A petition to have the U.S. withdraw from the United Nations Outer Space Treaty has been submitted to the White House.

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.

Now’s here’s a good idea: A petition to have the U.S. withdraw from the United Nations Outer Space Treaty has been submitted to the White House.

Read it. Mark Whittington, who submitted it, is absolutely right. We get out, we can claim territory on the Moon and thus apply U.S. law to that territory. People and companies could thus own land and have an opportunity to make a profit from their property.


Every July, to celebrate the anniversary of the start of Behind the Black in 2010, I hold a month-long fund-raising campaign to make it possible for me to continue my work here for another year.

This year's fund-raising drive however is more significant in that it is also the 10th anniversary of this website's founding. It is hard to believe, but I have been doing this for a full decade, during which I have written more than 22,000 posts, of which more than 1,000 were essays and almost 2,600 were evening pauses.

This year's fund drive is also more important because of the growing intolerance of free speech and dissent in American culture. Increasingly people who don't like what they read are blatantly acting to blackball sites like mine. I have tried to insulate myself from this tyrannical effort by not depending on Google advertising or cross-posts Facebook or Twitter. Though this prevents them from having a hold on me, it also acts to limit my exposure.

Therefore, I hope you will please consider donating to Behind the Black, 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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  • I like that the OST prevents signatories from claiming land.

    It’s about time individuals understood the over reach of nations in making a claim that the universe is off limits.

    People have always had the right to claim that which is unclaimed. All chain of title begins with a claim.

    Any claim must of course be defended. It is not required that a nation do the defending.

    The best defense is possession of reasonable amounts by many claimants.

    This alone pays entirely for our expansion by colonies into space.

  • Pzatchok

    Step one is establishing a colony.

    Step two is getting a parent nation to defend it from other nations.

    Step three is making a profit on the new land.This attracts new people.

    If we have the biggest colony on the moon we rule the Earth. We will just always have the high ground in any fight after that.

    Now do we want to let China gain the high ground or are we willing to go bankrupt winning this race?
    As a member of this American nation I am willing to spend it all to make the jump and win the race.
    Our children really really need a new goal to reach for. And space is all thats left.

  • chris babcock

    Just signed the petition, #3. C’mon folks, all readers of Behind the Black should sign.

    Bob, maybe something on the right side so this article doesn’t get lost as it moves down each day.

    – cb

  • Step one is seeing the lightbulb, which is…

    The right to claim a reasonable plot of land by possession is as old as humanity. This applies to claimed land, so for unclaimed land (all of space) this right is even more solid. Chain of title, which legally defines ownership, all starts with a claim. This does not require the blessing of any nation.

    To give title the force of law the best method is for many people to agree to the terms of a settlement charter which requires possession and limits claims to each individual to a reasonable amount.

    To make colonization sustainable, it should be free to the colonists that are risking their lives and include a free spacesuit. To do this the transportation company must be able to make a profit at $100m or less per colonist transported (doable within this decade.) For $40m per colonists, the transportation companies could make a profit selling undeveloped land at $100 per plot (between a half acre to quarter hectare) to speculators on earth that have no intention of ever going to mars. This funds everything at a profit. Today. Other profitable exploits are gravy and then become possible.

    The settlement charter, which provides the free ride and space suit, limits the supply of land. To get more land in play, more colonists must be transported.

    Defending those claims will be easy once enough colonists participate because it is done by possession.

    No nation is going to go to war over it because a few thousand sq. km. is nothing compared to the 144 million sq. km. of unclaimed land available to any others that want their own claim.

    Establishing this precedent on mars will establish it for the entire solar system. Mars has the resources for an independent industrial ecology with as little as a few dozen colonists.

    Each colonist risking their lives will have the assets to pursue their own happiness for the rest of their lives.

    Each transportation company has trillions of dollars in potential profit and many will compete for that.

    It just takes a lightbulb.

  • Michael J. Listner

    Oops. Looks like it expired.

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