December 2, 2019 0

Experience the Overview Effect with an astronaut [VR/360]

Experience the Overview Effect with an astronaut [VR/360]


The first picture of the Earth taken by humans, was taken by the crew of Apollo 8 flying behind the moon. For all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you. Bill Anders on board said : “I thought we were going to explore the Moon, and the most important thing we discovered is the Earth.” As a child, I was dreaming for real, at night, that I was flying in space. And during the day, as something I wanna do sometimes in my life. When I flew in space for the first time, I told myself: “Yes this is my child dream becoming true”. I am Jean-François Clervoy, I am an astronaut born in France, 60 years ago. We are here in the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, one of the most famous worldwide known observatory which actually served the Apollo program because thanks to the telescopes here we could choose the best place to land man on the moon. I flew three times in space onboard the Atlantis and Discovery for different missions for about 28 days all together. We call Overview Effect this very strong experience of astronauts watching the Earth from space. I have now in me that experience for ever and I can tell the story as if it was yesterday. An astronaut is an operator of complex machines in extreme environments. We go to operate machines. But, we fill naturally responsible to act as ambassadors of Earth after we have flown in space. And our role as ambassadors is to explain to the people on Earth that Earth is a spaceship. Wow, this is such a big telescope. Telescope Bernard Lyot, the famous one. Two meters. The first time I saw the Earth from space it was during my first flight. Only few minutes after take off, it takes only 8 and a half minutes to get into orbit. I unstrapp from my seat on the mid-deck. I look at France… Wow ! The Overview Effect strikes you right away. It’s sudden. My first impression of watching the Earth from space is: this is beautiful, this is alive, this is isolated. We see up to 2500 kms away so within few seconds, what you see is totally different from what you saw half minute before. It is beautiful! It is beautiful because the scene is very contrasted, it’s colorful. And because it is so extraordinary and fascinating you are moved, moved to the point that you cry. And then, I looked at the horizon because I wanted to see the atmosphere from aside. The atmosphere has the thickness of a sheet of paper. This is when I realize that life is fragile. The Overview Effect is the strongest experience to make people understand that we are unique in the universe. We, the Earth, and the life on Earth. And that’s why we need to protect our planet, its environment and the conditions that make life possible in a sustainable way. We are all crewmembers of spaceship Earth. Not passenger! A passenger wait for people to take care of you, but a crew member has a responsibility in managing the spaceship. Good luck and God bless all of you. All of you on the good Earth.

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