Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. 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.

Regular readers can support 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

“The solar system is open for business”

Link here. The article gives an independent look at the surging capitalism that appears to be driving the resurgent rocket and space industry in the U.S. and elsewhere.

As the author notes in his conclusion:

There was a time when space enthusiasts waited on taxpayer-funded space programs to realize their dreams of routine spaceflight and humanity’s expansion into the cosmos. It’s been a very long wait. Now, privatized launch services are opening up access to space. A new wave of exploration missions is widening human knowledge of the solar system. It’s only a matter of time before entrepreneurs, particularly those with deep pockets, figure out how to make money out there.

I plug this article not because he quotes me extensively, but because he came to these conclusions independent of me, and only called me for comments because he thought I might add depth to his conclusions. That the ideas I have been pushing since the late 1990s are now percolating into the larger culture is a very very good sign.

While in those early days the reporters I spoke to were routinely horrified by the idea of a privately financed space mission and wondered if the government should even allow it (they really would say this), today the idea is now considered the right way to go.

This is progress, even in this time of blacklists and a government focused on crushing its citizens.

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.


  • wayne

    Great Article!
    (I would expect no less from the Mercatus Center.)


    “What’s Your Moonshot?”
    Don Boudreaux/ Mercatus Center
    November 21, 2017

    “…..In 1978 after 40 years of bureaucratic rule, a bipartisan effort opened up the airline industry to competition. The changes were transformational. Air travel, once only for the well-off, is now a common way to get home for the holidays. Overnight shipping was virtually impossible; now it’s practically a requirement for customers and business alike. To what problems can we apply this paradigm now? What else is locked-in and off-limits to innovation? Tell us: what’s your moonshot?”

  • Jester Naybor

    Wayne, the rise of fracking … in the face of Climate Change Cultism and its hold upon our government … is another example of the transformational thinking you describe. It has not only transformed our economy, it is indirectly transforming the geopolitics of the MidEast now by putting our nation in a position where we can walk away from the region if needed 0- and they know it.

    It appears that the essential element in such transformations, is assuring that government intervention in these areas is kept to a minimum. Unfortunately, it also appears that avoiding such intervention requires initially remaining under-the-radar of the State’s busybodies, so that they don’t care enough to intervene until enough success is achieved to make that intervention politically suicidal.

    Given the desires of our technocrats to micromanage us in their self-righteous hubris, staying under-the-radar is not assured.

  • janyuary

    “This is progress …”

    And those who engage in it are progressives.

    The backward ones bear the wrong label and language is powerful. Space owns the narrative, I wonder?

    Government works to frustrate free enterprise and capitalism, the places where entrepreneurs thrive. It will attempt to stifle it in space exploration, as well.

  • Edward

    Robert wrote: “That the ideas I have been pushing since the late 1990s are now percolating into the larger culture is a very very good sign.

    In the 1990s, Dr Alan Binder attempted to make the Lunar Prospector probe using private funding. He ran into the same kind of problems, people thinking that commercial space exploration was not the way to go.

    From the article: “‘… a lot of the resource talk is about water because the profit centers in space are not going to be profit centers for us on Earth. They are going to be profit centers for other people in space, like water. You can make money providing water.

    During the California Gold Rush, the miners were not the ones who made the most money; it was the suppliers, the shopkeepers.

    The fate of these firms and other early space ventures comes down to the formidable barriers to entry—first and foremost, the high cost of access to space.

    The author of the article, Michael Puttré, failed to note that the reason Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) was to reduce that cost of access to space. He has succeeded, and if Starship works as expected, that cost will drop even more dramatically.

  • Chris

    From my view I think we will need government hands on and hands off.

    The new entrepreneurs are entering the space markets, Keeping them back are the traditionalists (e.g. JAXA) and the bureaucrats in the “free market” countries who see their kingdoms threatened.
    But then there is the governance of space. This is THE New World. I think contrary to popular belief, the laws of space ore not even close to being written – or even considered. We have not even seen what the issues will be. There are thousands of situations that the new industries that have not been invented yet have not encountered. Here we need some type of government hand.
    Then there is the governments themselves in space. China and Russia. How will disputes be handled – presence of power rules? Will issues in space require terrestrial action? The Space Force, will it conduct “Freedom of Navigation” and “Safe Passage” exercises? Our overwhelming capability enable that now. Will we have that capability in space?

    It’s a new world and it needs government and it doesn’t need government

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 *