A high-flying mathematician specializing in applied economics, Jean-Pierre Goux spent several years in the United States before returning to France, where he works as an engineer in the energy and environmental sectors.
For more than 20 years, through his writing and the Blueturn project, he has been shaping his dream of the “Blue Revolution”, a term he uses to describe a global ecological awareness, a worldwide movement with the colour Blue as its symbol. Blue, as in the colour of our planet when seen from outer space.

In 1996, at the age of 22, Jean-Pierre Goux received a book as a gift from an old friend from engineering school, Michaël Boccara, the future co-founder of the Blueturn project. Entitled Clairs de Terre, it was a collection of photographs of Earth complete with commentary from astronauts about the fascination it holds for space explorers. “In this book, I discovered the beauty of the images but moreso the beauty of the words people used to talk about Earth after being in orbit. I said to myself, “What is it that made these people realize something that no one here has ever understood and that we need?” ». The answer lay in the overview effect: the effect of the contrast offered by seeing the Earth from space, an oasis of life set against the void and harshest conditions for existence of the rest of the Universe. A unique context that plunges the astronauts into an intense – “quasi-mystical” – ecstatic state of love for the Earth, explaining why they return with an acute awareness of its fragility and the need to preserve it.

When you see Earth from space, you understand our relationship to it through emotion, without resorting to the cerebral. You realize that you live in a finite world and that everything is interconnected. The notion of “Common Good” becomes intuitive“, explains Jean-Pierre Goux.

Thus even before the 2000s, the idea of using the power of images of our planet to convey this overview effect to as many people as possible was born in the mind of this professional dreamer. But it was impossible at that time to achieve such a project as, apart from the famous Blue Marble photograph taken by the astronauts of the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, no image existed at that time of a fully illuminated planet Earth.

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It wasn’t until February 2015 and the launch of NASA’s DSCOVR satellite – located on the one point in space where the Earth is always illuminated, on the Earth-Sun axis – that we finally began to receive new photos of the globe. Together with Michaël Boccara, Jean-Pierre Goux would then figure out how to use these recent images to “generate renewed enthusiasm for our planet“. Together, thanks to the design and development of an algorithm capable of offsetting a lack of images (the satellite only takes ten pictures a day), they succeeded in transforming NASA photographs into a video of a fully illuminated Earth rotating in space; a first in the history of mankind.

This video is constantly self-updating to provide the most recent view possible. Available to all via the Blueturn app, this film of planet Earth, which can be freely used for any type of event (festivals, exhibitions, conferences…), displays its full power when projected onto the big screen, as was the case at the Grand Rex in Paris where many spectators found the experience profoundly overwhelming, thus confirming the intuition of these two men as to the potential of these images as testament to remind us of the incomparable beauty of our planet. 

Portrait of Jean-Pierre Goux ©DR
Text : Ambre Allart
First photo : Blue Marble, taken on Decembre 7, 1972 by the astronauts of the Apollo 17 mission
Photos of the Earth : ©NASA

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For more information on the story of the project Blueturn :
TEDxVaugirardRoad with Jean-Pierre Goux on Youtube