The final week of my annual February birthday month fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black has begun. I continue to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, including numerous donations and a surge of new subscribers willing to commit to donating anywhere from $2 to $25 per month. Wow! The numbers are too many to send out individual thank you’s, so please forgive me for thanking you all with this one announcement.


The campaign however must go on, especially because I have added more regular features to my daily workload. In addition to my daily never-ending reporting on space exploration and science, my regular launch reports, my monthly sunspot updates, the regular cool images, and the evening pauses I post each evening, I have now added a daily weekday post I have entitled "Today's blacklisted American." Its goal is not to discuss policy or politics, but to note the endless examples occurring across the United States where some jack-booted thug or thugs think it is proper and acceptable to censor, blackball, cancel, and destroy an innocent American, merely because that American has expressed or holds an opinion or is of a race or religion that is no longer considered acceptable to the dominant leftist and bigoted culture. I want to make clear to every American that a large number of your fellow citizens no longer believe in the enlightened concept of freedom of speech or the idea of treating each person by the quality of their character.


Instead, they wish to shut you up, and oppress you if you happen to disagree with them or have the wrong skin color. This evil must be exposed.


To continue to do this into the foreseeable future however I need your support. If you are one of those millions who read Behind the Black each month, please consider donating or subscribing. Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

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New analysis: It wasn’t even phosphine detected at Venus

The uncertainty of science: A new analysis of the data used by scientists who claimed in September that they had detected phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus has concluded that it wasn’t phosphine at all but sulfur dioxide, a chemical compound long known to be prevalent there.

The UW-led team shows that sulfur dioxide, at levels plausible for Venus, can not only explain the observations but is also more consistent with what astronomers know of the planet’s atmosphere and its punishing chemical environment, which includes clouds of sulfuric acid. In addition, the researchers show that the initial signal originated not in the planet’s cloud layer, but far above it, in an upper layer of Venus’ atmosphere where phosphine molecules would be destroyed within seconds. This lends more support to the hypothesis that sulfur dioxide produced the signal.

When the first announcement was made, it was also noted as an aside that phosphine on Earth is only found in connection with life processes, thus suggesting wildly that it might signal the existence of life on Venus.

That claim was always unjustified, especially because we know so little about Venus’s atmosphere and its alien composition. Even if there was phosphine there, to assume it came from life is a leap well beyond reasonable scientific theorizing.

It now appears that the phosphine detection itself was questionable, which is not surprising since the detection was about 20 molecules out of a billion. And while this new analysis might be correct, but what it really does is illustrate how tentative our knowledge of Venus remains. It might be right, but it also could be wrong and the original results correct. There is simply too much uncertainty and gaps in our knowledge to come to any firm and confident conclusions.

None of that mattered with our modern press corps, which ran like mad to tout the discovery of life on Venus. As I wrote quite correctly in September in my original post about the first results,

The worst part of this is that we can expect our brainless media to run with these claims, without the slightest effort of incredulity.

We live in a world of make believe and made-up science. Data is no longer important, only the leaps of fantasy we can jump to based on the slimmest of facts. It was this desire to push theories rather than knowledge that locked humanity into a dark age for centuries during the Middle Ages. It is doing it again, now, and the proof is all around you, people like zombies and sheep, wearing masks based not on any proven science but on pure emotions.

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.


  • Richard M

    Fortunately, BepiColombo will be doing a much closer flyby of Venus for a gravity assist later this year, and we should have a shot at some better data from its spectrometer out of that.

    I don’t think there is, or ever was, life on Venus, but I do think we’ve spent too little time studying our closest neighbor up close, so I do hope that NASA selects one of the Venus mission proposals (DAVINCI+ or VERITAS) for the final Discovery 15/16 program downselect this summer, not least so that we can better understand how these false readings can happen. That in turn could improve our ability to detect where it actually does exist on other worlds..

  • pzatchok

    If we do find life of any kind someplace else in the solar system what exactly will happen?

    Will they close off the planet to any physical research just in case we contaminate it?

    Will they try to take samples and risk contaminating the Earth with them or us contaminating them while we catch them?

    I am for not caring and just letting nature take its course. Survival of the fittest.

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