A graveyard of ships — in the desert.
This environmental disaster in the Soviet Union was caused more by that failed country’s centralized state-run command society than the technological society they were trying to create. Though technology in any kind of society can certainly do harm to the environment, when all decisions are controlled by a single entity — in this case the communist Soviet government — it is practically impossible to adapt and adjust when things start going wrong.
In a free democracy, however, you have many safety valves. No project is ever so big that it effects everything, and if things start to go wrong the chaos of freedom will allow people to choose differently, correcting the problem more quickly.
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.
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