Readers!
 

My annual February birthday month fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black is now over. It was the best February campaign ever, and the second best of all of my month-long fund-raising campaigns.

 

There were too many people who contributed to thank you all personally. If I did so I would not have time for the next day or so to actually do any further posts, and I suspect my supporters would prefer me posting on space and culture over getting individual thank you notes.

 

Let this public thank suffice. I say this often, but I must tell you all that you cannot imagine how much your support means to me. I’ve spent my life fighting a culture hostile to my perspective, a hostility that has often served to squelch my success. Your donations have now allowed me to bypass that hostility to reach a large audience.

 

Even though the February campaign is over, if you still wish to donate or subscribe you still can do so. Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

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If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 
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Mars rover update

It is time for an update on the journeys of Curiosity and Opportunity on Mars!

First, Curiosity. Though the science team has not yet updated the rover’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter traverse map showing its travels, it appears from Curiosity’s most recent navigation camera images that the rover has moved passed the first butte that had been ahead and directly to the south in the traverse map shown in the last image of my post here. The image below the fold, cropped and reduced to show here, looks ahead to the second butte and the gap to the south. Beyond Mt Sharp can be seen rising up on the right, with the upcoming ground open and relatively smooth. The only issue will be the steepness of that terrain. Based on my previous overall look at the rover’s journey, I suspect they will contour to the left.

Leaving the buttes

Meanwhile, Opportunity has moved into position directly above Lewis & Clark gap and has taken a picture looking directly down the slope. The image below shows this slope and is from the rover’s most recently released navigation camera images. I have reduced its resolution slightly to show here. They appear to be preparing to head down.

Lewis & Clark Gap

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.
 

One comment

  • Gealon

    I’m looking forward to them getting deeper into Endeavor crater. That will be the kind of exploration we got a taste of when Opportunity ventured part way into Victoria crater a few years back. The slope looks similar but without hard data one can’t be sure. Additionally, if I remember correctly, the path Opportunity took into and out of Victoria was almost all on solid rock, this path down into Endeavor looks to be a mix of rock outcroppings and soil. The rover likely won’t have trouble getting into the crater, but climbing back out might be an interesting task if it’s wheels slip in the soil. In either case, the trip will be well worth it and the navigators might find another path out somewhere else along the crater rim so all would not be lost even if Opportunity couldn’t get back out the same way she gets in, the thing is 14 miles across after all.

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

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