Conscious Choice cover

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.

 

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and 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.


Rover update: Panorama from Curiosity; Perseverance unwinds

Summary: Curiosity has crept to the foot of Mt Sharp at last, while Perseverance checks out its equipment.

Curiosity

Curiosity panorama Sol 3049
Click for full resolution.

Overview map

This rover update will be short but very sweet. While the press and public has been oo’ing and ah’ing over the first panorama from Perseverance, Curiosity yesterday produced its own panorama above showing the looming cliffs of Mt. Sharp, now only a short distance away. The original images can be found here, here, here, and here.

The overview map to the right, from the “Where is Curiosity?” webpage, shows the rover’s location, with the yellow lines roughly indicating the view afforded by the panorama above. If you compare this panorama with the one I posted in my previous rover update on February 12, 2021, you can get a sense of how far the rover has traveled in just the past two weeks. It now sits near the end of the red dotted line pointing at the mountain, right next to what had been a distant cliff and now is only a short distance to the rover’s right.

Somewhere on the mountain slopes ahead scientists have spotted in orbiter images recurring slope lineae, seasonal streaks on slopes that appear in the spring and fade as they year passes. As Curiosity arrives at the next geological layer a short distance ahead at the base of these cliffs (dubbed the sulfate unit), it will spend probably several months studying both that sulfate unit as well as those lineae. Expect the rover to drill a few holes for samples as it watches to see any changes that might occur on that lineae.

Now, on to Perseverance!

Perseverance

Looking west in Perseverance's 1st hi-res panorama
Click for full resolution image.

The rover’s science and engineering team continue to check out the rover’s systems as they prepare for its first test drive inside Jezero Crater. They have unfolded the rover’s robot arm for the first time and have begun the testing of its many instruments, including its drill.

The image above is a slice from the rover’s first high resolution panorama, looking west across the rocky floor of Jezero Crater. The low hills in the foreground are the front cliffs of the delta that poured through a gap in the crater’s rim sometime in the far past. The high hills are the crater’s western rim.

Eventually Perseverance will travel to that rim, and work its way through that gap to the cratered highlands beyond.

If the engineering check outs all go as planned, the rover will then begin preparations for the test flight of Ingenuity, the little helicopter on board. The rover will need to find a large flat area to deploy the helicopter, then move off to give it flying room. This is expected to happen in the next two months.

The rover landing site for Tianwen-1's rover

Tianwen-1’s unnamed Mars rover

Earlier this week China released the first orbital images taken by its Tianwen-1 orbiter. Both images, indicated by the red boxes in the mosaic of two Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) context camera photos to the right, were of the as-yet unnamed rover’s landing site. The white box marks the area covered by the first high resolution image taken by MRO of this region.

China also announced that the landing of the rover will be delayed to May or June, not late April as first planned. No reasons were given for this delay.

Yutu-2

Both Yutu-2 and Chang’e-4 are presently in hibernation mode after completing their 27th lunar day on the far side of the Moon. No other significant updates have been released by the Chinese government.

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