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.
 

Giant iceberg heading to possible collision with South Georgia Island

Track of iceberg in the past three years

Close-up comparing iceberg with South Georgia Island.

The largest section of a huge iceberg that broke off from Antarctica’s Larson ice shelf in 2017 is now headed directly for a collision with remote South Georgia Island.

The first image to the right shows the iceberg’s movement since 2017. The second zooms in to show that the iceberg and island are almost the exact same size, 100 miles long.

South Georgia Island, 1,000 miles east of South America, has no permanent human inhabitants, though explorers, scientists, and mountain climbers do go there periodically. Instead, it is a wildlife preserve:

Around five million seals call the islands home, as well as 65 million birds of 30 different species. Migrating whales and various fish species populate the surrounding waters and there is a large penguin population.

The first link above, from the European Space Agency (ESA), typically shivers with the modern mindless fear that seems to permeate everything our culture considers:

About the same size as the South Atlantic island, it could ground in the shallow waters offshore and cause real problems for the island wildlife and seafloor-dwelling life. Penguins and seals need access to the sea to feed so the iceberg could easily block their foraging routes and life on the seafloor could be crushed if the berg grounds. The fear is that if the berg does anchor against the South Georgia coast, it could remain there for up to 10 years. When the A38 grounded here in 2004, many dead penguin chicks and seal pups were found along the shoreline.

All maybe true, but then, the arrival of icebergs this large to South Georgia Island while likely rare is also quite normal. The sea life there has had to adapt to these events, or else it would not have survived to today.

Also, note the blue lines. Those are the tracks of past icebergs as recorded from orbit. Not only is it common for icebergs to be aimed at South Georgia Island, the currents appear to guide them around the island once they get close. While this new berg is so huge it might plow into the island anyway, the data here suggests it will not.

Regardless, this somewhat rare event provides scientists a opportunity to learn something about the survival of species in hostile environments. We can’t prevent such things, but we can learn their consequences as well as how life adapts under such conditions.

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6 comments

  • Skunk Bucket

    Perhaps South Georgia Island is now at risk for capsizing, just like Guam. Somebody go warn Rep. Hank Johnson!

  • eddie willers

    Perhaps South Georgia Island is now at risk for capsizing, just like Guam. Somebody go warn Rep. Hank Johnson!

    I’ll bet he expects it to sink like the Titanic.

  • pzatchok

    It looks like this happens quite frequently.

    I bet the ecology of the area is well adapted to this happening.

    But hey why not call it global warming even if its happened for as long as the island has been there.

  • Garry

    When viewed 2-dimensionally the berg appears on a collision course with South Georgia, but we have to compare water depth with the depth of the iceberg to tell whether collision is even possible.

    Perhaps the berg could ground several miles away (assuming the ocean is deep relatively close to the island; I haven’t looked into that). As it melts over the years, it could be pushed closer to the island.

    But nature will adapt as it always does, promoting some species, harming others, and having no net effect on others.

    But of course the mainstream science media only considers the harmful possibilities, and exaggerates them to the max.

  • Cotour

    What about the Rights of the ice?

    (And as stupid as that sounds I have actually heard that exact argument from you know who and you know where)

  • Spectrum Shift

    It looks to me the berg has a clockwise rotation that may spike the northern tip into the island. Then currents may swing the berg to rotate counter clockwise and pivot the berg south, and away from the island’s south coast. I agree with Garry. Let’s put some Ragu sauce on the spaghetti tracks and see what happens. I don’t think my car idling in rush hour traffic gave birth to this berg.

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