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

Making art from aluminum cans and anthills

An evening pause: I’ve posted an evening pause previously about making art from an aluminum casting of an anthill, but this video is worth watching because it really shows how relatively easy it is to do. Moreover, they used soda cans as their material!

Hat tip Rocco.

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.


  • Wayne

    Thanks Mr. Z & Rocco. ( I was getting totally depressed by the 3 previous posts.)

    These are good.
    -Is he the same guy who shows you how to extract gold from microchips?

  • mpthompson

    Last night I came across the following video which yields a similar artistic result from molten aluminum, but from a much different process:


  • wodun

    They had bags of empty cans but I noticed there were not any half empty cans sitting around if you know what I mean.

  • Very cool. You should have emailed this link to me and I could have scheduled it as an evening pause. This is exactly the kind of stuff I like to post.

  • Cotour

    I really like the video added by MPT, a very unique result, and no living ants had to be vaporized in order to produce it.

    I find the gratuitous killing of any life form to be unconscious and ignorant.

    Even if it is “only” ants.

  • Wayne


    The kid with the molten aluminum video’s is very interesting. Thanks for turning me on to him!
    Apparently, cooking with hot lava, as well, is an actual thing in Hawaii & other places near active volcanoes.
    I’d love to hear from any Metallurgists in the audience!!

  • Wayne

    (hey :) )
    Personally, I hate all insects & would trend toward “killing them all.” I do however appreciate their absolutely vital role in the whole ecosphere.

    –weigh in on the “debate” and Ben Carson Trump endorsement, in the “how I went from Trump Curious to anti-trump” Thread. Would be interested on your take.

  • Cotour

    “Hate” is such an absolute and all encompassing word.

  • Wayne

    Cotour wrote: ““Hate” is such an absolute and all encompassing word.”

    Yeah, I guess it is. Point taken! I can tolerate a whole lot, but never was an “insect person.”
    They creep me out. (not so much “ants” but larger Insects such as Roaches.)

    Probably should have said, “Personally I’m not an insect-guy & would trend toward killing them in large numbers, BUT fully appreciate their place in Nature & don’t actively/overtly do that sort of thing.”
    –If “insects” mess with me, I do go thermonuclear on them. I do have a twinge of “guilt” when I have kill them.
    Spider’s are not my favorite, at all, but if-anything, I go out of my way to try and not kill them, because they eat other insects!
    Had a rather large spider living in my outdoor garage light-fixture for a few weeks last Fall. Sorta “sad” when it vanished. Beautiful spider-web constructor was she!

  • wodun

    As with everything, it all depends.

    Ants are cool but they can become problematic, as they say. What if the ants are under your patio and ruining how level your pavers are? What if they are inside of your house someplace? What if they destroy your yard?

    Spiders are much the same way. Some spiders are totally cool just running around eating other bugs and making cool webs but then there are Hobo spiders. These little guys are not dumb. They watch you moving from across a room. They scurry across walls, over floors, and over you! Their bites can become necrotic. When you see one, there are tens more, so it isn’t like just one spider doing its thing but an infestation.

    I’m a live and let live kinda guy but that is a two way street. When bugs step over the line, I step on them.

  • wayne

    Wodun opined:

    “When bugs step over the line, I step on them.”

    –I approve that Message!–

    Currently have field-mice constructing a subdivision under my deck. (They employ ground-squirrels to do the heavy digging.) My Cat can’t do all the work, much like the under-staffed Border Patrol.

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