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.

New tests prove EM drive doesn’t work

Two different alternative concepts that proposed methods for creating thrust in space but defied known physics have both been found wanting in new stringent experiments.

The EM drive especially came off badly. Apparently the tiny residual force that remains after building the experiment rigorously and with care is caused not by the EM drive but by the Earth’s magnetic field.

Readers of Behind the Black know that I am a strong skeptic when it comes to flashy new discoveries, whether they are made by famous and well known cosmologists or some guys in their garage. To me, what matters is the data, and its reliability and robustness. The EM drive never passed the smell test. Good science experimentation has now proven this.

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  • eddie willers

    They should have used cold fusion.

    PS. “That’s a joke, son. I say a joke!”

  • Laurie

    The article authors are jerks.

  • Laurie: Maybe so, but the data remains the bottom line, and the data here shows that the EM drive, as well as these other fantasy drives, does not work. That is what matters, in the end.

    Personally, I didn’t mind the author’s sarcasm, especially because he admitted to it.

  • Laurie

    Yes, I overreacted a tad – my bad.

    While I appreciate levity, I’m not a fan of ridicule.

  • Michael Dean Miller


    If only liberal socialist policies were judged on replicable end results.


  • Michael Dean Miller


    I wish liberal socialist ideas were judged on replicable end results.


  • Please don’t double post. You posted in the middle of the night. Have patience. I will approve legitimate posts.

  • wodun

    I must admit that I treasured my ignorance of the Mach-effect thruster. And I will not pretend to give an explanation for how it works here.


    And the result? Well, a bit more promising, but still most likely noise.

    It is a math based effect but not math that anyone uses. From what I remember, Dr Woodward has solicited the scientific community to explain what is going on but to date, no one can but they can all replicate the results.

    I was watching one of the presentations he did and he dropped something interesting. The frequency created by his device was also recorded from a UFO. Maybe I will dig up the link. It was a good presentation and then he just slips in this offhand comment during the discussion portion.

  • Mitch S.

    While I wouldn’t go so far as to call them “jerks”, what bothered me about the article was the implication
    that we should “Leave science to the professionals”.
    Any claim, or theory, especially ones that expand or challenge what is considered “known” should be met with skepticism – that’s healthy science.
    But it’s not science to close off curiosity and imagination and determine the merit of a theory based on the credentials of those who present it.
    And as I recall, when the EM thruster effect was announced even those announcing it expressed skepticism – but as scientists the evidence they discovered had to be confirmed or disproven by scientific methods not because it didn’t smell right.

    I suppose if the authors of the article were around 120 years ago they would be telling us “If man can make a heavier than air flying machine it will be determined by the esteemed scientists at institutions such as the Smithsonian and surely not by a couple of bicycle mechanics from Ohio”.

  • Localfluff

    Seems to have been a very ambitious and expensive laboratory setting. I hope this sets a new standard for making claims of new physics. Those who have succeeded in creating new physics (as opposed to tinkering with engineering) were Newton and Einstein. Most remarkably, they did it single-handedly! Newton locked himself up in his study for 18 months to write down his Principia. And Einstein’s papers had no coauthors and hardly even any references. The third Messiah will prove that he is the one. He won’t start out with wild speculations and unproven hypotheses. That has never worked.

  • wodun

    While I wouldn’t go so far as to call them “jerks”, what bothered me about the article was the implication
    that we should “Leave science to the professionals”.

    Problem is the people making these devices are professionals.

    And, even though I respect the effort in testing them, I cannot help feeling that we might be able to apply a better filter to these ideas.

    Instead of treasuring his ignorance, he should talk to Dr Woodward or watch some of his presentations given at professional conferences. Skepticism is great but that means checking things out (like the replication in the article) not just being dismissive (author’s sentiment). Most normal people don’t have the time or background to dig deeply into stuff like this, which is why we do need a skeptical group of professionals who choose to do so. If the author is so smart, maybe he could help a little?

    It is very easy to get caught up in things that sound right but you have no way of knowing. This has been employed by the science community quite often, sometimes with no ill intent but sometimes with the intent of BS’ing people, as with the global warming fear mongering. Notice they don’t stand for any skepticism or replication and demand total obedience.

  • Edward

    Mitch S. wrote: “But it’s not science to close off curiosity and imagination and determine the merit of a theory based on the credentials of those who present it.

    How true, and modern astronomers are welcoming amateur astronomers to study much of their sky data and their planetary data for new discoveries. Robert has posted the occasional article on what amateurs have observed. This attitude almost certainly comes from the tradition of amateurs and students being the major group of comet hunters.

    What matters is not so much the credential of the scientist as the ability to pay attention to the details of an observation or discovery. If the work is sloppy, then poorly checked reporting causes most to think that cold fusion or Piltdown Man is real. In this case, we were being led to believe that we could change our momentum without affecting the momentum of the rest of the universe.

    Localfluff wrote: “Most remarkably, they did it single-handedly!

    They had epiphanies, which is why credit correctly goes to them, but they stood on the shoulders of giants. Einstein was, at the time, an amateur — a lowly clerk in the patent office — rather than a professional physicist. Despite doing their work virtually single handed, before publishing both men did their homework and assured themselves that they were right. The risk is that they may get scooped, as amateurs Ralph Alpher and Robert Herman did to the Princeton physicists in discovering the Big Bang cosmic background radiation, but getting it right is important. Otherwise everyone will think of you as they think of Pons and Fleischmann.

    wodun wrote: “Most normal people don’t have the time or background to dig deeply into stuff like this, which is why we do need a skeptical group of professionals who choose to do so.

    It was the skeptical professional physicists who spent a century proving Einstein was right, experiment after experiment.

    The problem with the global warming fear mongering is that the professionals have failed to be skeptical of their own work, and have not done their homework to assure themselves that they were right. Then when their work turned out to be bogus, they covered up by “losing” valuable original data, hiding the decline that shows their data is unreliable, and denying skeptical scientists the right to publish. Now we are seeing actual fudging of NOAA data without the science community getting up in arms to decry it.

    We are also seeing in many sciences that papers are not adequately peer reviewed or the experiments not well repeated. Entire areas of science are rapidly becoming jokes, useless for predicting future results of today’s actions. These professionals are turning their scientific fields into the equivalent of astrology.

    Hopefully, astronomy and space sciences will not fall prey to the laxness of many of the other sciences.

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