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 Sun shows some signs of life

Earlier this week NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center published its monthly update of the Sun’s sunspot cycle. As I do every month, I’ve posted the newest graph below, showing the continuing slow rise in sunspots (blue/black lines) in comparison with the consensis prediction made by the solar science community in May 2009 (red line).

In February the sunspot count finally recovered from its wimpy showing in December. In addition, the sun has been quite active in recent weeks, more active than it has been in years. What this means, however, for the upcoming solar maximum remains unclear, though it still seems likely that the next maximum will be the weakest in more than 200 years (see the graph on this page). The newest prediction for the next solar maximum, from solar scientists at the Marshall Space Flight Center, also predicts this, and the sunspot numbers we are seeing are still in line with that new prediction.

February sunspot graph

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

I cannot thank 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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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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One comment

  • Greg

    It looks like to stay on track with their current prediction, the solar scientists at the Marshall Space Flight Center, are predicting a large spike in sunspot activity very soon.

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