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.
 

Has dark matter been identified?

From a paper published today on the Los Alamos astro-ph preprint website, scientists suggest that three different physics experiments might have identified dark matter. From the abstract:

Three dark matter direct detection experiments (DAMA/LIBRA, CoGeNT, and CRESST-II) have each reported signals which are not consistent with known backgrounds, but resemble that predicted for a dark matter particle with a mass of roughly ~10 GeV. . . . In this article, we compare the signals of these experiments and discuss whether they can be explained by a single species of dark matter particle, without conflicting with the constraints of other experiments. We find that the spectrum of events reported by CoGeNT and CRESST-II are consistent with each other and with the constraints from CDMS-II, although some tension with xenon-based experiments remains. Similarly, the modulation signals reported by DAMA/LIBRA and CoGeNT appear to be compatible, although the corresponding amplitude of the observed modulations are a factor of at least a few higher than would be naively expected, based on the event spectra reported by CoGeNT and CRESST-II. This apparent discrepancy could potentially be resolved if tidal streams or other non-Maxwellian structures are present in the local distribution of dark matter.

The last sentence above suggests that the differences between the various experiments might be explained by the motion of dark matter itself as it flows through the solar system.

This conclusion is very tentative. The scientists admit that there remain conflicts between the results of the three experiments, and that there also could be explanations other than dark matter for the results. Furthermore, the results of other experiments raise questions about this conclusion.

Nonetheless, it appears that physicists might be closing in on this most ghostlike of all particles in the universe.

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