On the 40th anniversary of the famous ‘Blue Marble’ photograph taken of Earth from space, Planetary Collective presents a short film documenting astronauts’ life-changing stories of seeing the Earth from the outside – a perspective-altering experience often described as the Overview Effect.

The Overview Effect, first described by author Frank White in 1987, is an experience that transforms astronauts’ perspective of the planet and mankind’s place upon it. Common features of the experience 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.

“When we look down at the Earth from space we see this amazing, indescribably beautiful planet – it looks like a living, breathing organism. But it also, at the same time, looks extremely fragile.”

– Ron Garan (quote from the film)


‘Overview’ is a short film that explores this phenomenon through interviews with five astronauts who have experienced the Overview Effect. The film also features insights from commentators and thinkers on the wider implications and importance of this understanding for society, and our relationship to the environment.

“This view of the Earth from space – the whole Earth perspective – is, I think, the true symbol of this age. I believe … there’s going to be a greater and greater interest in communicating this idea because, after all, it’s key to our survival. We have to start acting as one species with one destiny. We are not going to survive if we don’t do that.”

- Frank White (quote from the film)

‘Overview’ is a stand-alone short film, but also serves a prelude to Planetary Collective’s forthcoming feature documentary ‘Continuum’, due for release in 2013.

‘Continuum’ will explore this worldview even further, weaving together perspectives and ideas from some of the key theorists and thinkers in the fields of cosmology, environmentalism, sustainability, social theory and anthropology, telling the story of where we have come from, where we are now, and the possibilities for our future.