When you go around the Earth in an hour and a half, you begin to recognize that your identity is with that whole thing.

The Overview Effect (2016)

Portrait of Russell Schweickart

Russell Schweickart

Born: October 25, 1935

Russell Louis "Rusty" Schweickart is an American aeronautical engineer, and a former NASA astronaut, research scientist, U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, as well as a former business executive and government executive.

Schweickart was selected in 1963 for NASA's third astronaut group. He was the Lunar Module Pilot on the 1969 Apollo 9 mission, the first manned flight test of the lunar module, on which he performed the first in-space test of the portable life support system used by the Apollo astronauts who walked on the Moon. As backup Commander of the first manned Skylab mission in 1973, he was responsible for developing the hardware and procedures used by the first crew to perform critical in-flight repairs of the Skylab station. After Skylab, he served for a time as Director of User Affairs in NASA's Office of Applications.

Schweickart left NASA in 1977 to serve for two years as California Governor Jerry Brown's assistant for science and technology, then was appointed by Brown to California's Energy Commission for five and a half years, serving as chairman for three.

In 1984–85 he co-founded the Association of Space Explorers and later in 2002 co-founded the B612 Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to defending Earth from asteroid impacts, along with fellow former astronaut Ed Lu and two planetary scientists. He served for a period as its chair before becoming its chair emeritus.


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Marshall McLuhan

On Nature and Media

Marshall McLuhan explains the effects of accelerating communication speeds on human society.

Kevin Kelly

Technium Unbound

What comes after the Internet? What is bigger than the web? What will produce more wealth than all the startups to date? The answer is a planetary superorganism comprised of 4 billion mobile phones, 80 quintillion transistor chips, a million miles of fiber optic cables, and 6 billion human minds all wired together. The whole thing acts like a single organism, with its own behavior and character—but at a scale we have little experience with. This is more than just a metaphor. Kevin Kelly takes the idea of a global superorganism seriously by describing what we know about it so far, how it is growing, where its boundaries are, and what it will mean for us as individuals and collectively.

David Yaden

The Overview Effect

Viewing the Earth from space has often prompted astronauts to report overwhelming emotion and feelings of identification with humankind and the planet as a whole. In this article, we explore this experience, known as the “overview effect.” We examine astronaut accounts of the overview effect and suggest existing psychological constructs, such as awe and self-transcendent experience, that might contribute to a psychological understanding of this experience. We argue that the overview effect suggests directions for future research on altered states of consciousness in new contexts, with potential implications for better understanding well-being in isolated, confined, extreme (ICE) environments such as space flight.