According to sources, scientists are about to attempt to recreate the “Overview Effect” that some astronauts have reported in the past after seeing the Earth from outer space for the first time. The recreation of this intense emotional experience will be aimed at during a clinical trial participated by roughly 100 volunteers. The researchers involved in the trial will use a waterproof VR headset, half tonne of Epsom salts, and a flotation tank to reproduce the Overview Effect from the comfort of a health spa. The participants will be randomly assigned to either have VR while lying on a bed, to float without VR, or have the full floatation tank VR experience.
“There is a lot of polarization and division and disconnection between people. We would like to see if we can reproduce the Overview Effect on the Earth to have an impact on those issues,” said principal investigator on the trial and a psychologist at the University of Missouri, Steven Pratscher.
Volunteers to be given VR headset and asked to enter dark floatation tank
“It may be able to elicit these mystical experiences to some degree, and I am curious to know if they have persisting effects, for instance on behaviors and values of people, especially with respect to how people see the environment and the Earth, and the things they do that may impact the environment,” said Pratscher.
Participants will wear the VR headset to be used in the trial and get into a salt-laden, dark flotation tank at Missouri’s Clarity Float spa. The sensation of floating in space will be mimicked by the buoyancy and silence in the tank as the VR headset plays 360-degree, HD immersive video recorded by US-based immersive and innovative technology startup SpaceVR. Pratscher is not expecting every person using the setup to experience the Overview Effect. However, Pratscher hopes the trial will encourage people to live in more harmony and do more to protect the environment and save the planet.