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.
 

Seven countries join the U.S. in signing the Artemis Accords

NASA announced yesterday that seven countries — the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and Italy — have now signed the Artemis Accords, the Trump administration’s effort to create a legal framework that will protect property rights in space and get around the legal limitations imposed by the Outer Space Treaty.

I suspect this announcement was in response to statements earlier this week by Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency, that they will not partner with the U.S. in its Lunar Gateway space station project. Though Rogozin cited other issues for the decision, such at the fact that they would not be treated as an equal partner in Gateway, I suspect the decision was also made because Russia’s government opposes the Artemis Accords and does not wish to sign it. China has said the same.

Since those accords are designed to shift power and control from governments to private enterprise, it is not surprising that Russia and China oppose them. Both are authoritarian top-down societies whose government reflects their culture. To sign an agreement that would take power from the state and give it to their citizens is unacceptable.

So be it. Of the countries that have signed, I expect in future years they will all prosper in space, and eventually force others to accept the ideas of freedom, private property, and capitalism that inspire the accords. Luxombourg is committed to pushing private enterprise and investment in commercial space. The UK, Australia, Canada, and Japan all follow the same principles, and all have robust space industries that should only get stronger.

And the UAE, the new baby on the block, wants to make commercial space a big part of its future. Signing these accords — along with their peace deal with Israel — indicates strongly that they mean business, and that they are trying heartily to separate themselves from the radical Islamic movements that have been poisoning the Arab Middle East for decades.

Moreover, the U.S. is requiring any nation that wishes to participate in its effort to return to the Moon to sign these accords. These nations, and their citizens, will therefore have a chance to contribute to that effort, and likely make a lot of money in the process.

Posting is late today because Diane and I went on an 8-mile hike. My gym now idiotically requires masks while you work out, and I am certainly not going to do that. Therefore, to maintain our cardiovascular systems while strengthening our immune systems (the best defense against all flulike diseases, including the Wuhan virus), we have been doing 6 to 10 mile hikes now twice a week. It means one day a week I need to schedule some posts early, and catch up when I get home. I hope my readers understand.

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3 comments

  • Dick Eagleson

    Australia is a Moon Treaty member state. Perhaps Oz’s signing of the Artemis Accords also serves as official notice of its intention to withdraw from the Moon Treaty as that treaty is not compatible with the provisions of the Artemis Accords.

  • LocalFluff

    Bilateral agreements are better than involving multi-national ESA (who maybe are involved too, I don’t know, some European nations have both a national space program and ESA-participation) since a multi-national organization has to haggle internally, adding another layer of “political” problems. The USA made the Apollo program on their own, importing only small pieces like parts of the landing gear from Canada (the first part that hit the Moon, they brag, although a US made sensor did), cameras from Sweden and radio transmission services from Australia (who erased the original recording of Apollo 11!) An international project will take longer and cost more.

    Luxembourg has an interesting space policy which I suppose is driven by their satellite industry, which in turn I guess has to do with their tradition with Radio Luxembourg’s transmissions. They seem to promote private space in a great way. It’s a funny country of farmers, high paid services like lawyers, bankers, EU bureaucrats, and some high tech industry. Most low paid jobs, like shop clerks and cleaners, are held by French who live on the other side of the border.

  • D. Messier

    The announcement was planned well in advance to correspond with the International Astronautic Conference held last week. IAC is when a lot of announcements like this are made. NASA had to coordinate the announcement w 7 nations. That doesn’t happen overnight. NASA did put out a statement from Bridenstine following Rogozin’s remarks the day before the Artemis Accords announcement.

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