June 8, 2017 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast

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.

Embedded below the fold. Recorded live, from the Grand Canyon.


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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.

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  • Steve Earle

    Didn’t know where to put this:


    I have gotten emails from this site called “LiveScience” for awhile now, probably because I am signed up for news from Space.com

    This week I opened the email and see the above article in the middle of several other science pieces. I don’t remember seeing something quite this blatant before, taking a topic like this and shoehorning it into a so-called science blog in order to get a political point across to the readers…… :-(

    Needless to say, I looked for a way to unsubscribe, finding none I just marked it as Spam. Unbelievable.

  • wayne

    Skimmed that article your referenced, and it is unbelievable!
    -Did a cursory search—these people have a staff of 350, and around 2 dozen different websites, with 20 million+ monthly-views.

  • LocalFluff

    Concerning the Gateway to nowhere, I think that the ISS was the last governmental HSF project that will ever be accomplished (except for China). Launching people on SLS/Orion will be too dangerous when there are well proven and much cheaper private launch alternatives. I think it will be politically impossible to spend $150,000,000,000 tax monies on another space station when there are much cheaper, much better private alternatives in operation much sooner. As an analogue, NASA used MIR in the 1990s because it was available. Catastrophic political mistakes like the horrible design flaw of putting a space station in cis-Lunar space will be avoided in the future.

  • Edward

    LocalFluff wrote: “Catastrophic political mistakes like the horrible design flaw of putting a space station in cis-Lunar space will be avoided in the future.

    I don’t know about that. United Launch Alliance seems to think that cis-Lunar space stations could be a good idea, so horrible design flaw or not, in a few years they may give it a try, such as at the Earth-Moon L1 location.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dt8bs8E6XOY (3 minutes: “CisLunar 2017”)

  • LocalFluff

    An EML1-station makes sense for exploring the Moon’s surface. A place to shift between the Earth=>station transfer spacecraft (voluminous for a 2-3 day trip) to the station=>Moon lander (minimal but with ascent/abort capacity). That would be a station that is crewed only temporarily on the way to and from the Moon’s surface. The Lunar surface base would have abort option to the station instead of all the way to Earth. And the station would have abort option quickly down to the surface base.

    The Gateway to nowhere skips the Lunar surface entirely, and as a substitute for the ISS it is a downgrade that only will be crewed temporarily because of the radiation issue and the lack of immediate abort to Earth options. They have to add 3½ km/s delta-v to get from LEO to EML1. For Falcon 9 that means about 9 tons instead of 22 tons delivered. They need a launcher as large as Falcon Heavy in order to launch ISS sized 20 ton modules to EML1.

    Lunar exploration should start with an intensive robotic campaign followed by a few shorter crewed missions, and then a Lunar surface base in the best site identified. An EML1 station would be a filial to the surface base. It’s not the thing to start with.

  • Steve Earle

    wayne said:
    “…..Skimmed that article your referenced, and it is unbelievable!
    -Did a cursory search—these people have a staff of 350, and around 2 dozen different websites, with 20 million+ monthly-views….”

    Yes, they do have a wide reach, all the more reason this jumps out. I guess I have become used to seeing countless articles about AGW all screaming “SCIENCE!” to the point that my eyes just glaze over (and the louder the author screams “SCIENCE!”, the less likely there is any true science in the article…. LOL)

    This one really caught my attention though. It doesn’t scream “SCIENCE!”, it screams “Trump Derangement Syndrome!”

    And I know that it’s all around us now, I have several friends that are just crazy lately, but how the heck did this pass the smell test at any legitimate Science reporting site? Are they so deep into TDS that no-one there said “Hey, this is a Science Blog, not a Political Blog”

    And there is no comment section, isn’t that convenient? LOL

    Here’s the Author’s Bio:
    As a senior writer for Live Science, Laura Geggel covers general science, including the environment and amazing animals. She has written for The New York Times, Scholastic, Popular Science and Spectrum, a site covering autism research. Laura grew up in Seattle and studied English literature and psychology at Washington University in St. Louis before completing her graduate degree in science writing at NYU. When not writing, you’ll find Laura playing Ultimate Frisbee. Follow Laura on Google+.

    The perfect background for a modern Liberal……. spent her whole life in academic echo chambers….

  • Edward

    You wrote: “An EML1 station would be a filial to the surface base. It’s not the thing to start with.

    I see your point, now. NASA’s idea for a cis-lunar station is similar to the SLS project: it is an expensive something to have, and it lacks a mission. That is a horrible idea.

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