Space Euphoria: Do Our Brains Change When We Travel in Outer Space?

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May 20, 2008

Space Euphoria: Do Our Brains Change When We Travel in Outer Space?

903220_big_2 In February, 1971, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell experienced the little understood phenomenon sometimes called the “Overview Effect”. He describes being completely engulfed by a profound sense of universal connectedness. Without warning, he says, a feeing of bliss, timelessness, and connectedness began to overwhelm him. He describes becoming instantly and profoundly aware that each of his constituent atoms were connected to the fragile planet he saw in the window and to every other atom in the Universe. He described experiencing an intense awareness that Earth, with its humans, other animal species, and systems were all one synergistic whole. He says the feeling that rushed over him was a sense of interconnected euphoria. He was not the first—nor the last—to experience this strange “cosmic connection”.

Rusty Schweikart experienced it on March 6th 1969 during a spacewalk outside his Apollo 9 vehicle: “When you go around the Earth in an hour and a half, you begin to recognize that your identity is with that whole thing. That makes a change…it comes through to you so powerfully that you’re the sensing element for Man.” Schweikart, similar to what Mitchell experienced, describes intuitively sensing that everything is profoundly connected.

Their experiences, along with dozens of other similar experiences described by other astronauts, intrigue scientists who study the brain. This “Overview Effect”, or acute awareness of all matter as synergistically connected, sounds somewhat similar to certain religious experiences described by Buddhist monks, for example. Where does it come from and why?

Andy Newberg, a neuroscientist/physician with a background in spacemedicine, is learning how to identify the markers of someone who hasexperienced space travel. He says there is a palpable difference in someone who has been in space, and he wants to know why. Newberg
specializes in finding the neurological markers of brains in states of altered consciousness: Praying nuns, transcendental mediators, and others in focused or "transcendent" states.

Newberg can actually pinpoint regions in subjects' gray matter that correlate to these circumstances, and now he plans to use his expertise to find how and why the Overview Effect occurs. He is setting up advanced neurological scanning instruments that can head into space to study--live--the brain functions of space travelers. If this Overview Effect is a real, physiological phenomenon—he wants to watch it unfold.

Newberg's first test subject will not be an astronaut, but rather a civilian. Reda Andersen will be leaving the planet with Rocketplane Kistler. She says, that as one of the world's first civilian space adventurers, she is more than happy to let Andy scan her brain if it can help unlock the mystery. Why do astronauts all seem to experience a profound alteration of their perceptions when entering space, and will it happen for Rita and the other civilian explorers as well?

After decades of study and contemplation about his experience, Ed Mitchell believes that the feeling of “oneness” with the Universe that he and others have experienced is a consequence of little understood quantum physics.

In a recent interview with writer Diana deRegnier of American Chronicle, Mitchell explains how the event changed his life and his entire perspective on the world and how each of us fits into the grand scale of the cosmos.

“Four hundred years ago. the philosopher Rene Descartes came to the conclusion that physicality, spirituality, mind and body belonged to different realms of reality that didn't interact. Now, that served the purpose to get the Inquisition off the backs of the intellectuals so they could disagree on material things with the church and without the fear of being burned at the stake. So that ended that, but it did cause, for four hundred years, science to consider consciousness and mind a subject for philosophy and religion and not a subject for science.

Now, one of the things that happened, in the 1940s, was the mathematician, physicist, Norbert Wiener (MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for the first time really defined information as the negative of entropy, and entropy as the idea of the universe is running down and wastes energy. But, Wiener defined information as the negative of entropy, and that's wonderful but it didn't go far enough.”

Mitchell says that in an attempt to fill in some of the missing gap, the 2008 revised edition of his book The Way of the Explorer explores the largely ignored science of human consciousness. Using what he calls the “dyadic model” he outlines the “two faces” of energy. “Instead of being two separate things, it's the energy as the basis of our existence in matter. And, it’s the basis of our knowing and information,” Mitchell explains.

“We had not had, in science, a definition of consciousness. The only definition of consciousness from the dictionary is that at its basic level it is awareness. Consciousness means to be aware, and then we have different levels of consciousness depending upon how complex the substance is. It has been demonstrated many times over in laboratories that basic awareness is demonstrable at the level of plants, at simple bacteria, at simple life forms.

This is done with Faraday cages. It's shown that this information at this deep level, at the quantum level, can transcend electromagnetic theory. And, now we're getting into quantum physics and we don´t want to go there at this point. But it's a very fundamental notion that awareness is at the very basis of things.”

Mitchell believes that perhaps both the theologians and scientists have missed the mark.

“All I can suggest to the mystic and the theologian is that our gods have been too small; they fill the universe. And to the scientist all I can say is that the gods do exist; they are the eternal, connected, and aware Self experienced by all intelligent beings.'

In response to DeRegnier questioning whether or not Mitchell believes in the idea of God, he responds that while he does not believe in the traditional “grandfather figure” version of God, “we do have great mystery about what is the origin of the universe, how it came to be. There's a great deal of question as to whether the big bang is the correct answer to the way the universe arose, and under what auspices and conditions. I don't think we have the full answers to that yet. Hopefully in due course we'll be able to find a much better way to describe all this.”

But while Mitchell does not claim to know how to perfectly interpret his experience, he is certain that it was a glimpse into a largely ignored reality: People, places and things are all more closely connected than they sometimes appear. He also mentions the need for better stewardship of our precious planet.

“The great thinker Buckminster Fuller, philosopher, now deceased but for a goodly portion of the twentieth century, pointed out at the beginning of our space exploration that we are the crew of ‘space ship earth’. But we 're a crew of mutiny and how can you run a space ship with a mutinous crew?”

Posted by Rebecca Sato

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Full Interview Link:


Amazing. There seems to be many ways to achieve this sense of connectedness to all things. I hear more and more of this everyday. From brain tumor induced to space to meditation. I strive to one day get this sense. I WISH with all my being that each and everyone of us does. I think that would unite us like no other cause or common foe could ever hope to do. Even the pursuit of such an experience can do nothing but improve the way we treat each other. We must stop believing that we are the privileged "race" "nation" "religion" "species" ect ect and ultimately that we are a privileged individual in the sense that we matter more than any other. WE ARE ALL IMPORTANT, human, animal, tree, microbe ect. We are all connected! Ego is the most 'evil' destructive force that we as humans have to deal with and expunge!


It's called LSD.

And for those of us who don't have access to spacecraft, there is DMT.

This is a bunch of crap! nobody is connected. We are all seperate...and the universe is dead and doesn't even care.

Well the knowledge of Gods is simple, but it is also simply beyond our reach; it is understanding everything exactly as it truly exists. We, being human, can only interpret things from our point of view. Regardless of how close our interpretation is to reality; it is still only an interpretation, a perspective.

John Durgan
I sure hope you dont mean that. Because denying the existence of something you have not experienced as of yet hinders your ability ever to experience anything you have already supposedly discredited.

Correction my comment was for Glen

Glen you are wrong from a physicists point of view. On an atomic scale we are very much connected and there is nothing really to separate one atom/molecule from another, no matter who/what they "belong" to.

All objects we humans categorize is just that, categorizations we have made in correlation to our understanding of language (also connected to our shallow use of mathematics as a tool for exchanging items with aphysical value attached to them). Perhaps it is time we rethink our approach.

The universe is "dead" to the exact proportion you are, if the universe is dead then so are you (and your consciousness).

Your world view sounds awfully bright and cheery Glen. Keep up that stone cold 'realist' view, and keep fueling it with the dogmatic fervor par a Branch Davidian.

Next time try using the 'Subjective Experience' and 'Absolutely Absolutist Statement' word filters on your comments. Some day you might have a profound experience such as this astronaut (or those who indulge in entheogens, meditation, etc.) and change your mind. To say such demeaning and absolutist statements is very naive and ignorant.

Hey John Durgan, did you vote for Bush? Just wondering...

I will agree with you that he is wrong in the human interpretation of the physical world, but that once again, is simply a perspective.

You can actually simmulate these feelings with magnetic stimulation.
Of a part of the pre frontal cortex .

This is stale news, known for years
I just red a part of one of his articles. A holistic blabla boiling down to a dualistic view of the word.
creationism in a new and inproved QUANTUM disguise ...

This sounds like Newtypes from Mobile Suit Gundam.

lol, my first thoughts were along the lines of Adam's and George's. However, I do believe that we get such introspective mindstates due to some reason, and I think that what this article is somewhat describing has to do with it.

For those who want to experience this on Earth, there is 2c-b.

I think I felt something similar to this briefly once (with some meditation). It feels great, like you can split into trillions of pieces and float away and everything would be just fine. Definitely euphoric, and it does change your perspective.

imagine doing lsd or dmt in space!!


Come on Septicmadman. Learn to spell (simulate, read, world, improved) and speak in complete sentences. Your post was nothing but babble, or "blabla" in your language. You can't just spout off some half coherent thoughts and expect communication to occur. You've wasted your time and ours.

You guys are a bunch of idiot wack-o morons with your know nothing phsyics speak. What do you know of matter and the seperation between 'things' and this so called connectedness. You don't know S**T!! Completely're all alone you idiots.

Why do you care 'Dr.' Glen? If you don't want to recognize obvious truths then don't, but you don't need to berate others' beliefs.

not much euphoria in here is there

Just stumbled here, nice post!

After reading about Edgar Mitchell's experiances it reminded me of when i used to take extasy pills regulary

Why do I care??! Because I do. Because not all astronauts make it back safely home to this earth that they are supposedly connected to. A lot of them end up being blown to kingdom come in mid flight, b/c of our governments ineptitude. And these astronauts leave their bereaved love ones behind to struggle on alone. So, ask me again why I care, b/c I care more than you can possibly know.

First of all, I have to declare that I am no philosopher and I have no religion background. Maybe I was influenced by some books or articles I've read when I was a kid. Somehow I believe that all matters in the universe started with a very simple rule, it is we who are too complicated to understand the fundamentals because we tend to think in the opposite direction.

Something like this may be able to help us (in Simplified Chinese):

or here (in English):

What an awful article. This is just one of those articles where the writer has learnt a few words and phrases that scientists use and then decided to employ them without taking the time to learn what they actually mean. In this article, 'quantum theory', 'consciousness' and 'entropy' are thrown around with gay abandon. I won't even begin to go into the author's total lack of knowledge about current research into Neuroinformatics and other related disciplines.

Serendepidity of being; that sums it up. If we really were that connected to the world like Buddha and their equivalents in the past present and future; then most things in the world are likely our fault due to indifference and ineptitude to the world. It should also be noted that humanity should take credit for at least some success in the planasphere at the moment.

Thanks for posting. The image of the man in front of the glowing circle looks amazing! Where is it from? Are there more?

Thanks for posting. The image of the man in front of the glowing circle looks amazing! Where is it from? Are there more?

That pic is from the movie "Sunshine" where a team of astronauts fly to the sun to re-ignite it to save the world. Good flick.



I have been studying Buddhism for the past 15 months. Growing up Christian, I can truly say that I am so glad I found Buddhism. The philosophy of Buddhism explains many of the questions I had about the universe, and ultimately myself. I highly recommend that anyone interested in exploring their spirituality head to the book store and pick up several books on Buddhism. The philosophy and the meditation have had very positive effects on me.

I had a similar experience after meditating and taking magic mushrooms.

Studies are being done now that give terminally ill people psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) because of the same exact effect described in the article: a feeling of connection with the universe that makes one overcome any fear of death.

Very strange. There are psychologists that have been aware of this since at least the 70s. Dr. R.A. Wilson discusses both the why and how(somewhat) of these experiences in his book "Prometheus Rising".

Life wants to spread and we are the mechanism for life to spread into space. We already have the brain curcuits for it but they ussually don't activate except in space or while under the effects of certain psycotropic substances.


It is interesting how people can read this and have a closed mind to these ideas then make closed minded statements proably still believe the world is flat

"We had not had, in science, a definition of consciousness. The only definition of consciousness from the dictionary is that at its basic level it is awareness. Consciousness means to be aware, and then we have different levels of consciousness depending upon how complex the substance is. It has been demonstrated many times over in laboratories that basic awareness is demonstrable at the level of plants, at simple bacteria, at simple life forms."

I think that a brilliant new conception of consciousness is now beginning to emerge, thanks to Integral theories such as Ken Wilber's, which are able to fully acknowledge both subjective and objective aspects of consciousness, without reducing one to the other, while also accounting for our intersubjective and objective-systemic dimensions.

Here is a great introduction to Integral theory, which i truly believe to be one of the most significant advancements beyond traditional, modern, and postmodern philosophies:

The amazing thing is that so few people know about these experiences even though thousands have them. I have met people who have had similar experiences (practically identical) through meditation, drugs, sex and head injuries. Sangharakshita (if I spelt it right) calls it the Mystic experience. See Aldous Huxley, William Blake, Lalla, the Tao Teh Ching, the Dharmapada, Anthony de Mello, Cardin, and hundreds more. I felt it through meditation and drugs 14 years ago and it is still the most important thing that ever happened to me.
Quantum mechanics and string theory seem to be leading us as a society there now.
Thanks for the post.

A Map of Everything:

I have a sense there are a few here who would really enjoy this sort of non-reductionistic "theory of everything" approach. The basic idea is that, in some sense, everyone is right in their depictions of reality--but at the same time, everyone is extremely partial in those very same depictions, inevitably leaving out some very important features and perspectives on our universe. Some are more right than others, some are more partial than others, but everyone fits in somewhere, somehow.... And here is a very loose map that, astonishingly, can account for and connect-the-dots between absolutely every aspect and product of human knowledge.

I've experienced that sort of interconnectedness on several occasions. I'm taking Seroquel now.

Seriously, it sounds like mania brought on by the stress of a high work load in an unforgiving environment.

MEHER BABA's book GOD SPEAKS - This is the link and explanantion Ed Mitchell is searching for...

We are all connected.

It is a possibility to have the feeling of being an individual. But being an individual, is in breech with the law of conservation of energy and momentum.

For instance: In a dream state of being it is possible to dream walking down a beech, seeing the sand, water, the waves, a ship etc. This is also possible in the awake state of being.

In as well the dream state and the awake state of being, it is possible to have the feeling of being an individual, having the feeling the beach, the sand are solid, the water liquid etc.

Yet the dream state of being, the beach, water etc. can only be in one place. In the mind.

This also applies for the awake state of being. As in both cases, it is with-in consciousness that energy is transformed in to an illusionary reality/world.

That it is all illusions, the rainbow will do. Energy moves in wavelike patterns. These patterns are expressed in Herz. That part which is visible is in general the colors of the rainbow. Yet this electromagnetic pattern also contains frequencies such as gamma-, radio-, x-rays etc. These are not experienced commonly, so the language and thus judgments/opinions in use are also based in general on the visible part of this spectrum.

To give ratio. The electro-magnetic spectrum have the size of the Empire State building, the part humans are sensitive to, is the size of a grain of sand.

Much humans are simply unaware of.

Both in the dream state as in the awake state there is the experience that there are 'solid objects', yet from science we know that this to be untrue.

It is all energy, but what energy exactly is, is unknown.

I think that we all feel this sensation of connectedness here and there in life. As an artist I have found this feeling in the similarity of images that I save for art purposes. For example from science graphic representations of atoms/molecules to planets and the solar system. From cells of the body (all small living individuals) to people/animals etc. walking down the street. It is especially easy and obvious to feel at a planatarium show. These days computer graphics really give the sense of perspective and movement from the point of view of solar objects etc. As our ego learns to accept our place in the scheme of things I think it falls into a corrected balance with all the Universe. And don't forget the roller coaster ride. I feel it there too. Weeeeeee!!!!!!!
Purhaps peace will be an acceptable choice attitude on Earth as our species stops telling from the ego first. If our political military social ego could be kept busy with real troubles like earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanic activity...we would never have time to make war. If our consciousness is aware that an asteroid is coming to pulverize the earth into mass extinction then who has time for religious fighting. Perhaps there will be star trek and not star wars. If we go into space togeather and not on our own and alone.

Or maybe not...just think/feeling.
check out my art please

Many interesting posts and good insight.
I must agree, like it or not that we are all connected. Be it physics, classic or quantum, spirituality, drugs, or anything else that might get you there, there is undoubtedly greater reality that many have experienced on different levels and that an overwhelming majority that are ignorant to it. I have never been religious or spiritual in my whole life, but now I have found meditation and yoga and I will never ever stop awakening to my greater self and the greater reality among us.
The awakening is coming. Ultimate reality isn't hiding from us, because we're all already a part of it. It's just waiting for us to come back to it. (Some might call 'it' God, others Peace, Light, Love, Bliss, Consciousness, who cares? words cannot come close...)

One forgets "universal consciousness" but "universal consciousness does not forget one" hence the continuation of being...

Lke the myth of Icarus who flew to high, drugs are dangerous and can take people in leaps to states they are not ready for & can burn them out and cause casualties. However they are used in controlled situations throughout history and throughout the world from South America to China by different tribes and communities.

It is probably better to seek illumination without ddrugs by taking small steps through ones own openess, creativity and efforts. In this way, receiving experiences one is ready for. At the right time and in the right place.

If there is a physical origin to these 'peak experience' phenomena then it could also be that there are physical ways to inhibit them. Perhaps through earth shattering electromagnetics, cell phones, MMR injections, religious dogma..( a conspiracists field day ! )
Those interested in controlling others and maintaining highly ordered societies might actively seek to inhibit individual abilities to perceive unity because of its possibly subversive and disruptive effect.

However I suspect that trying to inhibit illumination is like swimming against the tide of evolving consciousness. It may take many generations and a very long long time..but then again...
there is no time.Like the present.

Am interesting article about attempts to unify consciousness and spacetime is here:

To the calmly curious- For physical evidence of a second intelligence within yourself-Vivid Dreams onset, plus repeatable handtingles- search YouTube on LAY GNOSIS 1 BEGIN HERE site truebluehealerDOTcom-Regardless of beliefs-Even agnostic testimonials, including doctors from 4 countries. 10-12 mins gets you started.

The other problem is there are those who can guide you to a valid 'peak experience' only to blind you and dupe you into believing all sorts of ridiculous things. Hypnosis, meditation, and drugs for example are all open to abuse. I suppose one answer is "to your own self be true" even if you have to try and step outside your 'self' occasionally. If you have two or three peak experiences in a lifetiem that is great but 'normal' everyday consciousness is equally valid and has its place. Never stop seaking...

its a natural transistion that as human beings we are part in parcel of this fine planet we eat the food that is grown from are waste. over millions of years we have developed, now we are at the dawn of a new awakening this is the realisation that the earth is are god and we are the earth not just humans but everything.

Posted by: Adam | May 20, 2008 at 01:48 PM
"It's called LSD."

^ this.

Ah,yes. The mind always like to try and explain the unexplainable using "rational" words. The mind is the most irrational organ that exists. Sure,we can delve into mysteries and make great technological strides. We live in a finished creation. This means we can only have finite experiences and cannot create anything that already does not exist. As in a deck of cards, there are only so many experiences we can have. We all share these same experiences at on time or another. These experiences are states of consciousness. What we call consciousness are mainly composed of memories and experiences we have had that seem to create a continuos flowing state we term consciousness, which it clearly is not. These is not easy for people to accept.Consciousness is the holder of this deck of cards,not the deck or its individual cards(states of consciousness).This is something that cannot be experienced by the mind,but something higher and out of reach by the mind. One cannot know consciousness if one exists in states below it. Therefore all the ego in the world and it's negativity is purely rubbish. This is a duality in which we live and can only experience the extreme opposite ends of it. You can ponder this until the end of the universe and never figure it out. Frank Zappa has a song in which the lyrics say "don't you fill me with your cosmic debris", which is what all this BS is really about. So much for my 2 cents worth. Sleep well dahlinks.

Absolutely. Brain chemistry is infuenced by electronic frequency changes in space travel and here on earth as well. My theory is that the further you get from planet earth the smarter your brain becomes.

Nice blog entry! In an interesting bit of synchronicity, I posted a couple of blog entries during the last week of May that seem related. "Disorders of the mind" is about altered brain experiences that might give us glimpses into other parts of reality:

And seeing the big picture from 40 km up is about Edgar Mitchell type experiences of transcendence induced by space:


Rob Bryanton

I read DMT, LSD, and 2c-b can achieve "space euphoria" in comments here, but no one has mentioned PCP or dextromethorphan! When taking a third plateau dose of dex, you feel like you're floating around in the universe with the most blissful sensation ever. With a fourth plateau dose, some have even said they met with what they called "the Elders" in a "grid" type of environment. With angeldust, I had the EXACT experience described in the 1st two paragraphs, only I could never elucidate the things I saw and the feelings I felt. I cried out of frustration after coming down the second time because I couldn't remember exactly what had happened- I felt that if I could remember, I could unlock the secret to the universe! Maybe I should look into this meditation stuff....

i beleive we r all one we r energy in a body this is not our home the after life is were we spend most of the time and we come down here to lern lessons and experince wat u need to to evole peace and lite brothers and sisters

I have experienced this feeling via the psilocybin mushroom. It would be amazing however, to experience it via space travel. A beautiful, humbling experience indeed.

cosmic Mystic experience like as everything is connected deedply like i get the feeling we are a race that lost its memory or our true purpose

traveling through a thousand solar systems in a micro second in a dream while your awake in a instance

the elders of the cosmic grid that set the laws of the universe the true proclaimers of the center

Arrrrrh!!! Everyone just belief in DotA!! We are either Elf or Scourge!

I dreamed of tomorrow. A world that wasn't there. I lived in liberty without a care. There was no torture, no brainwashing, no fear or hatred. I dreamed of tomorrow today. It is already here. We are already there. In time it is all undone. In time it is unravelled. Be aware.

The millions of prisoners all around the world we be set free...from cages of metal and of the mind. The prisoners are you and me...

After reading all that was said, Aghost, you hit the nail on the head. Live on brother...

If you are a real truthseeker & have the time for rea-
ding, i can offer you great relief to many questions,
just research this site:

Your sharp inner senses will be awakened like never b4
Then you will understand why Edgar Mitchell had a glimpse of TRUTH. First of all you need to realize, that we live in a prison planet of virtual reality. It's high noon to break the bondage.

the answer to the feeling of "oneness"!
an eight of pscylocibin

"John Durgan
I sure hope you dont mean that."

Why? It's certainly true.

"Because denying the existence of something you have not experienced as of yet hinders your ability ever to experience anything you have already supposedly discredited."

The experience is happening in your brain and is a physiological process. Nobody is denying that such a physiological process exists, but there's nothing profound or magical about it.

Isn't it enough to experience neat things without the silly hippy shit to go along with it?

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