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Behind the Black

At the end of the last spacewalk during this last servicing mission to Hubble, astronaut John Grunsfeld took a few moments to reflect on Hubble’s importance. This was Grunsfeld’s third spaceflight and eighth spacewalk to Hubble, and no one had been more passionate or dedicated in his effort to get all of Hubble’s repairs and upgrades completed.

“As Arthur C. Clarke says,” Grunsfeld said, “the only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.”

For most of human history, the range of each person’s experience was of a distant and unreachable horizon. This untouchable horizon defined “the limits of the possible.” No matter how far an individual traveled, there was always a forever receding horizon line of unknown territory tantalizingly out of reach before him.

In earliest prehistoric times, the size of the known territory within that horizon line was quite small. Each villager knew a region ranging from ten to fifty miles in radius. He or she knew there were people and villages beyond the horizon, but never saw them. Moreover, even the most traveled explorer had a limit to his range, and knew that at some distant point what lay beyond that horizon was a complete mystery.

Later, as human civilization progressed, the size of known territory within that horizon line expanded. Different cultures met, exchanged information about each other, and recorded the data so that even those who did not travel far from their homes could know something of distant lands beyond their personal horizon. Still, explorers who pushed the horizon found that it continued to forever recede. No matter how far they traveled, the horizon was always ahead of them, an impossible goal beckoning them onward to find new lands unexplored.

Then humans reached the ocean and the sailors took over. To the mariner, there was still a forever receding horizon of great mystery, but he initially feared traveling out towards it because it was dangerous and risky. The ocean was a vast desert, with no food or water. Worse, that desert could suddenly become violent, heaving his ship about and tearing it to shreds.

With time, ship designs improved, and the mariners began journeying outward. The Vikings sailed out into the northern seas to find more lands and more endless unknown territories. Later, using better ships that were more reliable, Columbus pushed the western horizon and this time the visit was permanent. Even for Columbus, however, the horizon was still an impossible goal out of reach. He had sailed west, hoping to reach China and thus circumscribe the very limits of the horizon. Instead he discovered the New World, with its vast new territories and unlimited possibilities.

Nonetheless, the impossibility of touching that horizon had never been a deterrence, for either Columbus or anyone else. As the poet Robert Browning wrote, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,/Or what’s a heaven for?” People from all cultures felt compelled to reach for that unreachable distant goal, “to go beyond the possible and try to touch the impossible.”

It was with Magellan, however, that the impossible became possible, and the limits of the horizon were finally reached. For though he set out “to sail beyond the sunset,” traveling west as far as he could go, the horizon did not recede forever away from him into unknown lands. Instead, the survivors of Magellan’s epic voyage circled the globe and found themselves back where they had started, in a known place. The unknown horizon was gone. Humanity for the first time knew the limits of the world. The impossible no longer existed.

For the next five centuries the human race was consumed with learning and exploring and settling the limits of this Earth, delving into its every corner, from the freezing poles to the bottom of the ocean to the highest mountaintop. In all cases, however, the Earth was a prison, placing a curb to exploration. No matter how deeply humans probed, they were still trapped on a spherical world, a giant prison floating in the blackness of space. There was no visible but untouchable horizon to reach for.

The Hubble Space Telescope, along with all the early manned and unmanned space probes of the past half century, have given us that horizon back. We are no longer trapped on this Earth. We now can travel outward with increasing sophistication, either in manned spaceships or with unmanned robots like Hubble, pushing against a new infinite horizon that — instead of a horizon line — is a black sky above us and receding away from us in all directions.

Perhaps the best and most noble of all human behaviors has been the never-ending effort to push back against that infinite blackness, to find out what lies behind it and get some fundamental answers to our questions about life, the universe, and existence itself. For me, it is essential that all of us always ask that next question, always challenge what is known so as to find out what is unknown, and always reach out for that “unreachable star.”

Grunsfeld finished his last spacewalk to Hubble by adding this one small thought, “As Drew [Feustel] and I go into the airlock, I want to wish Hubble its own set of adventures, and with the new set of instruments we’ve installed, that it may unlock further mysteries of the universe.”

Hubble, as well as all human exploration, has given us the first detailed and clear glimpse of what lies hidden in the black untouchable horizon above us. May we not shirk from that adventure, but reach out to grasp it fully, even if we cannot ever really touch its limits.

Revised from the afterword of the paperback edition of The Universe in a Mirror.

Conscious Choice cover

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.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“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 are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also 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.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Stretch

    Wonderful Bob. Just wonderfully expansive as the frontier above the sky… Thank you for reaching beyond all of us ;)

  • Greg

    I see that you have studied out the pioneering models of the past, and have a passionate vision of our progress off world. Someday we will escape our present boundaries, no doubt, but before that time, which is yet distant, we must learn to live where we are. Over the years dreamers have all sought perfection in new societies, experimenting with social structures and forms of government, most have failed, many miserably. Paradise is a lost dream on our generation. So we must make the best of what is left, and by doing so, prepare to move off world, not just through technology, but through the experience of making rational adjustments to our social habits and expectations. These activities are not mutually exclusive, and should be pursued in tandem.

    I need you, Robert, as a good communicator, to grasp and advocate this:


    Star architecture communities are a new concept that can radically change civilization. In an age of hyperbole, we tend to dismiss the possibility that such can happen, yet this template can change land usage, politics, transportation, energy needs, carbon displacement, life styles and quality of life for those participating. It would be environmentally friendly. It will affect all local, regional, global politics and markets when applied. They will redefine counties, states, and nations. It will alter the balance of life on our planet while improving all aspects of human interaction and involvement. It provides modulation while allowing room to customize and fineness that provide specialization and characterization. By greatly reducing the need of roads and human land usage, it would open larger corridors for wilderness and animal habitation, design constraints that should always be considered. Those that live within the communities have bought into this and are free accordingly, constrained only by the Charter which will include building and zoning codes. A Master Charter would address the boundary zones of no growth, the distance between Star communities and formations from each other. Collections of Star communities would then form States, Nations, redefining the world politically.

    Star Communities are pre-planned, prebuilt cities organized in star formations, or in other words, each city is interconnected with several other cities that define them as a star or group. Each city is independent in its character and resources and whatever surpluses are generated by one city would be marketed to the others in its group first, then, any surplus left from the group may be marketed outside the group, to other groups or the world at large. Each city will have many attributes, but perhaps abound in one in particular, such as energy production, farming, ranching, fishing, mining, forestry or manufacturing. One city, usually the largest, is designated as the central governing body for that Star formation. Each city would be restricted in its physical size to avoid sprawl and environmental intrusion. Intensive farming and forestry would be utilized, while parks and open areas would be incorporated from the inside area outward to break up the heat signature characterized by modern cities. With storied construction and earth covered facilities, much can be done in smaller areas. Schools could have forest growing over them, with solar tubes passing light into the space blow. Farms could be in multi-story buildings for some crops, with other, wider spaced crops perhaps growing over a dairy that provides nutrients pumped from below. Gases could be collected from the underground roof and utilized for the energy cycle of the production. Range lands could also incorporate herds of cattle or other domesticated animals while harvesting solar power. Managed forest and groves would also be included to the benefit of its owners and so forth, allowing a good blend of land use. If imagined, engineered and cost allow, many possibilities impractical before, can now be realized. Each city in the group would interconnect with it’s hub city with high speed transport, which would have links to other hubs. Airports would also be located within the hub cities and this would be a rational, managed arrangement, limiting the need for air travel.

    Sizes: Mega cities are over built, over populated centers that tend to overwhelm and at times, dehumanize its population who become lost in a sea of strangers. Mega cities are obsolete in the Star community template. Small communities are charming but limited in human resources that are needed to fulfill basic social and economic needs. Some consume as much land area as that of a large metropolitan area, with little useful effect. Star communities will vary their populations from 100 thousand to not more than 250 thousand per city, the larger usually being the central governing body and transportation hub of the Star. The mission of each Star community will be determined in advance by those intending to incorporate it, but each must conform to the overall Charter that will define the Star. Each Star would incorporate a million +/– a few hundred thousand people. Population would be determined by the character of the Star and the resources available to it. Star communities would replace the outdated cities of the world, through attrition and over time. These can be private ventures but would benefit from land grants from the Federal Government, which is the largest land owner in the United States, especially in the Western States. This plan would eventually revolutionize these same States and political adjustments would have to follow. Caution would be needed to keep outdated governments from usurping this effort, or failing that, efforts must be made to work with them to preserve the freedoms required to make this work and every adjustment used to free these fledgling States from tyranny intended or not.

    Each city incorporates according to Charter and will have included in every home, office, or occupied facility the basics that will include power, water, waste management and high speed data utilities, with immediate access to inter city transportation. Each city will have a direct line of transportation for passengers and goods to the center city, which acts as a transportation hub which is also linked to other hubs of other Star communities. Such things as magnetic or mechanically enabled capsules could be used in each home or business to transport package canisters to accommodate small deliveries such as mail and groceries, or in specially tagged canisters, garbage disposal. Exact sizes and payloads of such a drop tube system remain to be engineered, but this sort of thing, if part of the design of the city, would drastically reduce cost and need of transportation and have significant savings of time and resources. By designing the attributes before construction, the possibilities become affordable and exciting. City developers will, over time, be able to select from menu items that will include with each item, demonstrated cost and maintenance figures to assist in determining the desirability of such features. As the engineering and implementation gains in experience, such costs should be easier to be realized without undue economic strain. The hardest part of this program is getting it started. The third Star would begin to realize enormous benefits from the pioneering first and second Star communities. Innovations would become realized all along. Eventually, the first Star communities would be recycled and rebuilt with all of the improvements denied it due to uncertainties or unknowns. This would be a multiple generational cycle. Star communities would, by their Charter, build into them twenty to twenty five percent surpluses to help absorb displaced communities evacuated due to disaster or maintenance, each Star capable of sustaining a displaced City within its system. Such redundancy should be standard.

    Robert, that’s the idea in a thumbnail sketch. It needs some help to carry it forward. Such an undertaking would require the expertise of every trade, every science. It requires a new set of pioneers to set it into motion, into reality. When we learn to live here and properly use our present resources, off world colonization will become more feasible and our experience will allow it to happen.

  • Arguing on the Internet is like running in the Special Olympics: Even if you win you’re still retarded.

  • Scott


    Tsk, tsk… I see you’ve been reading Thomas More again – or maybe you came across a copy of Lost Horizon. Either way, Greg, I would caution against this line of thought, as it has been known to lead some men down the authoritarian trail. (if you know what I mean)

    Now, I’m not a religious man, but I do take note of wisdom wherever I find it lurking:

    “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

    I wonder – was Eden merely an early form of “Star Community”? Oh, well…Guess it doesn’t really matter. Didn’t work out quite the way the maker intended. Or, maybe you’re proposing something more along the lines of the early English poets: “…the houses were made of barley sugar and cakes, the streets were paved with pastry, and the shops supplied goods for nothing.”

  • gayle

    Is it possible that the reason we have not found any radio signals from outer space, is that more advanced civilizations may very likely consider this “space garbage” and clean it all up? My comment comes from your statement on Coast to Coast that we have a 60 year “band” of TV signals all around our solar system.
    thank you for your wonderful additions to Coast to Coast.

  • Anything is possible. I think it more likely that, as I said on the show last night, that the ordinary advance in technology produces methods of communication that don’t require broadcast signals. Instead, communications are transmitted by cable, fiber optics, and even laser communications (as I reported today), all of which do not produce any signal that can be picked up by accident by others.

  • Larry DM

    I always look forward to your guest appearances on the John Brothers show. I find your enthusiasm for space exploration to be of a contagious nature. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Thank you for the kind words. Note that I think you had a brain shut down in writing your comment, as I think you meant to say the John Batchelor Show, not John Brothers. However, I’d love to go on John Brothers’ show, if you let me know where and when and who to contact! :)

  • EEE

    Is it possible, can it be, that humans alone among the vast unknown of the universe suffer the unbearable, irresistible curiosity compelling us to walk one more day and discover an as yet unvisited village, to cut rations yet again and continue Westward in the hope that the far horizon might reveal some new knowledge, to strap a monstrous explosive charge to their back and light the fuse hoping to survive the experience and add to the accumulated catalog of knowledge thus far gained? Can we possibly be the only creatures burdened with this insatiable desire to know more, always more, at any risk to life or limb? How are we simultaneously blessed and cursed by this marvelous human nature?

  • Greg G.

    Wow, Star Communities, sounds like Utopia to me.

    Of course, with those neat little Stars comes the always included Tyranny as expressed by your own words such as: “…but each must conform to the overall Charter” and “This plan would eventually revolutionize these same States and political adjustments would have to follow.”

    But it is the following twisted bit of creative deceit and word-play that truly sent chills down my spine:

    “Caution would be needed to keep outdated governments from usurping this effort, or failing that, efforts must be made to work with them to preserve the freedoms required to make this work and every adjustment used to free these fledgling States from tyranny intended or not.”

    “… efforts must be made to work with them to preserve the freedoms required to make this work…”. Huh, what?

    “…to free these fledgling States from tyranny”? How absurd, this IS tyranny and it is frightening to know there are so many warped control freaks in America who sit around thinking of bizarre planned “communities” like this right out of the old U.S.S.R.

    Stalin, Marx and Lenin could not have imagined such an Orwellian plan even if they had the good fortune to meet up with Timothy Leary, Dr. Richard Alpert (Remember, Be Here Now) and Aldous Huxley.

    No, this perversion of Liberty is not a Utopia.

    It is the perfect example of a Dystopia.


  • Greg G.

    Note — My previous comment is addressed to Greg and not to the esteemed Bob Z.

    Bob, I always look forward to your appearance with John Batchelor on his wonderful radio program on WABC in NYC.

    I have been listening to John for about 15 yrs now going all the way to his debut on Sundays with Paul Alexander.

    Keep up the good work!

    Best regards,

    Greg from Chatham

  • Greg G.

    P.S. — I wish you had the ability to allow one to go back and edit any grammatical errors, or to add additional commentary.

    For example, I just found I had left out the word “back” in this sentence in my previous comment:

    “I have been listening to John for about 15 yrs now, going all the way [back] to his debut on Sundays with Paul Alexander.”

    I just had to clear that up.


    Greg from Chatham

  • Richard Wilson

    No evidence of ET visitation NO face on Mars , S E T I and NASA are not just a paint job covering the truth.
    Of all the Presidents of The United states that have demanded to know ALL that is kept at Groom Lake , S4 and other facilities , only 2 have not been told quite bluntly that their names are NOT on the “Need To Know” list. So you believe that you are important enough (even on a sub atomic level) , to know everything the government knows , for exactly WHAT reason ?

  • Ted Gambogi

    Enjoyed your talk on C2C last night. Thanks

  • michael

    Great show early this morning love listening to your perspective on the space program.One question regarding a different subject whats your take on the discussions about the ARC of GABRIEL ?

  • Jack

    Enjoyed the last few minutes I got to listen to you on C2C this morning. My question is that is it possible that if there is other life out there somewhere that they may me to far advanced to understand our attempts to reach them as just that and they instead just see our radio waves as background noise not communication?

  • Kenneth Epley

    Became a recurring donor by listening via John Batchelor. I’m looking for the pictures described in the podcast. Where is this sinkhole JB became so excited by? I cannot locate it on you website BTB.

  • Kenneth Epley: Thank your for your subscription. I greatly appreciate it.

    You can find the sinkhole image by going to the search box in the right column, just below the “recent comments” list. Type in “sinkhole” and it will be the second post listed.

    Generally the search box works. I use it myself all the time to find things I have written previously. For example, if you type in “Saturn” you will immediately see the post on the waves made by the moon Daphnis in Saturn’s rings. Tis an amazing image.

  • Jimmy

    Star communities? Ummm, sorry to toss a meteor at your “vision”, but I suppose the simplest of communities doesn’t account for chaos. Which usually comes in the form of “human intuition”.
    Also, just a vision of something, doesn’t manifest it into exsistence. Those strict guidelines in there leaves no room for capitalism and free thinkers to survive, good luck squashing those that see a different world. Go read chaos theory and mix that into the recipe.

  • howard

    How do I locate the links to the rover images on Behind the Black?

    Thank you,

  • Howard: If you scroll down to the search box in the right column and search for rover updates, you will get what you want. Or you could click on the September 6, 2017 rover update link in the list of the last five “Essays & Commentaries,” also located in the right column, and click through each going backwards in time.

  • Ann Carroll MD

    Dear Dr Zimmerman:
    Just listened to your (terrific) John Batchelor podcast on TMT being mau-mau’ed in Hawaii. I live in Honolulu, and report that NOBODY here (outside the University) has a clue as to how TMT would benefit Hawaii, or for that matter. the world. TMT has been slothful, un-creative. and disassociated from their would-be Hawaiian neighbors. Yes, they are scientists and engineers so ‘what would you expect’, but TMT is responsible for its own possible failure.
    TMT yet might turn this around IFF they would even try. E.g.: Try “situational awareness”.
    Hawaiians take a visceral pride in their ocean-traversing navigation and millenial drive for ocean exploration. Time was (and Hawaiians still remember) when Hawaiians were the best explorers on earth.
    TMT – with all their combined PhD’s – can make the appeal to Hawaii, that their forefathers would be proud to collaborate with GALAXY explorers. Ancient Hawaiians would collaborate with galaxy pioneers, as with ocean circumnavigation pioneers. Just this year, Hawaiians circumnavigated the globe – sans compass, sextant, or GPS, in the outrigger catamaran Hokule-le.
    Hawaiians guided themselves around the globe by reading: The Galaxy. Stars. Planets.
    Every day here, Hawaiians head out into the open ocean in canoes, always lead by the elder “Watermen”.
    The elders always take what’s proudly called: “First Canoe”. The elders can ‘read’ the ocean, follow the best currents, attack waves precisely, and get all the other canoes safely home.
    TMT is eminently deserving of Hawaii.
    BUT TMT behaves in a “lawyerly” way. Nobody
    here follows lawyers.
    They follow heartfelt human contact. Human stories, human appeals. Even local TV, though sympathetic to TMT, has not been nudged to lay out the TMT case in language we can understand.
    Hawaii is different. Not like the east coast. Lawyers are irrelevant.
    If TMT truly wants to succeed with the MaunaKea site, I’d tell them to call Ms Christina Kemmer, a retired inner-city teacher and PR professional. She’s retired on Big Island, and in younger years worked to get respectful cooperative hand-shakes between Native Hawaiians and Target, McDonalds, Hawaii’s largest hospital, the US Army, Hawaii’s royal lands trust, etc. Ms. Kemmer: (808) 388 – 4557; 265- 1778.
    Sometimes she does it just because it’s right. Just for fun.

  • ed fredland

    I do not like to use credit cards because of all the hacking. I would like to send a check in support but I need a mailing address.

  • Terry Scott

    This is not a comment but a question about an Al Gore quote. He said something about how well their concept of racism had worked so well, that they should do something similar to promote “climate warming/change.”

    I read on your website at the beginning of a page. It is so telling about their stategy. Can you give me a link or some info on this?

  • Terry Scott: You are probably remembering an essay I wrote here in 2011: Al Gore and the silencing of debate I link to it periodically, because everything in it sadly still applies, and the video at the end by a real scientist, outlining in clear and thorough detail the uncertainties that exist in our knowledge of the climate and how his research related to the Sun and cosmic rays might be an important but previously unknown component of that research, is worthwhile for every person to see. .

  • hello bob, good to hear you on the radio the other night. you mention a movie called shindlers list and spoke a littlw about it. did you know that the movie shindlers list is from a book called shindlers list and it won the book of the years award from the los angles time newspaper for FICTION. look it up/ see hitler vs rothchild 3:02 thanks john

  • John Howard

    I do wish, though, that all you folks producing passionate and romantic rhetoric about space adventures and the wonders of being pioneers taking the brave steps out beyond the known and into the mysteries of the universe, could somehow put those thinking caps on and figure out how to play your games without feeding yourselves and funding your dreams by means of the extortion racket called taxation and the counterfeiting racket called monetary policy.

    Your rhetoric aside, to me you are just a bunch of poetic parasites still hooked on Starwars or Startrek and your whole silly adventure is of no interest to me. There is no need to know what lies beyond the dark, nor to go to Mars or even the moon. Fun, yes, but have your fun with your own money, don’t loot your neighbors. Justice and morality are far more fun and of far more value to humanity than your juvenile hobbies. Study the space between right and wrong before you study the space of the universe.

  • John Howard: You obviously have never read anything I have written for the past thirty years. And rather than do just a little bit of research to find out that I (as well as most of my readers here at Behind the Black) are hostile to government and its out-of-control spending and wish all space to be funding by private resources, you instead descend into name-calling.

    Such behavior is disgraceful, and is why it is so difficult these days to have a rational discussion with anyone about anything, no matter what side of the political spectrum they may be on. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • MarcusZ1967


    The only way to make the pie slice, is to make it a bigger pie.

    P.S. I read a lot of Chris Nutall. Alot of ideas!

  • Edward

    Although, as you noted, he wasn’t kind in his remarks, I noticed that John Howard complained about government money spent on space exploration but did not complain about government money paid to people to not work. Who is looting whom? The country’s welfare system benefits few and retards those who find themselves trapped in it. Where is the justice or the morality in that?

    I wonder what this country would have been like had we not sent Louis and Clark on their exploration and instead spent a hundred times as much paying people in the country to be unproductive sponges and parasites on the working part of the population. Were Louis and Clark unjust, immoral, or wrong? I think not.

    On the other hand, John Howard may not see that space can be useful, despite his using space every day. Whenever he looks at a weather prediction, that prediction was made from data obtained in space. How many thousands or millions of lives have been saved because they evacuated a natural disaster area before the disaster struck?

    Many of his favorite television shows are brought to him from space, even if he does not have a satellite dish, as many companies distribute their shows to the local stations by way of satellite. Much of the news reports from around the world are sent by satellite, even when they are not live.

    Has he ever used GPS or recently had a delivery to his house? The delivery companies have reduced the number of misdelivered items by using GPS. Even the airlines are using differential GPS.

    There are many spinoffs that come from inventions used for spaceflight. also, the ISS hosts research paid for by companies that are creating or improving many items that are used on Earth, such as new ways to encapsulate orally-taken medications so that they disperse into the bloodstream more efficiently.

    Does John Howard consider those to be wrong, unjust, or immoral? Are those benefits parasitic or are they innovative?

    It does not matter that the research and exploration are of no interest to him. We who have worked in the space industry are there for the advancement of mankind, whether or not those who benefit appreciate the effort. Most people do not appreciate advancements in medicine, either; they just accept it as part of everyday life, as they watch their life expectancy increase. And that is as it should be. We don’t have to know or appreciate how the water got to the faucet; we just have to appreciate having the convenience of hot and cold running water and the easy disposal of waste water.

    It is all part of what makes life better than it was a century or two ago.

  • wayne

    John Crain–
    it’s always those pesky jewish people, eh? Why don’t you tell us all a little more?

    John Howard–
    I have a short Penn & Teller clip that would apply to you, but I’ll just go with this for now:

    “Moron” was coined in 1910 by psychologist Henry H. Goddard from the Ancient Greek word μωρός (moros), which meant “dull” and used to describe a person with a mental age in adulthood of between 8 and 12 on the Binet scale.
    — It was once applied to people with an IQ of 51–70,
    being superior in one degree to “imbecile” (IQ of 26–50)
    and superior in two degrees to “idiot” (IQ of 0–25).

  • Localfluff

    @John Howard
    You might have missed how industry came about. You almost never touch anything that has not been manufactured by industry. Without it, you would probably not labor hard to get something to eat. You would most likely never have been born because your parents parents would’ve died as children when a year with a bad crop caused mass starvation.

    Industry is based on physics which is based on astronomy. It is hopeless to measure how fast things fall without precision instruments that only came about thanks to having figured it out. Stuff accelerate when they fall, but they are also affected by air resistance. Mars however, moves in vacuum and it moves slow enough to have its movements very precisely measured against the fix stars in the background. These measurements of Mars, made by Tycho Brahe before the telescope was invented, were the data Johannis Kepler used to figure out that Mars moves around the Sun in an ellipse. Isaac Newton then started out from Kepler’s conclusions and applied them to all things moving, such as machine parts. Kepler’s formula is a fundamental part of Newton’s physical mechanics. The science of how things move, the science about energy and force. The foundation of industry that keeps billions of people alive who would otherwise have died horribly by the poverty of heavy manual agricultural labor and shifting harvests.

    Everything is in space. All energy and all resources. Where else would it be? Also everything that remains to be discovered is in space. Physics at its extremest can only be studied out there. Could never be recreated in a lab. And it tells us about the properties of what we ourselves consist of. Astronomy has already industrialized the world and saved the lives of billions of people (and other mammals too, since most mammals on Earth are today fed and kept by humans). Best for human kind would be to invest most of its economy in astronomy. Nothing has ever given a better return. Soon a thousand billion people will live inside the Moon and they will laugh at uneducated socialists of the past who simply were too stupid to understand how anything works. Malthusian creationists who believe that “a great leader” will be like Jesus and magically make the God state perfect. That lot just kill themselves by the millions, again and again and again. Isn’t it funny how stupidity is dealt with by the very evolution that the socialists deny? To be left is to fail. Politics is also a part of physics. If you’re wrong, you die.

  • Well, I’ll never see the movie. I’m done with the Hollywood elites trying to rewrite our history. I no longer watch many movies simply due the left wing view points espoused by many actors / actresses. That may seem simple minded to some, but I go to movies for entertainment, not political indoctrination or reshaping of our history. JFK challenged this country and our great American astronauts and the tens of thousands of scientists and engineers rose to that challenge and got it done! That’s the fact so they should have proudly shown Neil planting the flag on the moon!!!

  • W. Stierle

    Thank goodness for John Bachelor.

  • Hi Bob,

    Just a quick note to thank you for the wonderful conversations with John Batchelor on his radio show. I was looking at your website images and they are wonderful. I have interest in space as inspired by my B.S. degree but am an artist deep in my soul. I paint oil on canvas and have some paintings inspired by Hubble images.

    I thought you might enjoy seeing the space paintings but couldn’t find your email address. Please Google “Gregory Page Hubble Space Vapors”

  • Gregory Page: Thank you for the thanks and kind words. They are very much appreciated.

    I tried the web search and came up empty.

  • wayne

    Mr. Page,
    Good stuff!

    Ref: Mr. Z’s email address….
    Go to the “About” Tab, scroll to the bottom of the text.

  • wayne

    “Cash Crop Corn,” “Chicago Skyline,” and “Last American Cowboy,” strike my fancy.

  • Jerry Greenwood

    Any thoughts on the FEDOR robot that was just delivered to ISS. It’s appearance seems to be something not designed for a weightless environment. It’s legs will be useless there as there is no need to stand. Are the Russians just training it to operate in that environment?

  • Jerry Greenwood: No thoughts, other than things like this always strike me as pork when I first see them. That robot does not seem designed for space.

    By the way, you should have posted this comment and question in a more appropriate place, such as my post about the launch of the Soyuz capsule that launched the robot to ISS. I would have seen it quicker.

  • Rich Cregar: Yup, Yale is certainly not a place I’d send my kids for their college education.

    And thank you for your support.

  • “I got a master’s degree, studying early America colonial history because I was curious to learn how the most successful pioneer societies organized themselves.”

    Simple: eradicate the indigenous population and build a new country upon their remains.

    “And I got involved in cave exploration, because I simply didn’t have the math skills necessary to make it as a NASA astronaut but still had the desire to explore unknown territory.”

    Nasa Astronauts have minimal math skills, as it doesn’t take much technical prowess to operate a spaceship, perhaps a little more than flying an airliner. For high math skills, try JPL engineers or others from space firms.

    “In the next two decades, the human race will begin the actual exploration and settlement of the solar system.”

    The usual mantra of wild predictions from an ignorant: humans’ intelligence may be far reaching, but as earthly creatures, their biological makeup still precludes the “settlement of the solar system”, not even the Moon, let alone Mars.

  • Cyber: My, what eager ill will. You also exhibit remarkably little knowledge both of early colonial history as well as what NASA requires of candidates to become an astronaut.

    No wonder you have such a pessimistic view of the future. If you have children I feel very sorry for them. You will likely squelch their innocent hope as soon and as forcefully as you can. Congratulations!

  • “The very fact that you use the insulting term “denier” for anyone expressing skepticism in science tells me that you do not understand the scientific process at all. I lost relatives in the Holocaust, and to equate someone who simply has doubts about the accepted global warming paradigm with those who deny the murder of seven million Jews is beyond despicable.”

    What the “global warming” has to do with “Holocaust”, apart from sharing the same conning scheme?
    The “6 million” figure has been downgraded since the 1950s, if you cared to look, but it’s rather intriguing that you add 1 million to the already discredited initial figure. Jews suffered in the hands of Germans, and hundreds of thousands died as a consequence, but that still doesn’t make a “Holocaust”.
    It’s despicable that Zionist Jews have taken history hostage to colonize Palestine and persecute its rightful inhabitants, branding anyone criticizing their criminal policy as “antisemitic”. How convenient, eh?

  • Cyber: Hey. that didn’t take long. Only your second comment, and already your anti-Semitism rears its ugly head.

    It used to be that bigots tried to hide their bigotry out of fear it would discredit them. No more. Congratulations, you are now in charge. May it bring you the joy it brought every fascist in Germany and Italy in the 1930s.

  • I have been contributing to you for several years via PayPal…mostly since I follow you on John Batchelor. I very much like you insight and web sight. PayPal has become part of the deep state, and therefor I will be cancelling my account.

  • Richard Baxter: I got your cancellation only a few minutes ago. Sorry to see you go, but thank you for four years of support. It is most gratefully appreciated.

    I am about to set up an account with alternative internet methods for payment other than Paypal. This should be available before the end of the month. Hopefully you will then reconsider resubscribing.

    And there is always the option of mailing me a check periodically, if you think it worthwhile to support my work.

    Regardless, thank you again!

  • Tad Hewett


    I like it when you come on The Space Show and John Bachelor’s show as you have a wealth of knowledge. My suggestions are: PLEASE maintain a constant volume in your voice and not whispering and then talking extremely loud. Second, when John Bachelor asks you a question PLEASE don’t start by saying “OKAY we’ve talked about this many times…….. Please think that some of his listeners may be hearing it for the first time.

  • Tad Hewett: I appreciate the constructive criticism, but some of the things you wish me to do are likely impossible, partly because of my own natural passion and partly because of age. The lung capacity is not what it was.

  • I listen to Behindtheblack podcasts on John Batchelor. load my MP3 and go for a walk. I’m no scientist, but I do have a math degree and post graduate work in computer science. I can’t seem to justify the danger and expence of manned space flight. I don’t see any possible way for man to go much beyond Mars. Drones and robots and high-end (and getting higher) are much cheaper and safer than manned exploration. Either way – until we find a way to travel at light speed (or more), man is not going to literally go to the stars. Just my two cents. We can’t as yet, imagine greater than light speed. We have a long way to go (no pun intended). I’m open to comments and criticizm – wondering what you all think?

  • robert paynter: If you don’t think the manned exploration of space is safe, or worthwhile, then you should not go. You also have the freedom to try to convince others of your position, through rational open discussion.

    Just don’t use government power to try to prevent those who disagree with you, and want to go.

  • Cotour


    I tend to agree with you, space travel long term is dangerous from what I have been able to discern. As of right now I do not believe anyone can survive in space for more than 2 years or so? The total lack of gravity and the level of radiation will at about that point probably kill you outright or sentence you to a short life riddled with cancer or some other related malady. Reliably solve those two issues to some great extent and things tend to expand a bit.

    That being said, as long as you are not proposing that people be banned from going there, I will agree with you to some extent. They / we are going.

    There will certainly be installations on the moon and that will happen I suppose relatively soon, and Mars? Not any time too soon IMO. Any further than that? Not happening with anything that breaths air.

    Keeping in mind I am not expert on this subject by any means.

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