Monday, May 28, 2018

Tenth Anniversary of Overview Institute Founding

Ten years ago, David Beaver, Alex Howerton, and I announced the establishment of the Overview Institute at the International Space Development Conference in Washington, DC.

Our goal was to create an organization that would be responsible for conducting research on the Overview Effect, sharing our findings with the world, and advocating for its importance in addressing critical world problems.

We had 22 founding members at the time, all of them outstanding leaders in their respective fields.

I think we have made some good progress in achieving our mission, but there is much more to do.

For example, we have recently seen the establishment of the Overview Institute of Australia and the Overview European Forum.

In subsequent blogs, I am going to try to do a systematic review of our accomplishments over the past 10 years and also look ahead to the next 10.

Copyright, Frank White, 2018, All Rights Reserved

The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution is available at and 

The New Camelot: the Quest for the Overview Effect is available at Apogee Prime

Friday, February 16, 2018

New space philosophy website announcement

I am very pleased to be working with Dylan Taylor and Rick Tumlinson on the launch of the new space philosophy website, Here is the full press release;

Contact Information: Frank White

For Immediate Release
February 15, 2018

Why do we go into space?
New Website Opens Discussion of Space Philosophy

(Denver, CO, February 15, 2018): Within 20 years or less, we expect that the first humans will be living in space, from the Moon to Mars and even beyond. is the planet’s first open source platform dedicated to creating the philosophy for the opening of the space environment to humanity. Founded by well-known space leaders Dylan Taylor, Rick Tumlinson, and Frank White, 2211 is designed to encourage conversations about the “Why?” of the human expansion beyond the Earth.

“We’ve been exploring space for over 50 years and it’s time we had a discussion about why we are doing it and how we will shape it,” said Dylan Taylor, global executive, Co-Founder of the Space Angels investment group and of Space For Humanity. “Opening space is about more than science and engineering. It’s about people, life, and our human future.”

The name raises the question of what life will look like 250 years after the famous flight of Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961. The flight, part of a Cold War “space race” between two governments, culminated with humans walking on the Moon more than 50 years ago – and once the race was won, seems to many to have led nowhere. After the explosion of the shuttle Challenger in 1986, Tom Wolfe, author of The Right Stuff appeared on television and said, “We have never had a philosophy of space exploration.”

“We need a system of fundamental principles and ideas to guide us as we migrate into the solar system,” said Frank White, author of the seminal book, The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, in which he made an early call for a philosophy of space exploration, citing the Wolfe comment. “In this new Space Age, we need to be very clear on ‘Why’ we are going, as that will determine how we go and what the end result will be. If we are to avoid mistakes that have been made on terrestrial frontiers, this is the moment in history to have that conversation.”

The Founders of 2211 believe that humanity needs to develop a set of core principles as we begin the human expansion outward. There are scores of questions to be answered about both why we are going and how we will act when we are out there.  There are high-level guiding concepts such as: What is the relationship between science, exploration, and settlement?  What are the roles of the world’s governments, militaries, and the laws of Earth? Each of these opens other discussions. For example, how do we treat alien life, how do we treat each other, who has what rights and what are they?

 “The last wave of exploration of the new worlds of Earth was about government and commercial exploitation, and while these will be involved, we have the chance right now to change the context in which it occurs, and to define what we want the outcome to be.” said Tumlinson, founder of the Space Frontier Foundation, Deep Space Industries, and one of the leaders of the commercial space revolution. “We are engaged in an act of creation. We can make this next chapter of human life about anything we want. For example, imagine if our motivation was to spread life to the dead worlds of space. How would it feel to be part of a culture with that as its driving goal?”

While the Founders of 2211 believe government bodies are important in setting the rules and laws that manage our interactions, they feel that philosophical principles need to  be in place that guide those governments, ideas that transcend governments and that have not been set for the space environment. At this moment in time, space has no borders, no governments, and only a minimal legal order. In the past, the voices of Voltaire, Jefferson, and the others whose ideas helped inform policies and the creation of new forms of government and the culture of today were easily available to thinkers and decision makers, but in today’s world such ideas are scattered across a thousand platforms and publications. hopes to give them a home.

From Elon Musk to Jeff Bezos building their own spacecraft, to NASA, ESA, and the Chinese planning  settlements and villages on the Moon, to private space station and asteroid mining companies planning their first missions and facilities, the human expansion into the solar system is already underway. The founders of 2211.World believe that this marks the beginning of a spacefaring civilization. The new website offers all of us a place to think and talk through how we are going to shape this historic moment. Like , space is a blank slate where new ideas and concepts can be tested and tried and old ideas can evolve in novel ways.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A New Space Philosophy Website

Anyone who has been following my writings for the past 30-40 years knows that I have been advocating the development of a "philosophy of space exploration," a rigorous analysis of human purpose in the universe.

In fact, that was one of the primary motivating factors in writing The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, and it the essence of my new book, The Cosma Hypothesis.

Well, thanks to Dylan Taylor, we now have a website,, devoted to establishing a new space exploration philosophy.

If you are interested in this topic, I urge you to check out the site and add your thoughts to it.

Here is the link:

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye to the 30th Anniversary Year

This year was many things to many people. Each of us had our own experience that made it special. For me, it was the fact that November of 2017 marked the 30th anniversary of the publication of The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution. Looking back, I am grateful for so many people and things that have been part of those 30 years.

Although the book has never been a best-seller, it has been steady and has grown in notoriety over the years. I am deeply grateful that the current publisher AIAA, has seen fit to publish the second and third editions, and have now approved a fourth edition.

I am also deeply grateful to Felix Hoch, Hans Gubbels, Mischa Horninge, and Govert Derix, who organized the Overview Symposium in Kerkrade, the Netherlands. I gave the keynote address at the event and it was a fitting way to celebrate the "birthday" of The Overview Effect.

Of course, I am also appreciative of my friends and colleagues at the Overview Institute, especially David Beaver and Alex Howerton, who have been supporting and promoting the Overview Effect for the past 10 years. In fact 2017 was the 10th anniversary of the inaugural Overview Effect conference, held in Washington, DC, as part of the annual Space Frontier Foundation conference.

Looking ahead, we can anticipate a number of other anniversaries.

For example, it will be the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission in 1968. This marked the first time we had really seen the whole Earth from space and it was also the moment when we first saw "Earthrise" as our home planet seemed to rise above the moon. It will also be the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Overview Institute, which took place at the International Space Development Conference in Washington, DC.

Looking back at all that has happened in the past 30 years, I am excited about the next 30!

Copyright, Frank White, 2017, All Rights Reserved

The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution is available at and 

The New Camelot: the Quest for the Overview Effect is available at Apogee Prime

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


My friend and colleague Dylan Taylor wants us to adopt a different way of thinking about space exploration and development. Instead of "Old Space" and "New Space," he suggests we talk about "Goodspace." (1)

To state it simply, Dylan points out that "Old Space" companies can do good things and "New Space" companies can do bad things. So we should look at what happens in outer space the way we look at what happens on Earth: is it good or bad, for humanity and for the environment?

Thus, Dylan's concern is not Old Space and New Space per se, but all false dichotomies that are neither relevant nor essential. In his essay, he says:

"I would like to offer a new term to describe what I do think is relevant and essential, 'Goodspace.'
 It represents a way of thinking about the world and humanity. Do you believe that the world is inherently cruel, people are selfish and resources fixed and scarce? Or do you believe that the best of humanity thrives on collaboration, that our best days as a species lie ahead of us, and that we can grow the pie for the benefit of everyone?" (2)

Ultimately, ways of thinking shape ways of acting. Goodspace is an optimistic perspective that we can carry outward into the solar system as we occupy a vastly larger ecosystem than humanity has known in the past. It is an exciting opportunity, but one we can fail to use effectively if we have the wrong worldview.

In Dylan's words:

"Going forward, I would encourage all of us to think of space, not in terms of old and new, big and small, government and commercial. Think of it in terms of mentality. Is it optimistic? Is it visionary for what our potential as a species can be? Is it Goodspace? I believe this is the prism we should evaluate space activities through and this should be the standard we hold ourselves to in terms of our personal allocation of time and resources." (3)

I couldn't agree more. Thank you, Dylan.

(1)  Unpublished essay shared with the author, 2017.
(2)  Ibid.
(3)  Ibid.

Copyright, Frank White, 2017, All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A New Initiative

I want everyone to know that I am participating in a new initiative to bring strategic communications services to entrepreneurial space companies. Brodeur Partners, a communications firm located in Boston, has recently launched the Brodeur Space Group, and I will be working with them as a senior consultant.

We will be holding a free webinar on communications challenges for entrepreneurial space companies on October 18 at 1 pm EST. All are invited and you can register here:

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Overview Effect for Children

I wanted to let everyone know about this project, which is being created by Hidde Hoogcarspel in the Netherlands. If you are interested in supporting this work, please get in touch with Hidde at

This is his description of the project:

Space Project
This project is an initiative together with André Kuipers . Wubbo Ockels In his last words, he has shown the core of what we want to achieve very well:

This concept is called 'overview effect' and causes astronauts to fundamentally change their worldview. The term and concept were coined in 1987 by Frank White, who explored the theme in his book The Overview Effect. Research has shown that their mindset has changed significantly since their return to the Earth, with consequent consequences for their attitude and behavior.

The idea is to convey this 'overview effect' to children by actually launching them through virtual and augmented reality so that they can see the planet from space. This creates a generation that has a fundamentally different look and feel to our planet and is capable of being in her splendor for the coming ages.

The reason we want this is that one of the biggest challenges we face regarding our planet is not the development or deployment of the latest technology. We have never been so knowledgeable and innovative. The biggest challenge is whether we are able to fundamentally change our mindset, attitude and behavior. This has proved to be one of the most rebellious things.

Our approach is therefore complementary to initiatives such as the Plastic Soup. They focus on the use of the latest technology to restore what caused man. We have the ambition to reduce the causative behavior of people by constantly changing their mindset. One of the world's most inspiring experiences is the basis for this.

Latest VR / AR technology combined with an education program
Multi-media agency Media Monks develops the Overview effect experience. They specialize in virtual and augmented reality productions. To make it practical and achievable for all children, we create a spaceship / rocket on a durable truck / trailer with moveable chairs and the latest 3D virtual reality headsets. This rocket goes free along the schools, with an education program developed (training, experience, feedback) to ensure that the impact is as high as possible and lasting.

Millions of children worldwide
After consultation with schools and education experts, we have chosen children in group 7 (age range 10 to 11 years) because scientific research shows that children of this age start to think about this type of business.
The concept is developed that it is relatively easy to roll out country for country. The concept will be open source and available free of charge. André will give a presentation to his colleague astronauts at the annual meeting of astronauts this year in France. He will therefore call on other astronauts to embark locally as ambassadors.

Our concrete goal is to fully develop and fund one project in the Netherlands (required: EUR 800,000). However, the concept is open source and will be made available for free so that it can be rolled out worldwide. 

The 'overview effect' foundation will be established as ANBI status (Public Benefit Organisation), making donations deductible.

On November 11th we will officially present the entire project in the Ziggo Dome at the multimedia show of Andre Kuipers. We would like to make an appointment with anyone who is interested to further explain the project.

What makes this project different?

Numerous global initiatives focus on implementing the latest technology and science to restore the effects of human behavior. The Plastic Soup Project cleans up oceans, polluted by our own human actions. The WWF and the likes focuses on restoring rainforest and protection of animals, destroyed by human populations.

Our project has a different angle: we have the ambition to create a fundamental shift in mindset, attitude and behavior by using one of history’s most impactful experiences: the overview effect. Therefor helping millions of children worldwide to find a different angle, mindset and attitude in living and keeping our small, little but very precious planet.

Our partners
We are very happy and proud that we found Andre Kuipers and Bas Beerens to stand behind our initiative. Both are examples of persons being personally inspired by their dreams that seemed unreachable. One was the dream of becoming one of the world's 550 astronauts, the other creating a tool used in every country of the world. Both persons are also known for their profound knowledge and expertise in inspiring people to change their view and behaviour in the world we live in.

Helen Kuipers, André's wife, and Zoran van Gessel (founder Bencis) made themselves available to the board of the foundation. Bas Beerens (founder of Wetransfer) has embraced the project and, for the time being, together with André is the Committee of Recommendation. Both for the Board and for the Recommendation Committee we are looking for further details and coordination with sponsors and stakeholders.