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.

Perseverance’s most recent view of Jezero Crater

Panorama by Perseverance, Sol 130, July 2, 2021
Click for full resolution.

Overview map
Click for interactive map.

Cool image time! The panorama above, reduced to post here, is made from two navigation camera images on the Mars rover Perseverance, found here and here.

The map to the right, taken from the “Where is Perseverance?” website and annotated further by me, shows with the yellow lines what I think (but am not sure) is the area seen in the panorama.

The navigation cameras on Perseverance are more wide angle than the navigation cameras on Curiosity, in order to cover a larger area. They thus produce a slight fisheye distortion, illustrated by the curve of the horizon.

The large mountain in the center right is likely the crater rim. You can also see the knobs to the left as indicated on the overview map. The rover is now about halfway to the southernmost planned spot it is expected to reach within the floor of Jezero Crater, which is about a half to three quarters of a mile further south.

The terrain seems quite desolate and barren, which of course is no surprise, because that is what it is like on all of the surface of Mars. No plant life, just rocks and dirt. While Curiosity is now in the mountains, Perseverance remains on the crater floor, so the points of interest (from the mere tourist’s perspective) are small or far away.


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One comment

  • Lee Stevenson

    I can’t help thinking about the Apollo astronauts bouncing around the moon in their V8 moonbuggy. This occurred ( very slightly ) before I was born, and I was raised with kids books from the 60’s that predicted Mars bases by the 80’s ….

    How fast could a pair of astronauts in a Mars buggy get to the interesting sediments where the fossils hopefully are? There and back with the samples in a day?
    I love the robotic exploration of our solar system, but I have just realized that some missions that are green lighted today, will very likely not return science until I am dead. What did you old guys do in the 70’s and 80’s!?!?!?
    ( I am only joking…. I understand the lack of lust for the lunar program, Skylab, voyager, shuttle etc…. I’m just sour because I want to gaze over the seas of Titan… And it pains me just a little to know, even tho my children, or grandchildren might, I never will.)

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