Leaving Earth cover

In 2019 I obtained from my former publisher the last 30 copies of the now out-of-print hardback of Leaving Earth. I sold about half of these, and with only a handful left in stock I have raised the price. To get your own autographed copy of this rare collector's item please send a $75 check (includes $5 shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to

Behind The Black, c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

I will likely raise the price again when only ten books are left, so buy them now at this price while you still can!

Also available as an inexpensive ebook!

Leaving Earth: Space Stations, Rival Superpowers, and the Quest for Interplanetary Travel, can be purchased as an ebook everywhere for only $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.


Winner of the 2003 Eugene M. Emme Award of the American Astronautical Society.

"Leaving Earth is one of the best and certainly the most comprehensive summary of our drive into space that I have ever read. It will be invaluable to future scholars because it will tell them how the next chapter of human history opened." -- Arthur C. Clarke

Daft Punk – Get Lucky

An evening pause: Hat tip Kyle Kooy. I don’t think the Chinese military realized that they were marching to this music, but gosh darn it, they sure appear to. As Kyle noted to me, “Somebody took a Chinese military parade and set the music to the American song “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk. … [It] creates a very mesmerizing video that is both upbeat and somewhat eerie at the same time.”

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.


  • Steve

    Reminds me of the Clone Army from Star Wars. They all appear to be the exact same height and body mass….

  • Good point. I wondered how they were able to remain in such perfect equal distance through out the march. Perhaps they were specific chosen to have the same size and weight.

    Bob Clark

  • Steve C

    These guys spend way to much time marching.

  • PeterF

    As a retired Air Force veteran, I LOVE to see the premier units of the PLA (Peoples Liberation Army) march with such precision. The incredible amount of practice needed to march with such precision means that they are not training for combat.
    Historically, marching skills are useful only for moving conscripts when mechanized transportation is unavailable.
    I LOVE seeing the PLA marching
    In the USAF, the only time you get to march after basic training is if you volunteer for the color guard to carry the flag at football games.
    People forget the the US Army met the Chinese army in combat. They call it “The Forgotten War”. The Chinese (including many of their “elite” units) were horribly undertrained and unequipped. The US Army, struggling after crippling drawdowns and equipped with worn-out “surplus” equipment and barely resupplied should have kicked their butts. The only reason we didn’t was because of the below zero winter weather. The Chosin reservoir battle was an amazing example of a fighting retreat. Supply points established during the initial advance (not authorized by MacArthur) allowed them to fight a rear guard fighting retreat. The only reason the Chinese prevailed was the incredible number of unequipped conscripts who overwhelmed the Marines. Many of the Chinese didn’t even have SHOES! never mind a firearm or ammunition! The Chosin reservoir would have been an American victory if they had air cover, or resupply, (or political support).
    Even though I admire President Eisenhower (and Reagan), (I have an I LIKE IKE bumper sticker), any president who would commit American soldiers to battle without the ultimate goal of complete and TOTAL surrender of the enemy, is guilty of criminal negligence.

  • pzatchok

    Since the first gulf War the Chinese military has done an almost total about face from their old tactics of overwhelming manpower to a new, better equipped and trained military.

    They have drastically cut back manpower at the same time increasing military spending on both training and equipment.
    Add in the fact they are trying to finally build a blue water navy and improve their aircraft and they will soon be on par with the US and other western nations.

    I just hope that their military power peeks at the same time as their democracy movement does.
    Basically they get to be a superpower and then get reigned in by political pressure.

    I know, I dream a bit.

  • MikeP

    You’re absolutely right Peter. Because we did not deal with them in 1950, we have a North Korea with nukes and ballistic missles and a willingness to share them with terrorist states and a China with a nuclear arsenal that probably now exceeds our own. The fault is Truman’s, not Eisenhower’s.

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