Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


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

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

NASA shuts down asteroid capture mission

Faced with years of congressional disinterest, NASA this week finally decided to close out its asteroid redirect mission.

The project was first pushed by President Obama as a mission to send astronauts to an asteroid. Then they downgraded it to using an unmanned spacecraft to bring a large asteroid back to lunar space, where astronauts would then visit it. Then they downgraded this to bringing back a small asteroid, which was later downgraded to bringing back a small boulder. In the process the manned mission got pushed farther and farther into the future, until it dwindled out of sight.

The mission never had any congressional support, so it was never going to happen. With the end of the Obama administration NASA can now finally stop making believe that it might happen and shut it down.

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.


  • wodun

    With the end of the Obama administration NASA can now finally stop making believe that it might happen and shut it down.

    Much of the last 8 years for NASA has been make believe. This asteroid mission was the next thing NASA was supposed to do but somehow it got transmogrified into the #JourneyToMars scam to distract from the failure of the rest* of what NASA was doing.

    *Obviously NASA has had some successes with various probes and rovers, many of which started before Obama took office. Some of their biggest fails did too.

  • ken anthony

    I just loved the suggestion that the earth already has asteroids on it (by another name) and we could just launch one of those into orbit and visit it!

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *