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.

More budget cuts to Russia’s space program

The head of Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, revealed today that there will be significant additional cuts to the country’s space program in the coming months.

These cuts come on top of the almost one-third cuts imposed from the time the budget for the ten-year plan was first proposed in 2015 and its adoption early this year.


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  • Localfluff

    I understand it is slashed from $31 bn to “about” $8 bn. Minus 75% from last year’s proposal. But it will change when Russia together with Iran and Syria and maybe Oman, and now with the help of Turkey, occupies the Gulf states before the next US president is in office, and dictates the world oil price. Russia’s air force, aerospace and modern weapons systems is a perfect complement to the huge but a bit outdated armies in its allied Middle Eastern countries. Saudi Arabia spends more on the military, and on advanced weapons systems, than Russia, but their fiasko in Yemen reveals that they don’t know how to use them. There will be no effective resistance. The oil rich areas at the Persian Gulf are inhabited by a shia majority, maltreated by the rulers and supported by Iran (although they are arabs, not persians).

    Off topic:
    Bob, or any reader here, do you know of anyone reporting independently on Europe’s space program? I only find ESA’s own blogs and announcements, which is designed as propaganda for school children without any analysis or debate. I don’t know of anyone reporting on it like for example Anatoly Zak does on the Russian space program, and of course this and a few other blogs on NASA. I take it as an expression of the American exceptionalism, the US is very different from most other countries (maybe Canada and Australia is halfway like the US, europeans don’t have much independent journalism and certainly no kind of space culture, that’s just between the government, big industry and the science community).

  • Localfluff asked, “Do you know of anyone reporting independently on Europe’s space program?”

    The answer is no. Space News (a part of has one reporter, Peter de Selding, whose beat is focused on the European launch market, but he is not independent and he does not cover the science part.

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