I could use it as a platform for making a difference. I went back to graduate school to get a PhD. But I soon realized that basic research wasn’t a good fit for me and looked for other ways to make my mark on the world. White: Can you describe your thoughts about the Overview Effect? Loretta: For me, it is the main reason for going. Flying for Zero Gravity Corp, I have gotten to experience weightlessness quite a bit, which is part of it, but I want to go and experience looking back at our planet too and being able to communicate that to others. What I love about the Overview Effect is that it connects you to something beyond the self. It has you look at how can you positively impact our planet. George: I do believe that the Overview Effect is creating a sense of the Earth as one planet. Instilling it on a global basis is a key to moving to our next level, and that’s why it is important. This is about human evolution. Some of those who are flying are leaders, some are very wealthy, and they will come back as evangelists for a point of view. I do hope we can begin to fly more leaders, especially cultural leaders, “the Elders” of our society. I liked, for example, how Peter Gabriel and Richard Branson brought together Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, and Kofi Annan. I have also been thinking that the mental preparation for who will go is as important as the physical and that maybe people could take an oath or pledge regarding the experience and how we will use it for good. The mental preparation will help to make it more than just a joyride but something that really has a potential to inspire people. Loretta: For me, the mental preparation is an extension of my normal life. I am a space advocate. Getting people to be inspired about space and what it can do for our species is my job. It’s my life’s work. That is part of my preparation for the flight. Also, I think another great thing people can do to prepare is watch Star Wars and 2010. White: Any final thoughts? George and Loretta: We signed a contract to be the first honeymoon fliers on Virgin Galactic. We really liked the idea of using our spaceflight to bring together space C love. They are two concepts that go together so naturally for us, but have not been formally linked much before. We are hoping as more people fly into space we can start to change that and have those ideas become part of our culture.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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Appendix A

EXCERPT FROM “DECLARATION OF VISION AND PRINCIPLES,” THE OVERVIEW INSTITUTE We live at a critical moment in human history. The challenges of climate change, food, water and energy shortages as well as the increasing disparity between the developed and developing nations are testing our will to unite, while differences in religions, cultures, and politics continue to keep us apart. The creation of a “global village” through satellite TV and the Internet is still struggling to connect the world into one community. At this critical moment, our greatest need is for a global vision of planetary unity and purpose for humanity as a whole. For more than four decades, astronauts from many cultures and backgrounds have been telling us that, from the perspective of Earth orbit and the Moon, they have gained such a vision. There is even a common term for this experience: “The Overview Effect,” a phrase coined in the book of the same name by space philosopher and writer Frank White. It refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, hanging in the void, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, the astronauts tell us, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide us become less important and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative. Even more so, many of them tell us that from the Overview perspective, all of this seems imminently achievable, if only more people could have the experience! Authored and signed by the Overview Group: Anousheh Ansari David Beaver Carter Emmart Keith Farrell Alex Howerton Barbara Marx Hubbard Kevin Kelley Jeff Krukin David McConville Edgar Mitchell Lonnie Schorer Mike Simmons Rick Tumlinson Frank White Loretta Whitesides 315

Dan Curry Roger Harris Ray Idaszak Alan Ladwig Andrew Newberg Doug Trumbull George Whitesides

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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Published at the founding of The Overview Institute International Space Development Conference May 2008

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For the full text, go to http://www.overviewinstitute.org.

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Appendix B

ORGANIZATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS SUPPORTING THE EXPLORATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF SPACE American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA): Formed in 1963 through a merger of the American Rocket Society and the Institute of Aerospace Sciences, the purpose of AIAA is to advance the arts, sciences, and technology of aeronautics and astronautics, and to promote the professionalism of those engaged in these pursuits. For information: 1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 500, Reston, VA 20191-4344. http://www.aiaa.org Association of Space Explorers: Founded in 1985 by a group of astronauts and cosmonauts, the Association’s membership includes more than 375 space fliers from 35 countries. It encourages environmental awareness, planetary stewardship, and international cooperation in space. For information: http://www.space-explorers.org Homo Spaciens Institute: This organization advocates the exploration and development of outer space in the belief that it is not only likely Homo sapiens will evolve into Homo spaciens, but also desirable. For information: http://www.homospaciens.com Institute of Noetic Sciences: Founded by Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell as a result of his experiences in space, IONS is dedicated to the study of consciousness and related phenomena. For information: http://noetic.org International Space University (ISU): Originally founded by three young space activists, the International Space University has grown over the years, and now offers an 11-month Master of Space Studies program, a 10-week summer session held annually at different locations around the world, and a professional development program. For information: 1 rue Jean-Dominique Cassini, 67400 Illkirch-Graffenstaden, France, http://www.isunet.edu. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): Founded in 1958, America’s civilian space agency continues to support a range of activities connected with space exploration. For information: 300 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20546. http://www.nasa.gov National Space Society (NSS): Formed as a result of the merger of the L-5 Society and the National Space Institute, NSS is an active organization with local chapters all over the country. The society holds an annual space development conference, publishes a magazine, and alerts its members to 317

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important developments on the space exploration front. For information: 1155 15th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005-2725. http://www.nss.org The Overview Institute: Co-founded by the author of The Overview Effect, Frank White, and cognitive researcher David Beaver, this is the premier organization supporting understanding and dissemination of the Overview Effect message. For additional information: http://www.overviewinstitute.org. Planetary Society: Founded by astronomer Carl Sagan, this society supports robotic and human exploration of space. The society also publishes a magazine and holds conferences of interest to its members. For information: 65 North Catalina Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91106. http://planetary.org Space Frontier Foundation (SFF): The SFF focuses on opening the space frontier and applies a “frontier enabling test” and “settlement enabling test” to all ventures before supporting them. For information: 16 First Avenue, Nyack, NY 10960. http://www.space-frontier.org Space Studies Institute: Founded by Dr. Gerard K. O’Neill, SSI focuses on research aimed at large-scale human settlement of space, using extraterrestrial materials. For information: 1434 Flightline, Mojave, CA 93501. http://www.ssi.org Space Synapse: Founded by Anna Hill (space entrepreneur/innovator) in 2003 and later joined by Frank White, Space Synapse Systems Ltd. intends to be a leader in the digital space education and space awareness market. Through its Earth Rider project, Space Synapse is attempting to “bring space to Earth,” and communicate the importance of the Overview Effect worldwide. For more information on Space Synapse: http://spacesynapse.com. For more information on Earth Rider: http://www.earthrider.eu/about.html.

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NOTES CHAPTER 1 [1] Harman, W., and Rheingold, H., Higher Creativity: Liberating the Unconscious for Breakthrough Insights, J.P. Tarcher, Los Angeles, 1984, p. 174. [2] Ibid., p. 175. [3] Ibid.

CHAPTER 2 [1] Even those who do not believe in biological evolution can perhaps see the validity of this analogy. [2] Telephone interview with Edward G. Gibson, 15 Aug. 1985.

CHAPTER 3 [1] Schweickart, R. L., No Frames, No Boundaries (film commentary), Creative Initiative/Beyond War, Palo Alto, CA. From Earth’s Answer: Explorations of Planetary Culture at the Lindesfarne Conferences, Lindesfarne/Harper & Row, West Stockbridge, MA, 1977. [2] The best source for this type of information was Tim Furniss, Space Flight: The Records, Guinness Books Enfield, UK, 1985. This edition listed 165 people who had been in space. In addition, Charles Walker supplied me with a “spacefarers roster,” compiled by author and space expert James E. Oberg, which listed 111 missions and 199 people in space as of 22 January 1986. Oberg does not count the two Mercury suborbital hops; with them, the totals are 113 and 201. Until its retirement in 2011, the Space Shuttle alone had flown 355 individual astronauts and cosmonauts from 16 different countries (some were repeat fliers). [3] Jaynes, J., The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1976, pp. 48–49. [4] Interview with Marc Garneau, Ottawa, Canada, 11 July 1986. [5] Interview with Edwin Garn, Washington, DC, 23 July 1986. [6] Interview with Garneau. [7] Interview with Byron K. Lichtenberg, Wellesley, MA, 19 Aug. 1986. [8] Telephone interview with Edward G. Gibson, 15 Aug. 1985. [9] Interview with Don L. Lind, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, 12 Nov. 1985. [10] Telephone interview with Alan L. Bean, 28 July 1986. [11] Telephone interview with Loren Acton, 15 July 1986. [12] “A Hero’s Words to Cherish,” Life, 9 March 1962, p. 4.

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[13] Interview with Bean. [14] Because of the force of gravity, it is as if this gravity well were actually 4000 miles deep! An excellent explanation of this concept appears in the National Commission on Space report, Pioneering the Space Frontier, Bantam Books, New York, 1986, p. 61. [15] Telephone interview with Sandra (“Sandy”) Magnus, 22 July 2013. [16] Planetary Collective, Overview [film], 2012, http://www.vimeo.com/55073825 [retrieved 29 May 2014]. [17] Interview with Garn. [18] Interview with Lind. [19] Excerpts from an audiotape of a radio interview conducted by Bob MacDonald, Conversations with the Christian Science Monitor, 10 Sept. 1985. [20] Telephone interview with Nicole P. Stott, 28 Dec. 2011. [21] Interview with Jeffrey A. Hoffman, NASA Johnson Space Flight Center, Houston, TX, 12 Nov. 1985. [22] Telephone interview with Eugene A. Cernan, 3 Dec. 1985. [23] Carpenter, M. S., et al., We Seven, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1962, p. 449. [24] Excerpt from cosmonaut Valentin Lebedev’s flight diary, Pravda, 15 Aug. 1983, p. 7. A number of excellent firsthand accounts of Soviet cosmonauts have been published in Soviet journals and newspapers. Excerpts used in this book were kindly provided to me by Marcia S. Smith, former executive director of the National Commission on Space and an expert on the Soviet program. [25] Interview with Magnus. [26] Ibid. [27] Carpenter, We Seven, p. 393. [28] Private talks to small groups, 2013. [29] Interview with Lichtenberg. [30] Telephone interview with John Herrington, 29 July 2013. [31] Interview with Cernan. [32] Walker, C., L-5 Society, Fourth Annual Conference on Space Development, Washington, DC, 27–28 April 1985. [33] Interview with Magnus. [34] Wolfe, S., The Obligation [Kindle book], 2012, http://www.theobligationbook.com [retrieved 29 May 2014]. [35] Wolfe, S., “The Overview Effect, Space Colonies, JFK and Rosa Parks: A Conversation with Frank White: Part I,” 13 Nov. 2013, http://www. theobligationbook.com/blog [retrieved 29 May 2014]. [36] Interview with Lind. [37] Interview with Edgar D. Mitchell, Palm Beach, FL, 18 Nov. 1986. [38] Wikipedia, Savikalpa, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/savikalpa [retrieved 29 May 2014]. [39] Ibid. [40] Chaikin, A., A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts, Penguin Books, New York, 1998. [41] Interview with Mitchell. [42] Telephone interview with Michael Lopez-Alegria, 5 Dec. 2013.

CHAPTER 4 [1] Gagarin, Y., and Lebedev, V., Survival in Space, Frederick Praeger, New York, p. 3. [2] Carpenter, M. S., et al., We Seven, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1962, p. 254. White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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[3] Ibid., p. 388. [4] Ibid., pp. 395–396. [5] Ibid., p. 450. [6] Ibid. [7] Lewis, R. S., Appointment on the Moon, Ballantine Books, New York, 1969, p. 227. [8] Ibid., p. 227. [9] Carpenter et al., 1962, p. 465. [10] “A Hero’s Words to Cherish,” Life, 9 March 1962, p. 4. [11] Press release, “Remarks of Senator John Glenn, Declaration of Candidacy for Re-election,” 19–20 Feb. 1986. [12] White, F., The New Camelot [Kindle book], 2012, http://tinyurl.com/lposvc32 [retrieved 29 May 2014]. [13] Ibid. [14] Ibid.

CHAPTER 5 [1] [2] [3] [4]

Telephone interview with Eugene A. Cernan, 3 Dec. 1985. Telephone interview with Russell L. Schweickart, 29 Oct. 1985. Furniss, T., Space Flight: The Records, Guinness Books, Enfield, UK, 1985, p. 122. Schweickart, R. L., No Frames, No Boundaries (film commentary), Creative Initiative/Beyond War, Palo Alto, CA. From Earth’s Answer: Explorations of Planetary Culture at the Lindesfarne Conferences, Lindesfarne/Harper & Row, West Stockbridge, MA, 1977. [5] Schweickart, 1977. [6] Interview with Cernan. [7] Collins, M., Carrying the Fire, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1974, p. 471. [8] Ibid., p. 470. [9] Telephone interview with Michael Collins, 17 Jan. 1986. [10] Cernan, E. A., “The Price of Being a Space Hero,” TV Guide, 13–19 April 1985, p. 4. [11] White, F. “The Overview Effect, Cosma Hypothesis, and Living in Space,” in Bell, S., and Morris, L. (eds.), Living in Space: Cultural and Social Dynamics, Opportunities and Challenges in Permanent Space Habitats, Aerospace Technology Working Group, 2009. [12] Gorman, F., “The Righteous Stuff,” Omni, May 1984, p. 48. [13] Ibid. [14] Interview with Edgar D. Mitchell, Palm Beach, FL, 18 Nov. 1986. [15] Interview with Cernan. [16] Cooper, H. S. F., A House in Space, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1976, pp. 166–167. [17] Ibid. [18] Ibid. [19] Ibid, pp. 136–137. [20] Telephone interview with Edward G. Gibson, 15 Aug. 1985. [21] Telephone interview with Gerald P. Carr, 6 Feb. 1986. [22] Interview with Gibson. [23] Fragile Oasis, http://www.fragileoasis.org [accessed 11 June 2014].

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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[24] Chaikin A., A Man on the Moon, Penguin, New York, 1994, p. 437. [25] University of Central Florida, Space, Science, and Spirituality, http://www.chdr.cah. ucf.edu/spaceandspirituality/index.php [retrieved 29 May 2014].

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CHAPTER 6 [1] Telephone interview with Eugene A. Cernan, 3 Dec. 1985. [2] Allen, J. P., “Diary of a Shuttle Launch,” Science Digest, Sept. 1984. [3] Allen, J. P., interview by Good Morning America, 12 Dec. 1984. [4] Walker, C., Speech, L-5 Society, Fourth Annual Conference on Space Development, Washington, DC, 27–28 April 1985. [5] “Discovery Due to Land in Calif. This Morning,” Boston Globe, 24 June 1985. [6] Telephone interview with Sandra Magnus, 22 July 2013. [7] Telephone interview with Charles D. Walker, 2 July 1985. [8] Telephone interview with Loren W. Acton, 15 July 1986. [9] Interview with Acton. [10] Interview with Acton. [11] Interview with Edwin Garn, Washington, DC, 23 July 1986. [12] Interview with Garn. [13] Telephone interview with Bill Nelson, 7 Aug 1986. [14] Interview with Nelson. [15] Telephone interview with Bonnie Dunbar, 19 Sept. 1997. [16] Interview with Al Sacco Jr., 14 Aug. 1997.

CHAPTER 7 [1] Interview with Edgar D. Mitchell, 18 Nov. 1986. [2] Interview with Mitchell. [3] Interview with Charles D. Walker, Seattle, WA, May 1986. [4] Telephone interview with Akihiko Hoshide, 29 April 2013. [5] Wikipedia, List of Space Travelers by Name, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ List_of_space_travelers_by_name [retrieved 29 May 2014] [6] “First Chinese Manned Space Shot Is ‘Not Far Off,’ Party Paper Says,” Boston Globe, 1 Sept. 1986, p. 4. [7] Details of all of these early flights are included in Tim Furniss, Space Flight: The Records, Guinness Books, Enfield, UK, 1985. It is an excellent source for readers who want to learn about the old Soviet program. [8] The Soviet experience on long-duration missions is consistent with the American Skylab experience; these appear to be cross-cultural issues. [9] Press release issued by the Association of Space Explorers, First Planetary Congress, Cernay, France, 2–6 Oct. 1985. [10] Telephone interview with Ronald J. Garan, Jr., 23 Sept. 2013. [11] Telephone interview with Nicole P. Stott, 28 Dec. 2011. [12] Telephone interview with Janice E. Voss, 9 Sept. 1997. [13] Telephone interview with Bonnie J. Dunbar, 19 Sept. 1997.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:35:21.

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CHAPTER 8 [1] Pardoe, G. K. C., The Future for Space Technology, Frances Pinter, Dover, NH, 1984, p. 64. [2] Ibid., p. 67. [3] Zraket, C., “Communications, the Information Society and Space,” Space Policy Seminar, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1986. [4] “Beyond Meetings: The Fluent Vision of Telecollaboration,” Unpublished paper by Frank White for Fluent Corp., June 1992. [5] Those who oppose it often oppose the technology as well. [6] Interview with Don L. Lind, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, 12 Nov. 1985. [7] Interview with Sir Richard Branson, New York City, 8 Nov. 2013. [8] Urthecast, http://www.urthecast.com [retrieved 29 May 2014]. [9] O’Driscoll, P., Lawlor, J., and Dunn, W., “Space Future: Trips to Mars, Moon Colony,” USA Today, 10 June 1986, p. 2A. [10] Telephone interview with Michael Collins, 17 Jan. 1986. [11] Earth System Sciences Committee, Earth System Science: A Preview, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, 1986. [12] Ibid. [13] Cox, B., and Cohen, A., Wonders of the Solar System, HarperCollins, London, 2011. [14] Sample, I., “Ocean Discovered on Enceladus May Be Best Place to Look for Alien Life,” The Guardian, 3 April 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/apr/ 03/ocean-enceladus-alien-life-water-saturn-moon [retrieved 29 May 2014]. [15] Lovelock, J. E., Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 1979, pp. 1–2. [16] Boyce, N. G., Galaxy Quest: Just How Many Earth-like Planets Are Out There? National Public Radio, 5 Nov. 2013, http://www.npr.org/2013/11/05/242991030/ galaxy-quest-just-how-many-earth-like-planets-are-out-there [retrieved 29 May 2014]. [17] Cox and Cohen. [18] Interview with Paul Blanchard, Washington, DC, 22 July 1986.

CHAPTER 9 [1] Collins, M., Carrying the Fire, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1974. [2] Telephone conversation with David Beaver, 28 Dec. 2013. [3] Originally published in 1962, Diffusion of Innovations, by Everett M. Rogers, is the classic in its field and is in its fifth edition (Free Press, Division of Simon & Schuster, New York, 2003). [4] Ibid. [5] Planetary Collective, Overview [film], 2012, http://www.vimeo.com/55073825 [retrieved 29 May 2014]. [6] The 1 to 100 Campaign, http://www.overviewinstitute.org/featured-articles [retrieved 29 May 2014]. [7] Telephone conversation with David Beaver, 28 Dec. 2013. [8] Rozek, M., “Bioflight,” Air & Space, June/July 1986, p. 84. [9] Ibid. [10] Telephone interview with Martin Rutte, 16 July 1986.

White, Frank. The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Third Edition, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=5056848. Created from qut on 2019-11-17 16:34:09.

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