The Cosma Hypothesis: Reflecting on Space Philosophy

Author Frank White

The Cosma Hypothesis is a book authored by Frank White released in early 2019. The inspiration for the book occurred more than three decades ago, in 1986, when White was working on another publication, The Overview Effect.

While writing a book about human evolution and space exploration, White heard another author, Tom Wolfe, state that there has never been a philosophy of space exploration. The Cosma Hypothesis represents more than 30 years of pondering on this and developing a philosophy about how and why humans should and could explore the universe.

The space philosophy website reflected on many of the notions as set out in White’s book not long after its release.


Since ancient times, humans have looked to the skies for answers by unravelling the mysteries of space. Many different methods have been applied over the millennia. The Ancient Greek philosophers originally believed that the universe was controlled by the chaotic feuds and whims of the gods, completely random and therefore impossible to understand.

Around 500BC, a major turning point occurred, as these philosophers began to believe that there is in fact recognisable order to the universe and adopted the word “cosmos” to express this. The etymology of the word cosmos is outlined in the short video attachment to this post.

The cosmos concept dates back many hundreds of years, but a straight line can be traced from this to the scientific revelations of the 17th century.

Science and Mathematics

In the 17th century, rationalists such as Descartes and Bacon began to accelerate the process of understanding the cosmos that began more than 2,000 years earlier. These scientists discovered the mathematics that underpins all aspects of nature, the world and the universe. This revelation led to a huge evolution across almost every scientific and technological field, leading to vast leaps in the progress of human understanding. Therefore, in the 21st century our ability to send people and technology into space has its foundations in the work of the ancient Greek philosophers and the rationalists of the 17th century.

The Overview Effect and the Cosma Hypothesis

The Overview Effect examined how the world viewpoint of many astronauts had been changed dramatically and forever following their experience of seeing the Earth as viewed from space. Since the release of the book, this phenomenon has been widely accepted as being relatively common among the number of individuals who have travelled into space — seeing the world as a fragile, whole oasis that is just a small part of the wider universe.

The Cosma Hypothesis expands on the idea that we are just a smaller part of a wider whole, interconnected with all other parts of the universe, which is self-aware and evolving all the time. In the second part of the book, White moves away somewhat from philosophy and discusses the more bureaucratic side of the potential outcomes of space exploration. Here White outlines his own ideas for a blueprint to act as a foundation for exploring and developing the solar system.

More about the author: Dylan Taylor, CEO of Voyager Space Holdings and formerly of Board of Director of UMB Bank and an executive with Jones Lang LaSalle and Colliers International, is a regular contributor to and was the first private citizen to successfully manufacture an item in space. Dylan has a passionate interest in all things space-related, which can be seen in his founding of the global non-profit organization Space for Humanity.

Dylan Taylor is a global business leader and philanthropist. He is an active pioneer in the space exploration industry