On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.
The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.
"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News
The uncertainty of science: A new science paper, published Saturday in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets,, has found that there is much less water ice trapped in the permanently shadowed craters of the lunar poles than previously thought. From the abstract:
This means that all [permanently shadowed regions], except those in Shoemaker, Cabeus and Rozhdestvensky U craters, do not contain any significant amount of hydrogen in comparison with sunlit areas around them at the same latitude.
And from the paper’s conclusion:
[E]ven now the data is enough for definite conclusion that [permanently shadowed regions] at both poles are not reservoirs of large deposits of water ice.
While this news might seem discouraging, the data still found three craters with strong evidence of water-ice, including Cabeus crater, which has already been independently confirmed to have water by the Deep Impact probe. This data means that future explorers now have a much better idea of where to go to get that water.
This is very valuable information. In the private sector, it would be considered proprietary and kept secret until the company that discovered it could stake a claim and begin reaping the rewards for their research. Since Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is a NASA government probe, however, the result is released for everyone to read. And since NASA doesn’t have any plans to return to the Moon, this is the equivalent of that oil or gas company locating a reserve of fossil fuel and announcing it to the world so that their competitors could jump in and grab it.
These results also tell us that LCROSS in 2009 was very lucky in its choice of impact points. Had they picked any one of the majority of other candidate impact craters, they would have likely detected no water, and thus come up with a null result. Instead, they happened to pick one of only three craters that appear to really have frozen water buried in the crater’s permanently shadowed floor, and thus, they found evidence of water on the Moon. What the new data tells us is that this water is much rarer than the LCROSS result has suggested.
We are now in the third week of my annual July fund-raiser for Behind the Black. My deep thanks to everyone who has so far donated or subscribed. The response this year has been wonderful.
We are not done yet. This monthly fund-raiser is now half over, and I am hoping the second half will result in as many donations as the first half did. If it does, I will remain free to continue my writing as I see fit, unblemished by the efforts of others to squelch my perspective in this increasingly intolerant world.
This year's fund-raising drive is also significant in that it celebrates the 10th anniversary of this website's founding. It is hard to believe, but I have been doing this for a full decade, during which I have written more than 22,000 posts, of which more than 1,000 were essays and almost 2,600 were evening pauses.
Therefore, I hope you will please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
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