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 Pluto data released

Pluto

Cool image time! During today’s New Horizons’ press conference, principal investigator Alan Stern noted that only 4%-5% of the data has been recovered. They have finished first phase of download and are moving into second phase, which will be dominated by engineering and other data, not images. So, for the next couple of months they will only be able to release images once and awhile. Beginning in September images, however, they will begin downloading images at a much faster pace.

Some results from today:

They released a high resolution image of encounter hemisphere, 2 km per pixel, a reduced resolution is shown on the right. It shows that the incredibly complex and varied geology revealed in earlier New Horizons’ images is even more complex and varied than indicated.

The data set obtained so far suggests that Charon has practically no atmosphere.

As for Pluto’s atmosphere, they have gotten the first image of it, looking back at Pluto. From this they have found that the pressure of Pluto’s atmosphere at the surface is lower than expected. The atmosphere also has a haze layer, and there is an indication that the planet has weather. The haze is extensive, as much as 100 miles above the surface. This atmosphere appears to be made of ethylene and acetylene. This atmospheric surface pressure data suggests that the atmosphere has finally begun to condense after Pluto’s close approach to the Sun in 1989. Earth data had suggested it had been expanding since 1989, something scientists didn’t understand. The new data point suggest that the Earth data just wasn’t good enough, and that the atmosphere has been condensing as expected.

They think the dark equatorial areas are created by material rained down from the northern latitudes in a seasonal process. Tombaugh Regio however is a specific region that seems to be spewing out its own material and disturbing this latitude-determined weather pattern.

flowing nitrogen ice on Pluto

Higher resolution images of the nitrogen ice of the Regio near its rugged edges strongly suggest that it is flowing just like ice glaciers on Earth. The scientists explained that nitrogen, even at almost -400 degrees Fahrenheit, is soft and can flow. As Stern added, the interaction between geology and weather appears to be much greater on Pluto than on any other object seen in our solar system.

Readers!
 

I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.


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.


Your support is even more essential to me because I not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.


You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:
 


 

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


 

If Patreon or Paypal don'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
 

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.

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 *