Research Projects

Edgar Mitchell Virtual Reality Overview Experience

Cassandra Vieten, PhD, Loren Carpenter
Status: In Progress

The main aim of this project is to create a virtual reality experience that allows people to have a personal and profound encounter with the “Overview Effect” that Edgar Mitchell and other astronauts have reported experiencing while in space. We are developing a 5-7 minute full-immersion virtual reality experience that mimics the “Overview Effect,” with rare archival narration from Edgar himself along with NASA original audio. Not only will people have the opportunity to experience the Edgar Mitchell Virtual Reality Overview Experience at IONS EarthRise Campus, but we will make this available to educators who either have access to a VR station or can facilitate kids using their smartphones simultaneously in the classroom to have a mobile version of this experience. We will pair this with an educational module with a video intro, follow-up questions for class discussion, journaling prompts, and resources for further exploration. Our goal is to induce awe, introduce people to the concept and experience of interconnectedness, and pique their interest in learning more about worldview, consciousness, and IONS.

In addition, we will conduct experiments to measure the effects of this experience on people’s sense of awe, sense of self, compassion, and extended capacities. A stellar team has been assembled to complete this project, including IONS scientist and two-time Oscar-winning co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios Loren Carpenter and IONS Chairman Claudia Welss (executive producers); Senior IONS Fellow, project lead, and producer Cassandra Vieten; Emmy-award winning and Oscar-nominated director/producer Bristol Baughan; and the award-winning creators of the VR Apollo 11, based in Ireland, ImmersiveVR Education (VR experience programmers). Original narration is by Edgar Mitchell, IONS founder and NASA astronaut, Apollo 14.

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