Sunday, September 13, 2015

Is Experiencing the Overview Effect a Human Right?

Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, I have been developing the theory of the Overview Effect, and thinking about this phenomenon. The profundity of the spaceflight experience continues to impress me, and draws me further into its examination. Now, many others have joined in this effort, for which I am very grateful.

Somewhere along the way, it occurred to me that if the Overview Effect is so important, everyone should have the opportunity to experience it, not just astronauts or those who can buy a ticket on a commercial flight. In fact, given the positive results that might accrue from large numbers of people having the experience, it seems that it is almost an obligation to find ways to make that to happen.
Options today are limited, but in the future, there will be a number of private carriers willing and able to give people a taste of the Overview Effect, and there will also be virtual reality journeys into orbit and beyond. Providing the experience to everyone will no longer be an impossible dream.

Therefore, I think it is appropriate to ask, "Is experiencing the Overview Effect a human right? If so, why; if not, why not?" This is, I think, a very important aspect of developing a philosophy of space exploration, one of the tasks I set for myself when I wrote The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution. Rather than answering the question here, I would rather open it to a dialogue among all those who care about these kinds of issues.

If you are interested in this topic, but know very little about it, you might want to read the book, which is available at: or

Saturday, September 5, 2015

SETI Goes Mainstream

            Within a couple of days of one another, two announcements helped to bring the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) into the mainstream media in a big way.

            The first told us that a Russian billionaire, with the support of well known cosmologist Stephen Hawking, would be putting $100 million into the search, with a focus on scanning a million stars for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations. “Breakthrough Listen” represents a major step forward in funding for SETI.

            The second told us that the search for exoplanets had found a “cousin” to the Earth, though not quite a twin.

            I say that SETI went mainstream, because I heard these announcements discussed not only on National Public Radio but also on a sports radio talk show!

            This is part of a trend of greater interest in news about space exploration, and although SETI is not always considered part of that endeavor, it really should be.

            SETI is also related to the Overview Effect, because I use Overview theory in my book to predict creation of three different civilizations on the Earth and beyond, one of which is Galaxia. This civilization involves contact with ET, and the development of a galactic civilization. According to the theory, it also involves having an “overview” of our galaxy, comparable to the overview we have achieved with our home planet.