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.
 

The state of the Sun, September 30, 2010

Time to update the state of the Sun, as seen by satellite data (the last update was in July). The graph below, posted today by Physikalisch- Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos (PMOD), shows the variation in the Sun’s Total Solar Irradiance since 1978. I have added a blue horizontal line to show that even now, two years after the Sun reached the lowest point in its most recent solar minimum, it has still not brightened enough to equal the lowest point in the two previous minimums. (Note that if we included the minimum from 1976, the Sun would still be below that as well.)

solar cycle as of Sept 30, 2010

Once again, the evidence is building that the Sun might be heading towards the weakest maximum seen to two centuries. And when that happened, things got very cold on Earth.

the sunspot cycle

Readers! My Quick November Fund-Raiser for Behind the Black is now over
 

I cannot thank enough the numerous people who so generously donated or subscribed to Behind the Black during this fund drive. The response was remarkable, and reflected the steady growth and popularity of the work I have been doing here for the past ten-plus years.


Thank you again!


Though the find-raising campaign is officially over, and I am no longer plastering the main page with requests for help, if you like what you have read you can still contribute, 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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