Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!
From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.
“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.
All editions available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner. Note that the ebook is still for sale for $3.99, but that price will go up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.
Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.
Using data from the Japanese lunar orbiter Kaguya, scientists have identified several locations near the Moon’s south pole that are in daylight from 86 to 94 percent of the time. Key quote from abstract:
The place receiving the most illumination (86% of the year) is located close to the rim of Shackleton crater at 88.74°S 124.5°E. However two other areas, less than 10 km apart from each other, are collectively lit for 94% of the year. We found that sites exist near the south pole that are continuously lit for several months during summer. We were also able to map the locations and durations of eclipse periods for these areas. Finally we analyzed the seasonal variations in lighting conditions, from summer to winter, for key areas near the south pole. We conclude that areas exist near the south pole that have illumination conditions that make them ideal candidates as future outpost sites. [emphasis mine]
Below is a composite close-up image of the rim of Shackleten crator that I assembled using this Lunar Reconnaissance image. The key quote from the full caption :
The full [Narrow Angle Camera] mosaic reveals a shelf on the southeast flank of the crater that is more than two kilometers across and perfectly suitable for a future landing. The extreme Sun angle gives the surface an exaggerated rough appearance, but if you look closely at this scale any area that is between the small craters might make a good landing site.
The first spacewalk to replace the failed pump module on ISS is finished, and it did not go as well as hoped. The astronauts had problems removing one of four cooling system ammonia lines to the old pump. They eventually succeeded, actually using a hammer to lightly tap the quick-disconnect latch free. They then had to seal an ammonia leak coming from the problematic line. These issues caused them to run out of time, preventing them from removing the old pump and installing the new one. It is expected they will pick up where they left off on the next spacewalk, presently scheduled for Wednesday.
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.
Yesterday a sheriff’s deputy from Prince George’s County, Maryland, shot and killed a family dog while trying to serve an eviction notice. This comes two years after a mistaken raid by Prince George’s police of the home of the mayor of Berwyn Heights killed his two dogs. Key quote:
[Mayor] Calvo, who is suing Sheriff Michael A. Jackson, alleging his deputies engaged in excessive force when they killed his dogs, said deputies have shown a disturbing propensity to kill family pets. “This is part of a pattern,” Calvo said. From 2005 to 2008, deputies shot at least nine dogs in eight incidents, according to sheriff’s department records.
The real horror of this story for those of us who live in Prince George’s County and own dogs (as I do) is that Michael Jackson is running for county executive, and in some polls, is leading the pack.
On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.
The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.
"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News
An evening pause:Kate Rusby, singing her song Polly. The video and audio might not be great, but the performance is stellar. And the lyrics, telling such a simple story of love, make it worthwhile regardless.
"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
Talk about thinking ahead! Since 2007 a team of scientists have actually been planning a mission to 1999 RQ36, the asteroid that has a 1 in 1000 chance of hitting the Earth in 2182. Their mission, dubbed OSIRIS-Rex (Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer), has already been picked as one of two finalists in NASA’s New Frontiers program. The decision on which mission NASA will fund will be made next summer.
Let’s have some conspiracy silliness. A Russian political scientist is claiming that the U.S. military “is using climate-change weapons to alter the temperatures and crop yields of Russia and other Central Asian countries.”
An article today in Science describes how scientists now believe that white nose syndrome is probably going to cause the extinction of the little brown myotis bat. Key quote from the press release:
The researchers determined that there is a 99 percent chance of regional extinction of little brown myotis within the next 20 years if mortality and spread of the disease continue unabated. They note that several other bat species may also face a similar risk.
Boeing is cutting metal on own privately funded new space capsule, planned for completion in 2015. Key quote:
“We’re at a point in the development of human spaceflight where there’s a market emerging beyond the ISS, beyond NASA,” John Elbon, Boeing’s vice president for commercial space programs, said in a briefing Thursday. “And that piece of this is really exciting as well.”
The Senate last night passed its version of NASA’s authorization. You can read the authorization bill here [pdf]. It appears that the bill favors the development of a government-built heavy-lift rocket, and sets the deadline for its launch as 2016, though providing less money for the effort than under the Constellation program.
In a letter response to the EPA’s effort to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, Texas has essentially told the EPA to go to hell. Three key quotes from the letter:
In order to deter challenges to your plan for centralized control of industrialized development through the issuance of permits for greenhouse gases, you have called upon each state to declare its allegiance to the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently enacated greenhouse gas regulations — regulations that are plainly contrary to United State law. ….. To encourage acquiesence with your unsupported findings you threaten to usurp state enforcment authority and to federalize the permitting program of any state that fails to pledge their fealty to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [emphasis mine]
The State of Texas does not believe the EPA’s “suggested” approach comports with the rule of law.
Texas will not facilitate EPA’s apparent attempt to thwart these established procedures and ignore the law.
These Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter images show in increasing magnification a puzzling feature in the southeast part of a ice mound in Louth Crater on Mars. Located at 70 degrees north latitude, this is the farthest south that scientists have found permanent water ice. The close-up image suggests melting ice with the draining water running down hill to the south, though on Mars the low air pressure would cause any liquid water to evaporate instantly. Key quote:
These may be the crests of partially defrosted dark sand dunes or perhaps some other feature that we do not understand. This is the only area on Louth where these enigmatic ridges are found.
At an aerospace industry conference last week SpaceX outlined the company’s plans for building its own heavy-lift rocket, as well as their long range exploration goals. Key quote from rocket development facility director Tom Markusic: “Mars is the ultimate goal of SpaceX.”
Scientists studying Apollo lunar samples have found evidence that most of the Moon appears very dry, with no water at all. These results obviously contradict the recent findings of water in the craters near the lunar poles, and will require some explaining.
Alliant Techsystems (ATK) has scheduled the second test of the five segment solid rocket motor, planned for use on the Ares I rocket, for August 31. Fun quote:
When fired, the motor will produce a maximum thrust 3.6 million pounds, or 22 million horsepower [half the power of the first stage of the Saturn V rocket]. The cases [segments] have all previously flown on the space shuttle, collectively launching on 57 missions.
NASA managers have delayed the first spacewalk to replace the pump module from Friday until Saturday, 7 am (EST), with the second spacewalk now delayed from Monday to Wednesday. This is to give them more time to fine tune their plans.
NOAA has issued an update on its annual hurricane prediction, calling for an active season with 14 to 20 named storms. This prediction is in conjunction with the formation of the cool La Niña in the mid-Pacific Ocean.
After a very long winter where the Arctic Oscillation has been deeply negative, setting records and resulting in very cold conditions in the northern hemisphere, the oscillation has finally entered its positive phase in the last month.
This stunning image of Saturn, taken by Cassini on June 24, 2010, shows the ring’s widening shadow across the planet. As the planet orbits the Sun the tilt of its rings relative to the Sun changes with time. In August 2009 the tilt was essentially zero, so that the shadow was very narrow. Since then the tilt has been increasing, as has the width of the shadow.