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Leaving Earth cover

In March I obtained from my former publisher the last 30 copies of the now out-of-print hardback of Leaving Earth. I quickly sold 10, and with only 20 left in stock I am raising 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, is now available 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

The climategate email anniversary

Some cogent thoughts from James Delingpole about climate politics on the one year anniversary of the release of the climategate emails and the refusal of the elite ruling class to address the issue. Key quote:

And why is this so? In part, at least, it is because of the abject, ongoing failure of our Mainstream Media to report environmental issues with the robust scepticism that ought to be the natural tack of responsible journalists. Too many environmental reporters are still regurgitating press releases handed to them by activist organisations like the WWF, Greenpeace and Friends Of The Earth. In the MSM, as in government, it’s like Climategate never happened.

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.
 

A snowstorm in space

Almost literally, the probe Deep Impact flew through a snowstorm when it flew past Comet Hartley 2 on November 4. Below is one of the best pictures from the moment. More images can be found here. Key quote:

[The images] revealed a cometary snow storm created by carbon dioxide jets spewing out tons of golf-ball to basketball-sized fluffy ice particles from the peanut-shaped comet’s rocky ends. At the same time, a different process was causing water vapor to escape from the comet’s smooth mid-section. This information sheds new light on the nature of comets and even planets.

Comet Hartley 2

Note that all the close-up images taken by Deep Impact are going to be slightly out of focus, as the camera was launched with a defect.

Reviewing the flight rationale for Discovery’s launch

NASA management is reviewing the “flight rationale” for Discovery’s next mission, considering the cracks in the external tank. Key quote:

Troubleshooters are assessing the structural integrity of the tank and its foam insulation to develop the necessary flight rationale, or justification, for proceeding with another launch as early as Nov. 30.

Scientists succeed in trapping atoms of anti-matter for the first time

For the first time scientists succeed in trapping atoms of anti-matter. Key quote:

The team know the trap worked because they made about 10 million antihydrogen atoms which promptly obliterated themselves. Then they turned off their new trap and saw 38 more obliterations — meaning those 38 antihydrogens stuck in the trap.

Sea Life Flourishes in the Gulf

Despite the howls of panic over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill this past summer, sea life is flourishing in the gulf. Key quote:

A comprehensive new study says that in some of the most heavily fished areas of the Gulf of Mexico, various forms of sea life, from shrimp to sharks, have seen their populations triple since before the spill. Some species, including shrimp and croaker, did even better. [emphasis mine]

Penn at airport threatens to press charges against TSA for assault

A blow for freedom! Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) called the cops and threatened to press charges against a TSA security agent for assault during his airport screening. Fun quote:

I tell the cop the story, in a very funny way. The cop, the voice of sanity says, “What’s wrong with you people? You can’t just grab a guy’s crank without his permission.” I tell him that my genitals weren’t grabbed and the cop says, “I don’t care, you can’t do that to people. That’s assault and battery in my book.”

The story gets even crazier afterward, when a pr gal from the TSA calls Penn and tries to placate him. This quote is especially telling:

“If you give me your itinerary every time you fly, I’ll be at the airport with you and we can make sure it’s very pleasant for you.”

Update: I just realized that this event occurred in 2002, so it isn’t part of the recent TSA craziness, only past TSA craziness that is as unacceptable as the new TSA craziness.

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