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My February birthday fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black it now over. I sincerely and with deep gratitude thank all those who donated. Without your support I could not keep doing this, not so much because of the need for income to pay the bills, but because it tells me that there are people out there who want me to do this work. For those who did not contribute during the campaign, please consider adding your vote of support to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Donate through Gabpay, using my email address zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

3. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

4. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
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A Martian hill of pillows

Curiosity's future path, taken January 31, 2023
Click for original image.

The cool image above was taken on January 31, 2023 by the left navigation camera on the Mars rover Curiosity. The red dotted line indicates roughly the planned route forward for the rover, though as Curiosity gets closer to that hill the terrain is looking increasingly difficult. The white box in the panorama below, taken two weeks earlier when the rover was about five hundred feet away, indicates the area covered by this picture. Since then Curiosity has traveled about 200 feet closer.

I post this picture specifically because of the small hill to the right of that path. Probably no more than fifty feet high, its entire surface appears cloaked by a pile of large, pillow-like pavement stones, almost as if the ground below had been washed away so that the massive top layer fell downward over time. Later, wind erosion over eons smoothed the rough edges of those massive blocks, giving them their cushion-like shapes.

This is strange geology. You might see such strange geology on Earth, but rarely. On Mars however strange geology appears increasingly common.

Moreover, to get a 3D sense of this terrain, load into your browser (on separate tabs) the full images of this hill, taken by Curiosity’s right and left navigation cameras (here and here). If you switch back and forth quickly between those tabs, you will see the slight shift in position between the two cameras, and be able to perceive this hill in three dimensions.

Panorama taken January 17, 2023 by Curiosity

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.


  • Star Bird

    Any signs of Marvin K-9 and those Instant Martians yet?

  • Greg the Geologist

    Pillow lavas are fairly common on earth, but form when basaltic lava is extruded under water (as on the flanks of a Hawaiian island, or along a mid-ocean ridge). Hmm…

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