The experience that transforms an astronaut’s perspective of our planet Earth and mankind’s purpose and place upon it is referred to as the overview effect. The term was first used by Frank White in 1987. Astronauts, who were lucky enough to make this incredible experience, mentioned a shift of perspective related to our planet Earth and the importance of the actions of human-beings. They spoke about the emergence of a profound understanding of how valuable life and our planet really are and they mentioned a deep sense of connection and a newly discovered responsibility towards Earth and everything it offers.
As all NASA-websites went offline and 97% of all employees have been placed on administrative leave since the US government shutdown, fans of gorgeous space photos now need to look for alternatives. Fortunately, we Europeans have an own space agency exploring outer space and the earth while diligently taking photos. Of the numerous projects of the European Space Agency, Observing the Earth and Space in Images seem to be most interesting to us photographers. The first one is a huge image archive of the earth from orbit, which has been updated by one new photo on a weekly basis since 2005 now. The photos that have been taken by satellites in the course of various research missions are not merely scientifically valuable thanks to extensive explanatory notes, but also stunningly beautiful and highly informative. Here’s a little foretaste: