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.

Clouds over Gale Crater

Clouds over Gale Crater
Click for full image.

Cool image time! In today’s download of new images from Curiosity was a large number looking at the sky. by one of the rover’s navigation cameras. As noted in the science team’s most recent update, their aim was to “watch for clouds in the sky at twilight.”

They were apparently very successful. The picture to the right, reduced to post here, is one example. The other pictures show these clouds and other clouds as they change over time.

I don’t have much more to add, other than to say it is quite breath-taking to be able to sit here on Earth and routinely gaze at the weather on Mars.

UPDATE: I do have one more thing to say. If you have any skills at programming and want to figure out how to process the raw images from Curiosity and Perseverance to bring out their color, you might find the video at this link of interest: How Can You Color Process Mars Rover’s Images In DaVinci Resolve?

I am not a computer programming geek, so some of its details went over my head. Nonetheless, it opened a window into the photo-engineering used to turn the rovers’ black-and-white digital data into color.

Hat tip to Patrick Inhofer, who calls himself the photon wrangler at


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  • Phill O

    Nice stuff!

  • Alex Andrite

    “Keep looking up.”

    Very neat perspective.
    Starry Night Sky next please !

  • Jeff Wright

    Very pretty

  • Does Elon Musk have a poster of this in his bedroom?

  • What are the white points of light scattered over the pic? I thought “Are those stars?” — seen perhaps though a high-exposed twilight pic — but no, they’re visible even in front of the ground.

    Perhaps noise from the exposure turned up?

  • Alex Andrite

    Michael M.,
    No indications on my monitor, even during a screen magnification after (+) enlargement.
    Perhaps dead screen pixels on your end ?

  • Alex Andrite

    Michael M. Whoa buddy, hold my horses …
    upon further inspection, I see what you mean.
    Poor pixels somewhere before the shot got to us, all very uniform.
    I apologize.

  • Yo: I went back to the raw image site to see if these white pixels are seen in other images from the right navigation camera. They seem to be in all the cloud pictures, but not in other pictures of the rocks and mountains.

    There appearance in these cloud images could be a function of exposure that brings out the bad pixels.

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