Leaving Earth cover

In 2019 I obtained from my former publisher the last 30 copies of the now out-of-print hardback of Leaving Earth. I sold about half of these, and with only a handful left in stock I have raised the price. To get your own autographed copy of this rare collector's item please send a $75 check (includes $5 shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to

Behind The Black, c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

I will likely raise the price again when only ten books are left, so buy them now at this price while you still can!

Also available as an inexpensive ebook!

Leaving Earth: Space Stations, Rival Superpowers, and the Quest for Interplanetary Travel, can be purchased as an ebook everywhere for only $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.


Winner of the 2003 Eugene M. Emme Award of the American Astronautical Society.

"Leaving Earth is one of the best and certainly the most comprehensive summary of our drive into space that I have ever read. It will be invaluable to future scholars because it will tell them how the next chapter of human history opened." -- Arthur C. Clarke

500 protesters block access road on Mauna Kea

About 500 protesters this morning blocked the access road on Mauna Kea that construction vehicles were going to use to begin construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

More than 500 protestors blocked Mauna Kea Access Road and chanted at the sun rose this morning, including seven who chained themselves to a cattle guard near the base of the road.

A convoy of state Department of Transportation vehicles carrying traffic control signage passed the intersection but made no effort to turn onto the access road.

More than a dozen elders with the protest movement sat on folding chairs and were joined by two protestors in wheelchairs at the bottom to the road as the crowd chanted and sang.

Police made no effort to disturb the protest. Gov. David Ige announced last week that the access road would be closed at 7 a.m. today to clear the way for heavy equipment for the controversial $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope.

Based on this report it sounds like the protesters have successfully prevented construction from beginning.

Several points: First, these protesters are breaking the law.

Second, these protesters had their day in court, and lost. In a civilized society, you accept such decisions. No civilization can function if some people think they will always get their way, even if the law and the majority rule against them.

Third, at this moment it appears that David Ige, the Democratic governor, is doing exactly what I expected. He is mouthing platitudes about supporting the law and the construction, while allowing the protesters to block it. Unless he takes action in the next day or so to remove the protesters and clear the road, the protests will grow and become unmanageable. At that point Ige will say that construction must be stopped to avoid bloodshed, and to honor the wishes of what must be a large percentage of the population.

That last part however is a lie. Polls have all indicated that the public wants TMT. And the law is on the public’s side here. It is Ige’s job to support both, not a small minority of unruly spoiled agitators.

Being a modern Democrat however, I expect Ige to favor the lawbreakers.

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.


  • Phill O

    No surprise here!

  • Max

    Here we go again…

    One and a half billion dollars? Heavy lifting the equipment with helicopters miles up the road could solve the problem, the contractors have the legal right.
    I’m thinking space X could give them a better solution for a half of a billion more!

    Can you imagine what we could see with such a telescope with current technology, no cloud cover, no atmospheric distortion or solar daytime breaks, 24/seven a year…

    Good grief, throw in the infrared telescope with early detection astroid radar at the same time in the same location (L2) with upgrade packages available as a plug-in so they can be serviced in the future for long-term usability.
    This area of earth’s shadow is protected from much of the suns radiation. It would be well worth it to place used hyd/oxy booster with life-support built in to test animals to see if long-term human habitation would be a good idea.
    It can be rotated to simulate gravity so long term habitation can be engineered with satisfactory results.

    You know that if we do not go there, L2 will eventually, as hard to reach place with optimal communications, bethe perfect spot for space command listening post/observational platform.

  • Andi

    Unfortunately, when they make it religious, they tend to believe that religion is higher than the law. Maybe the same approach should be tried regarding the telescope.

    From Firesign Theater:

    WAGON BOSS: Do you mind if I put this antenna up on yonder peak?
    INDIAN: That’s our Sacred Mountain.
    WAGON BOSS: This is our Sacred Antenna

  • MIchael G. Gallagher

    Letting the barbarians win!

  • Col Beausabre

    “…. some people think they will always get their way, even if the law and the majority rule against them”

    Perfect description of the Left since November 2016

    BTW, I get a laugh at the way MSN headlines Hillary’s comments and tweets as if she is still relevant to anyone, on the Left or Right. At least her husband has retired from the field gracefully (doing anything gracefully is a first for Bill) now that the party has moved well beyond him – and it’s well beyond her too. But, she, like an evil witch, broods in her tower in Chappaqua, thirsting for revenge on the unseemly usurper. I guess that would be her “vindication” to see Trump lose. .Ya know, I sent her an E-mail this past February 18, “Happy Presidents’ Day, Hillary”. She never replied

    Anyway, enough on a has been and never will be.

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