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.

Air leak continues despite repairs on Zvezda module of ISS

According to a report today in the Russian press, the air in the Zvezda module of ISS continued to leak away slowly during a test, following this week’s repair of two cracks in the module’s hull.

At about 07:00 GMT on Saturday, ISS cosmonaut Sergei Ryzhikov told a specialist at the Mission Control Center, located near Moscow, that the pressure in the intermediate chamber of the Zvezda module was 678 millimetres of mercury. The pressure stood at 730 millimetres of mercury on Friday evening, right after the hatch of the compartment was closed. Thus, the pressure in the chamber decreased by 52 millimetres of mercury over 11.5 hours.

Based on the thorough nature of the two repairs, this leak must be coming from another very tiny leak that has not yet been detected. Though the leak is very slow and thus not an immediate threat to the astronauts on board, it suggests once again that the leaks are coming from stress fractures resulting from Zvezda’s 20-plus years in orbit. If so, the problem is very serious indeed. Zvezda is the central module for ISS. Replacing it will not be simple or easy.


I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.

Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Your support is even more essential to me because I not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.

You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.


  • pawn

    I hope someone on the ground is taking this seriously. I’m no expert but an increasing leak rate may be the result of a propagating stress fracture. Given the criticality of the module, what if any analysis has been done or is in work to quantify the risk of a catastrophic failure.

  • Lee Stevenson

    @pawn…. Hopefully greater minds than ours are on the case! I’m sure I’m not alone in having quality tools, both forged and cast which supplied excellent service for multiple decades until they failed catastrophically and splintered into bits…. The point you bring up is worrying indeed!

  • Scott M.

    @pawn, I’m also adding on and hoping that you’re wrong. Not as a personal attack on you, but more because IF (and that’s a heavy IF) the ISS has such a catastrophic failure it’ll be a huge black eye for manned spaceflight as a whole.

  • Ray Van Dune

    OT – I predict that the modified nose cone recently observed for SN-15 is to accommodate a remotely-triggered connect / disconnect mechanism between this StarShip and the Bluto / Tankzilla crane, replacing the “Squid”.

    In addition to the fact that man-lifts that can reach the top of an SH/SS stack are insane, if not impossible, there is the fact that using a person in a man-lift to reconnect the crane to the tip of an unstable landed SS (like SN-10) is foolhardy. I was relieved when SN-10 blew up, and I’ll bet some folks at SpaceX were too!

  • George C

    What is the chance that the Russians are just trying to keep this old girl flying long enough for China to launch its station? Then they leave the rest of the ISS owners with a big repair bill. Given the limited lufetime, the recent rental price hikes by NASA would make a lot of sense. Think real estate hardball. Time to read the fine print.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *