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.

NASA dubs next Mars rover “Perseverance”

NASA today announced that they have named their next Mars rover, due to launch in July, “Perseverance.”

The name was announced Thursday by Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate, during a celebration at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia. Zurbuchen was at the school to congratulate seventh grader Alexander Mather, who submitted the winning entry to the agency’s “Name the Rover” essay contest, which received 28,000 entries fromK-12 students from every U.S. state and territory.

“Alex’s entry captured the spirit of exploration,” said Zurbuchen. “Like every exploration mission before, our rover is going to face challenges, and it’s going to make amazing discoveries. It’s already surmounted many obstacles to get us to the point where we are today – processing for launch. Alex and his classmates are the Artemis Generation, and they’re going to be taking the next steps into space that lead to Mars. That inspiring work will always require perseverance. We can’t wait to see that nameplate on Mars.”

I truly hope that the rover is well-named, and lives a very long life on Mars, long enough that it is still in use the day an human arrives to touch it again.

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  • Ray Van Dune

    I have a tiny concern about the name “Perseverance.” What if it doesn’t persevere?

    But even if it doesn’t, it will certainly return some excellent data while it lasts, so wouldn’t “Verisimilitude” be safer, in addition to being a name more appealing to 7th-graders?
    Just asking.

  • Richard M

    If I am not mistaken, the RTG’s on Mars Curiosity (which is the same basic architecture and power usage as Perseverence) are supposed to last 14 years before dropping below 100 watts – though that may merely mean that it continues function with a gradual shutdown of instruments over several more years, so long as nothing breaks.

    If this is also true for Perseverence, then it should last until 2035 at full functionality – again, so long as nothing else critical breaks – and then presumably for several more years with reduced instrument operation.

    This seems to leave a pretty decent window of time for Elon’s crews to come pay a visit. He won’t make his aspirational deadlines, but he might just make 2035. Which is far more than we can say for NASA.

  • Richard M

    “I have a tiny concern about the name “Perseverance.” What if it doesn’t persevere?”

    I’d call it Royal Navy braggadocio. The RN were taking that same chance every time they named a warship INVINCIBLE or INDEFATIGABLE. Which they did quite often.

    (For the record, the RN named seven ships INVINCIBLE. Three were sunk in storms, and one was blown to pieces by German shellfire at Jutland. But I’m guessing that generations of British schoolchildren understood the name was aspirational.)

    Anyway, Perseverence is basically just an updated Curiosity, and Curiosity’s track record gives reasonable hope that Perseverence will indeed persevere on the Martian surface for decades to come.

  • Ray Van Dune

    Damn. I thought with this crowd I could forego a /sarc tag.

  • Richard M

    “Damn. I thought with this crowd I could forego a /sarc tag.”


  • Lee S

    @Ray… Well done sir!! This place needs more ironic humour!
    @ everyone….I know the whole parachute, floating platform, descending wires business has been road tested…. But even so, it scares the bejebus out of me!! I will be watching / listening to the live stream, with a bottle of bubbly at hand, whatever time of day it is, for those minuets of terror, and joy or (hopefully bloody not!) Tears, on landing day…. NASAs got pretty good at this… But Mars remains a harsh mistresses also… Godspeed to perseverance!

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