THE PIONEER DETECTIVES is a definitive account not just of the Pioneer Anomaly but of how scientific knowledge gets made and unmade, with scientists sometimes putting their livelihoods on the line in pursuit of cosmic truth.
The Millions Originals project continues today with a brand new ebook, The Pioneer Detectives by Konstantin Kakaes.
Explore one of the greatest scientific mysteries of our time, the Pioneer Anomaly: in the 1980s, NASA scientists detected an unknown force acting on the spacecraft Pioneer 10, the first man-made object to journey through the asteroid belt and study Jupiter, eventually leaving the solar system. No one seemed able to agree on a cause. (Dark matter? Tensor–vector–scalar gravity? Collisions with gravitons?) What did seem clear to those who became obsessed with it was that the Pioneer Anomaly had the potential to upend Einstein and Newton—to change everything we know about the universe.
With riveting prose and the precision of an expert, Konstantin Kakaes gives us a scientific police procedural, tracking the steps of those who sought to unravel this high-stakes enigma. His thrilling account draws on extensive interviews and archival research, following the story from the Anomaly’s initial discovery, through decades of tireless investigation, to its ultimate conclusion. The Pioneer Detectives is a definitive account not just of the Pioneer Anomaly but of how scientific knowledge gets made and unmade, with scientists sometimes putting their livelihoods on the line in pursuit of cosmic truth. Perfect for fans of John McPhee, Thomas Kuhn, and Ed McBain, this is also an immensely enjoyable story accessible to anyone who loves brilliant, fascinating long-form journalism.
Urbina said that when he heard he had been accepted to take part in Mars500, it sounded like a good opportunity to catch up on some reading. ‘I like books,’ said [Diego] Urbina, who decided to bring the collected works of Gabriel García Márquez on the simulated Martian voyage. ‘But usually I don’t have enough time to read.’
”[Paul] Scheerbart’s book bears the subtitle An Asteroid Novel, and all of its action takes place far from Earth. Not a single human character appears in the story; nor do its protagonists resemble the anthropomorphized aliens of so much science fiction. Rather, Scheerbart populates the asteroid Pallas with a race of newt-like creatures who are capable, when provoked, of expanding their bodies to several times their normal size. Moreover, the Pallasians have eyes that extend on stalks and function as telescopes or microscopes (the latter for reading micro-books: the Pallasians wear, as personal adornment, entire libraries around their necks).”