Tag Archives: publicity

Planet-wide groundwater system on Mars

Old news: The European Space Agency today released a press release announcing the results of a science paper that appears to have found evidence of a planet-wide groundwater system on Mars.

I call this old news because I reported on this paper a month ago here on Behind the Black: Well water likely available across Mars.

We are now near the end of my February birthday-month fund-raising drive. If anything should justify a donation or subscription, this story should provide it. You can either wait for the mainstream press to rewrite press releases, or you can support my effort to get real news to you now, reported with both enthusiasm and honest skepticism.

I really do hate to brag, but I also don’t believe in false modesty.

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On the radio

Tonight and tomorrow I will be doing two long radio interviews, for those interested. Tonight I will appear for an hour once again on WCCO-AM in Minnesota with Steve Thompson. Tomorrow I will do one of my regular long appearances on The Space Show with David Livingston. In the second case, I encourage my readers to call in to ask questions and raise new issues. It enlivens the show to have callers to talk to.

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January 26, 2019 Zimmerman on Martian Revelation

I did a long two-hour appearance on a live internet show this past weekend. If you want to listen, you can do so here. Be warned, the audio starts automatically, and I do not appear until the show’s second hour, though you can jump forward.

In some ways this is one of the more interesting interviews I’ve done in awhile. We touched upon SLS, NASA, the bureaucracy, the failure of the federal government in all things, the Space Force, Trump and his real failures and successes, and most importantly, the fundamental necessity of Americans to stop asking the government to do things for them.

Even more entertaining, this was one of the rare times you can hear two guys from the New York metropolitan area having it out, both with loud brass New York accents.

Give it a listen.

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Parabolic Arc’s annual fund-raising campaign

Doug Messier’s space website, Parabolic Arc, is running its annual fund-raising campaign right now, and I would like to urge my readers to consider giving a donation.

Doug and I might disagree on some matters, but the work we both do at our websites complements each other quite nicely. In fact, the areas where we disagree actually enhances this fact, as you will get different perspectives of the same issues from us.

The bottom line is that anyone who checks out both Parabolic Arc and Behind the Black on a daily basis will pretty much find out everything that is happening in space, and get that news before anyone else. Your donations there will thus be greatly appreciated.

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Off to Israel — and Buffalo

I am leaving early this morning for a two week trip to Israel. On my way back I will be stopping in Buffalo, New York for two nights to give lectures at the Niagara Aerospace Museum on Wednesday, December 12 at 7 pm, and then again to the Niagara Frontier Section of AIAA on Thursday, December 13. The first is definitely open to the public.

I will be posting from Israel, but my schedule will be somewhat confused, considering the travel times and all. This is especially frustrating because the next two weeks will be jam-packed with interesting space events, from OSIRIS-REx’s arrival at Bennu to numerous rocket launches. Nonetheless, I will be posting, regardless, even if those posts will happen at odd hours.

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Annual Space Show fund-raising campaign

The Space Show has begun its annual fund-raising campaign.

As someone who has appeared on David Livingston’s show more times than anyone else, I hope my readers will consider supporting the Space Show with some generous donations. David was one of the few people, along with I, advocating commercial space back when the idea was considered insane. In many ways it was his effort with the Space Show that helped drive the revolution toward private space that is now remaking the entire aerospace industry and thus making the exploration and colonization of the solar system finally possible.

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Off to the Grand Canyon

I am off to the Grand Canyon again for a caving expedition. We drive up and hike in today, and hike out and drive home on Monday.

I am not bringing a laptop this time to post on the drives. Posting, except for evening pauses, will thus have to wait until I return.

There is one scheduled launch this weekend, the late lift-off tonight of BebiColumbo, a joint European-Japanese mission to Mercury, by a Ariane 5 rocket. I will catch up on this, and other news, once I return.

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Another Zimmerman op-ed: Congress Needs To Stop Pouring Money Into NASA’s Contractor Black Hole

The Federalist yesterday published an op-ed by myself, focused entirely on the disaster that is big government space, both here and in Russia: Congress Needs To Stop Pouring Money Into NASA’s Contractor Black Hole. Key section, beginning with my description of SLS:

That’s approximately $40 billion over 20 years to launch a single manned mission, in an Apollo-style capsule on a Saturn-type rocket, reusing (supposedly to save money) already built shuttle engines and upgraded shuttle solid rocket boosters. I repeat: It will take NASA more than 20 years and $40 billion to fly one manned mission on SLS. And that’s not including the almost $18 billion NASA will spend to build the Orion capsule that will fly on that mission. Does no one in Congress and in the Trump administration see anything wrong here?

The story gets worse. In September, NASA released what it has dubbed its “National Space Exploration Campaign Report,” a 21-page document outlining the agency’s plans for deep space exploration through 2030, using SLS and Orion as well as a new NASA boondoggle to be built in lunar orbit, dubbed the Gateway. To label this road map a joke would be an insult to comedians everywhere. It lays out deadlines and budgets that are so vague and ambiguous that the project could take a half century, cost a trillion, and still have never launched.
Lawmakers Need to Wise Up to This Black Hole

The worse part of this sad story is that it appears Congress and the Trump administration are buying into it, pushed partly by heavy lobbying by the big space companies — Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman — that hope to get the contracts to build it. It must be understood, however, that the companies advocating Gateway and all future big space projects using SLS and Orion don’t really care if anything ever actually gets built. Like SLS and Orion, what they really want is endless appropriations and cost-plus contracts that will funnel money to them endlessly, even as the launch dates of their projects recede forever into the future.

Nor are Congress and the bureaucracies in NASA and the executive branch interested in accomplishing anything. All Congress wants is to be able to claim they brought jobs to their districts and states, even if those jobs never accomplish anything at all and waste the taxpayers’ money. The bureaucrats merely want to perpetuate their jobs, building empires in fancy Washington offices while attending lots of conferences on the taxpayers’s dime.

None of them care about the national interest. Their goal is to line their pockets, regardless of the harm it does the United States. This must change. If Trump truly wants to empty the swamp, he has to stop funding such boondoggles. This does not mean that Americans should cede the future exploration of space to China and others, but we can clearly do this in a better and smarter way.

Read it all.

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Audiobook of Genesis: the story of Apollo 8 now available

I am pleased to announce the release of the audiobook edition of Genesis: the story of Apollo 8. From the official press release:

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of one of mankind’s boldest adventures, the first manned flight to another world. To mark the occasion, an audio version of the first book about the mission of Apollo 8 has been released, narrated by Grover Gardner, a legend in the ears of fans of audiobooks all over the planet.

Says Valerie Anders, wife of Apollo 8 crew member Bill Anders, “When I first read this excellent account, published before the end of the space shuttle era, I was delighted.”

Now, with the advent of high quality audio books and online merchants like iTunes and Audible, and the resonant and expressive voice of narrator Grover Garner, everyone can enjoy this recording of this pivotal moment in space history.

While more recent books have been published on the mission of Apollo 8 (most of which rely heavily on Zimmerman’s work), none has captured the impact the Apollo program had on the families of the astronauts nearly so well as “Genesis – the story of Apollo 8.” The new forward to “Genesis,” by Valerie Anders, contains a moving tribute to those pilots who never returned from their missions – not as faraway as the moon, but just as dangerous and far more frequent.

This audio presentation also includes a preface and afterward recorded by the author, Robert Zimmerman, noted science journalist, a member of the National Association of Science Writers, and winner of numerous awards. Grover Gardner has been the narrator of more than 500 books, including many of the most popular audio books ever recorded, including the three part biography of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro and Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton. AudioFile magazine refers to him as “one of the best voices of the century.”

“Genesis – the story of Apollo 8” was produced for audio distribution by space fan and Army Lt Colonel William Hartel, who spends his work days as a professor of dentistry at the University of Tennessee. It is available wherever audiobooks are sold and runs 9 hours and 33 minutes.

Contact info: William Hartel, whartel123@aol.com 314-402-5227

You can listen to Grover Gardner’s reading of the foreword by Valerie Anders here.

The audiobook can be purchased directly from all the standard vendors. Or you can get it free with a 30-day trial membership in Audible for $19.99. This costs $2 more than buying the book direct, but this free trial deal will give me a much bigger cut per sale. If you support what I am doing, consider it.

And as always, for those who prefer to read, the ebook edition is also available.

Genesis cover

The ebook edition of Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8 includes a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 

Available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the publisher, Mountain Lake Press.

 

“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

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No Zimmerman/Batchelor podcasts this week

For those who are eager to get their Zimmerman space updates by listening to my regular Tuesday and Thursday podcasts with John Batchelor, I am sorry to say that we likely will not have any this week.

I am suffering from a bad case of bronchitis which does not allow me to utter more than a sentence or two without going into a fit of coughing. Talking on the radio for twenty minutes is thus quite difficult. Last week I managed to get through two podcasts with John plus a two hour appearance on the Space Show, but this week the condition seems to have worsened.

I have done the doctor routine, and the condition is being addressed. If all goes as hoped and the meds do their job, things could be better as soon as Friday, which means John and I might do a podcast then. More likely it will have to wait until next week. Then, however, Batchelor will be on the road, so any podcast will be done live instead our normal taping, which means my throat will have to be even better. We shall have to wait to see how things go.

For me personally, the worst part of this is that it is occurring in July, during my annual fund-raising drive. Without question I have found that not being on the John Batchelor show has hurt the campaign. Thus, if you are reading this and have thought about donating to Behind the Black, this would especially be a good time to do so. Your support now would be doubly appreciated.

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July 17, 2018 Zimmerman/Livingston podcast

The podcast of my two hour appearance on The Space Show is now available here. I like this quote from David’s summary of the program at the link:

Bob spent the better part of the first segment of the program responding to Linda and in the customary Zimmerman fashion, making the case for private commercial space to champion because of freedom and liberty and the core values of the country.

Twas a really interesting show. Lots of very good questions as well as intriguing dialogue from callers.

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On the radio

Tonight I will have two radio appearances. First my normal twenty minute John Batchelor Show appearance will be structured somewhat differently. Instead of reviewing the space news for the past few days, we will be focused entirely on reviewing NASA’s seeming effort to slow commercial space down, so as to reduce the embarrassment to SLS as well as benefit Boeing.

The idea will be that we will make believe that I am giving a briefing to Mike Pence and the National Space Council, explaining in detail why NASA actually seems hostile to getting anything done. It is our hope that maybe someone in the administration might hear it, and rethink the Trump space policy.

Then, beginning at 7 pm (Pacific), I will be doing another live two hour appearance on The Space Show with David Livingston. I am sure the same subject will come up, along with other things. Feel free to call in to ask questions. David does not screen his calls, so this is your opportunity to ask me anything.

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Day off on the Fourth of July in Belize

After three hard days of caving, I decided to take the Fourth of July off to rest, relax, sit by the pool, and catch up with the news in space and elsewhere.

The cave surveying has been going well, but we have been trying to finish the survey of the cave’s largest room, and have found it daunting. Basically we have four survey teams spread out across the room’s width, marching forward to cover the entire passage. Since the room is never less than 150 feet wide, this takes time. After three full days of work, we finally reached the far wall yesterday, though we still have significant clean-up in many places.

Nor is this the cave’s only passage. We have several other areas that need survey, many of which I hope the local cavers will do after we Americans go home on Saturday.

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On the radio

I will be spending a half hour today at 5:05 pm (Central) with Robert Pratt of Pratt on Texas, aired on 790-AM KFYO in Lubbock, 1470-AM KYYW in Abilene, and 1290-AM KWFS in Wichita Falls.

The subject will be the recent successful legal push back by conservatives against the oppressive lies from the left, as outlined in my post earlier this week, Some victories against modern leftist oppression.

And it appears that this push back is gaining steam, something we will certainly discuss.

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On The Space Show Monday March 19 7 pm PDT

Several recent stories regarding Trump’s space policy has prompted David Livingston to quickly schedule a Bob Zimmerman appearance on The Space Show for Monday, March 19, 7 pm (Pacific). The show will last at least ninety minutes. David especially wanted my analysis of Trump’s comments about the Falcon Heavy and SpaceX and how those comments have the big space contractors Boeing and Lockheed Martin quaking in their boots. Their fear and terror is further compounded by the present lack of a NASA administrator, which is made even worse by the announcement that the acting interim administrator is retiring at the end of March.

You can listen to the show live at the Space Show link. We are hoping that a number of my readers will call in with questions as well as their thoughts. The Space Show toll free number is 1 (866) 687-7223. David does not screen calls, though he expects those who call to have good questions or thoughts that will further the conversation in an entertaining way. And I don’t bite!

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Time for my annual birthday fund-raising campaign

As is obvious at the top of the page, I have today started my annual birthday request for donations or subscriptions to Behind The Black.

Please consider donating or subscribing to the website. Every dollar helps, even if it is as little as a $2 monthly subscription. Or you can consider instead buying either of my ebooks, Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, or Pioneer, both available either here at these links or from any bookseller.

Your contributions not only make it possible for my independent reporting on space, science, and culture to continue, it also keeps this page and its comment section alive. In the past four years that comment section has matured into a place where readers have a chance to exchange their vibrant and knowledgeable thoughts about the news I report here. I am continually impressed by the ideas expressed there by my readers. Help keep it going by donating to this site!

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On the radio

On Tuesday, December 19, 2017 I spent an hour with Robert Pratt on his Pratt on Texas radio show. Most of the show was devoted not to space and science but to discussing my weekly updates on the fascist culture on too many of today’s American campuses.

Robert has just let me know that this hour-long interview is going to be replayed twice over the next two weeks, on Christmas Day, December 25, 2017, and on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2018, both times from 6 to 7 pm Central time. He also let me know that the best link to listen is here.

So, if you have nothing better to do during these holidays, here is something that might help to fill your time.

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Off caving

Because I am off on a caving project this weekend in the mountains where there is no internet service, I will not be able to approve comments or post anything until I return on Sunday.

The next few days should be most interesting, as there are SpaceX and ULA launches scheduled. The SpaceX launch tonight will place a secret government satellite in orbit while trying to land its first stage. The ULA launch on Saturday will be the last launch for its Delta 2 rocket, which the company is retiring because it costs too much to operate.

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I am looking for a library to donate my space history files

I am in the process of updating my will, and in the process I am searching for a library or university or archive that would be an appropriate place to leave my space history archives, collected during the past two and a half decades. This archive includes recordings of numerous interviews with Russian and American astronauts and engineers as well as numerous scientists. It also documents quite thoroughly the first half century of the space age.

I had considered giving this archive to the four year university here in Tucson, but it appears they really don’t want it. My last conversation with the head of their special collections was quite hostile, making me wonder if he might have glanced at my webpage and was triggered by it.

If someone has a suggestion, please comment here or email me. My main desire is that this collection should stay intact. I also desire that whichever university or library accepts it also agree to this clause:

It is my request however that these space materials, which cover the history of the first half century of space exploration by someone who witnessed it and thus will be of special interest to future residents not living on Earth, shall be transferred to the first university established on a world other than Earth that is willing to cover the cost for that transfer. Should such transfer occur, the [Earth-bound university/archive] will have the right to retain copies of all materials.

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Pioneer

Pioneer

I am today announcing the publication of Pioneer, a science fiction book I first wrote back in 1982 that has languished in my files now for more than three decades. As I note in the introduction,

It was never published because at the time I could not find an agent to market it to book publishers, and was then too naive and shy to attempt to do such things myself.

In viewing several recent science fiction movies, however, I was motivated to pull the final draft of Pioneer from my files, wondering if it might be marketable. I hadn’t read it in decades, and had literally forgotten the story. I started reading expecting a typical first novel, somewhat incoherent and emotionally immature.

Instead I was quite surprised and enthralled. I couldn’t put the book down. Moreover, I was astonished at the coherence of the story and characters. “This is a good book!” I exclaimed to my wife Diane. Nor am I bragging when I say this, since the person who wrote it is someone from many decades ago and who essentially no longer exists.

Thus, I decided it was time to get Pioneer published, especially since this is now a very easy thing to do, no longer requiring either an agent or a book publisher.

The press release announcing the book’s publication provides the story’s premise:
» Read more

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