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.

New and very distance outer solar system objects beyond Neptune

Astronomers have discovered several new objects orbiting the Sun at extremely great distances beyond the orbit of Neptune.

The most interesting new discovery is 2014 FE72:

Another discovery, 2014 FE72, is the first distant Oort Cloud object found with an orbit entirely beyond Neptune. It has an orbit that takes the object so far away from the Sun (some 3000 times farther than Earth) that it is likely being influenced by forces of gravity from beyond our Solar System such as other stars and the galactic tide. It is the first object observed at such a large distance.

This research is being done as part of an effort to discover a very large planet, possibly as much as 15 times the mass of Earth, that the scientists have proposed that exists out there.


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  • Alex

    We are not able to go to next stars in one jump. We need several steps. Explorations of such extreme distance objects (3000 AU = 1.2% of distance to next start), which are nevertheless part of solar system, belong to these steps, followed by exploration of planted-sized objects, which are free floating in interstellar space.

  • ken anthony

    Alex, you’ve just restated the Fermi Paradox. If another alien intelligence exists traveling at sublight from star to star via stellar system objects from anywhere in the galaxy they should already be here.

  • Max

    A planet 15 times larger than the earth would be hard to miss. Unless it is extremely far out there. That large of a planet would likely be extremely hot, unless it’s made of fluff like Saturn.
    A planet near the mass of the earth with an atmosphere 2 to 3 times that of earth would be perfect. It would always stay warm, photosynthesis would be a problem. (Perhaps not for mushrooms)

  • Laurie

    Max: I’m sorry, but I can’t resist – is growing mushrooms important?

  • Alex

    Why not mushrooms? :-)

    “It is calculated that, for an Earth-sized object with a kilobar atmospheric pressure of hydrogen, in which a convective gas adiabat has formed, geothermal energy from residual core radioisotope decay will maintain a surface temperature above the melting point of water. Thus, it is proposed that interstellar planetary bodies with extensive liquid-water oceans may exist.

    It is further suggested that these planets are likely to remain geologically active for long periods, providing there is a geodynamo-created protective magnetosphere, with possible sea floor volcanism providing an energy source for life. Thus humans could theoretically live on a planet without a sun, although food sources would be limited. “

  • Maurice

    Fermi Paradox … sorry, just because we can see a tiny part of the EM spectrum with these puny eyes and with out sized satellite dishes doesn’t mean we can “see” or “hear” a more technologically advanced civilization.

    The discovery of this TNO came from a ground-based observatory – we’re going to have to set up telescope arrays in space, in the shade of moons and planets to be able to “see”.

    And then actually go out there. As in, plant an observatory on every object the size of 67P with a 1000 year power plant. why? because we can, because we must.

  • Max

    Maurice: Well stated, I agree.
    Plans to put gravitational detectors in space are seeking funding. A great opportunity to put eyes in space at little extra cost in positions across our solar system for triangulation. Our Hubble telescope is so old, think of what we could learn using newer technology!

    Alex: You explained it better than I could have myself. There are plants that do not need photosynthesis to grow. Without a Sun, food would be a problem. If satisfactory nutritional requirements cannot be met, life cannot be sustained.

    This problem can be overcome, but “heat” and “atmosphere” comes first in the priority list. If the planet has enough atmosphere, the pressure pushing down generates enough friction to cause a warm planet. Yes, this is what causes not only the earth to be warm, but can be demonstrated on every planet in our solar system that has an Atmosphere. ( I bet you have not seen this in the climate debate… The evidence is plentiful and overwhelming. Look up “chinook winds.” The air that passes over the mountains lose its moisture content and descends down to the desert floor heating as the air is compressed without any solar influence! 5.4° for every thousand feet.)
    Such a planet could be Teraformed, or may have developed life on its own. Animals would probably have extremely large eyes to see in dim light and in the infrared spectrum… Intelligent life would look much like the little gray aliens… (ha ha)

  • John O'

    Thank you Alex, Ken, Max and Maurice for your insightful comments as well as thank you Laurie for your brief yet delightful comment. Yes, growing mushrooms is important, and I’ll add it is important to more than earth-bound vegans. Mushrooms are great on a huge steak, in omelettes, mixed into carne asada and on pizzas. The main point I wish to make is that I come to Mr. Zimmerman’s website to learn amazing things and I say to Alex, Ken, Max, Maurice and Laurie I’ve learned there are many other good people with good ideas and I thank you for sharing them here. God Bless all.

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