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.

On the radio

The podcast of my thirty minute appearance with Bill Bartholomew in Rhode Island is now available here. His description of our talk:

Bill Bartholomew welcomes Bob Zimmerman, the person behind the website Behind The Black for a conversation on all things space. How might the 2020 elections impact space exploration and technology? What are some of the key issues and projects the U.S. is involved in the space exploration and technology sectors?



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.


  • Thanks, Bob. A pleasure. Look forward to another round.

  • Ted Ferragut

    I just listened to the podcast and was taken back a little bit on Ron going from independent reporter to advocate/marketer for privatization of the space program. Having worked a split career in both government and the private sector, including privatization efforts in transportation, anyone who picks one side over the other had a fundamental lack of knowledge of the depth of issues in true public-private partnerships. Sorry Ron. Stick to reporting facts.

  • Ted Ferragut: Sorry, but it is hard to take your criticism seriously when you can’t even get my name right.

  • Ted Ferragut

    Bob, I sincerely apologize for getting your name wrong. And I have no intent to embarrass you or myself. I am sincere about advocating vs reporting on privatization of space program. A great space program with a privatization component demands a robust and intelligent public sector to maintain effective leadership in space. I believe that Government needs skill and expertise for science exploration, military requirements, international treaties, public safety, and more.. I represented the private sector in transportation privatization and we succeeded where we had strong public sector skills and cooperation. All I am saying.

  • Ted Ferragut: Read my policy paper, Capitalism in Space. Or maybe one or two of my histories. I do not speak from ignorance. Nor do I completely dismiss the need for government. We are supposed to be a nation of laws and limited government. The laws require government to administer them. The government is also responsible for defending that nation. The citizenry, as individuals, are supposed to exercise their own “self-government” (to use Washington’s words) and not rely on that government to manage their own personal lives.

    The problem has and continues to be a government over-reaching its responsibility as described, and a public eager to let 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 *