Readers!
 

My annual February birthday month fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black is now over. It was the best February campaign ever, and the second best of all of my month-long fund-raising campaigns.

 

There were too many people who contributed to thank you all personally. If I did so I would not have time for the next day or so to actually do any further posts, and I suspect my supporters would prefer me posting on space and culture over getting individual thank you notes.

 

Let this public thank suffice. I say this often, but I must tell you all that you cannot imagine how much your support means to me. I’ve spent my life fighting a culture hostile to my perspective, a hostility that has often served to squelch my success. Your donations have now allowed me to bypass that hostility to reach a large audience.

 

Even though the February campaign is over, if you still wish to donate or subscribe you still can do so. Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


 

If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 
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Bad news for climate modelers

A new analysis of the orbits of Ceres and Vesta says that in a surprisingly short time those orbits become chaotic and therefore unpredictable. More significantly, those orbits interact with the Earth’s and also make its long term orbit chaotic and unpredictable. From the abstract:

Although small, Ceres and Vesta gravitationally interact together and with the other planets of the Solar System. Because of these interactions, they are continuously pulled or pushed slightly out of their initial orbit. Calculations show that, after some time, these effects do not average out. Consequently, the bodies leave their initial orbits and, more importantly, their orbits are chaotic, meaning that we cannot predict their positions. The two bodies also have a significant probability of impacting each other, estimated at 0.2% per billion year. Last but not least, Ceres and Vesta gravitationally interact with the Earth, whose orbit also becomes unpredictable after only 60 million years. This means that the Earth’s eccentricity, which affects the large climatic variations on its surface, cannot be traced back more than 60 million years ago. This is indeed bad news for Paleoclimate studies. [emphasis mine]

The scientists found that it became impossible to calculate the orbits of the two largest asteroids after only several ten thousand years. They also found that “numerous asteroids in the main belt will behave in the same way with . . . much more chaotic behavior than previously thought.” Worse, the possibility of collisions was far higher than ever thought. Ceres and Vesta have a 1 in 500 chance of colliding with each other every billion years, while other asteroids have chances as low as 1 in 1000.

The importance of this discovery, which still needs to be confirmed by other researchers, cannot be understated.

If true, it means that no climate model can ever successfully track the subtle fluctuations of the Earth’s orbit farther back than 60 million years. It had been believed from previous calculations that the ice ages before that time were caused by these orbital fluctuations. As the eccentricity and obliquity of the Earth’s orbit shifted slowly over time, the changes either combined or neutralized each other to cause the Earth to get less or more sunlight, thus producing ice ages at certain times. This new analysis says that this theory, while possibly true, can never be proven by orbital calculation.

You can read the full paper here.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.


He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.
 

One comment

  • jwing

    Throw away all that gravitational mumbo-jumbo, AlGore has spoken and the consensu of like-minded followers is that the earth’s climate is man-made and due solely to the internal combustion engine and the buring of coal, oil and natural gas. Why can’t we realize it is the trace gas, carbon dioxide, the by-product of man’s combustion over the past 100 years as well as all metabloic aerobic respiration of life that makes the earth heat up. Just forget about the billions of years of planetary, solar and extra-galaxy bodies influence on earth’s climate too for AlGore has spoken. So it be written…so it be done.

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

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