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. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

China still struggling to find scientists to run FAST radio telescope

China is still finding it difficult to hire the scientists necessary to run its FAST radio telescope, the largest single dish radio telescope in the world.

And why is that?

For job candidates, the major stumbling blocks often are financial incentives and research independence, researchers told the South China Morning Post. The telescope’s remote location also may give candidates pause.

George Smoot, a Hong Kong University of Science and Technology professor who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2006, said candidates interested in working in a more developed setting might think twice about spending a lot of time in an area known for its traditional rural villages.

“Another issue is how much the Chinese Academy of Sciences will influence and direct activities there,” Smoot said. “It is an issue to people unless they have some straight link.” [emphasis mine]

It must always be remembered that nothing in China is done without the government’s approval. For western astronomers, used to having a great deal of independence, this fact makes working there somewhat unappealing.

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2 comments

  • wodun

    candidates interested in working in a more developed setting might think twice about spending a lot of time in an area known for its traditional rural villages.

    This sounds much more appealing and is more ideal for getting to know Chinese culture. What I would think twice about is how restricted access to the internet is and living in a country where you can be sent to concentration camps.

  • Edward

    I came across this article on foreign investment in the space industry. It has a line that may apply to why there aren’t so many takers:

    https://spacenews.com/op-ed-commercial-space-startups-should-be-wary-of-some-foreign-investment/

    Chinese authorities have recently forced over a million Muslims into reeducation camps. Nothing need be said about Chinese tolerance for political diversity.

    Who is eager to work in an environment in which you have to hide your political or social opinions, lest you end up in a reeducation camp?

    Tangentially, the author makes some remarks on historical spaceflight development. In the 1920s, apparently Germany had quite a bit of investment in private rocket ventures, but the depression of the following decade dried up those funds, leaving Germany’s rocket community dependent upon the NAZI government and rocketry in general in the hands of world governments:

    The resulting military control of rocketry impeded private investment in spaceflight for half a century.

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