Scroll down to read this post.


Please consider supporting my work here at 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. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

3. 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
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Australia to build unmanned lunar rover for NASA

NASA and Australia have signed a deal whereby Australia will provide an unmanned lunar rover on which NASA will put its science instruments, with the package taken to the Moon by a commercial lander.

As part of the agreement, a consortium of Australian businesses and research organizations will develop a small rover that can operate on the lunar surface. The rover would have the ability to pick up and transfer lunar regolith (broken rock and dust) to a NASA-operated in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) system on a commercial lunar lander. Such a rover could fly to the Moon as early as 2026.

While this agreement helps widen the competition in the commercial unmanned planetary aerospace industry, it does so by helping the industry of another country. This policy fits the general philosophy of the Democratic Party and the Biden administration, which generally focuses on aiding other countries before the U.S.

Posted on the road to Phoenix.


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 available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can 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. Note that the price for the ebook, $3.99, goes up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.


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


  • Mark

    This is one of the very few times I need to disagree with Bob.
    Australia was among the first partner countries to join NASA and the United States with the signing of the Artemis Accords.
    I believe the Artemis Accords will be a key part of US Foreign Policy for the rest of this century. And for it to work, the US needs to include firms from other countries to build pieces of a future commercial space infrastructure.

  • pzatchok

    We don’t need to seek out other nations to make stuff we know we can do better and faster.

    If other nations want to participate, build something and find a launch vehicle willing to take it up.

    America is not the worlds mommy who’s job it is to make them feel better.
    If you want to help other nations be the worlds father. “I have already shown you how to fix the car. Now if you want to drive it, go fix it.”

    Teach a man to fish and quit handing him the fish while telling him “better luck next time”. Hunger for something is a pretty good motivator.

  • Col Beausabre

    Totally agree with Bob and Pzatchok. If an Australian firm can do a better job than other bidders, then award them the contract, otherwise charity begins at home

  • Mark

    Please consider my thoughts below a respectful reply to Pzatchok and the Colonel.
    Well if we are going to go forward with an “America Alone” foreign policy, then I suggest we bring back our troops from the majority of the 150+ countries that we are currently in. Given our Afghanistan debacle, I can foresee a rising public desire for a future “Fortress America”. Isolationism is a strong undercurrent in American History and it certainly may become dominant in the future.
    I am a proponent of at least being closely engaged with our Anglosphere Allies (UK, Canada, Australia, & India).
    If you don’t want that engagement, then let’s go cold turkey, and pull back now from Europe and the Middle East. Once we decide what few countries we will invest in, we can then cut our annual trillion dollar military expenditures by at least 50% and still be way ahead of the one primary challenger we have on the world stage.
    But for those countries we do decide are our key allies, then we have to use all the tools in the foreign policy toolbox, and that includes the Artemis Accords and all that goes with it.

  • pzatchok

    I have no idea how in this world you could think of isolationism from my statement. But I am not in your head so,,,,,

    By your statement you think we should stop making and growing everything and anything in the US and buy it all from nations we want to be nice to us.
    The next thing you know the Palestinians will get mad because we bought something off of the Israelis. The Chinese will get mad because we bought of the African nations. The Brazilians will get mad because we bought off of the Cubans.
    Quit trying to make the world happy by giving away our gold. We will never make them all happy at the same time. Ever.
    You can not buy safety. The guy your handing cash over to to make happy is just using it to buy more guns to make us less safe. So we will give him more cash.

    Thanks to Biden,,

    Do you want to know how Biden will fix this? He will stupidly hand some government contract to France or even just pass them a little cash.
    Just to make them happy.

    Like America could EVER actually go isolationist. Its not even possible unless we fall off the planet/

  • Mark

    Pzatchok – after rereading the above, I admit you are right that I threw a strawman argument against the wall like wet spaghetti, and it did not stick. Sorry for the rant that should have been directed at isolationist relatives over my upcoming Thanksgiving dinner.

    I should have just asked do you believe or not believe that the Artemis Accords will be an important tool of American Foreign Policy over the next decades.
    I believe for the Artemis Accords to work as a foreign policy tool, the US needs to include firms from other countries. I do admit that arguments in opposition to that have valid points.
    Also, I have looked into the situation of the US/UK/ Australian nuclear sub deal that cut out the French (you linked to an article on that). I can understand if you believe that the US will end up getting played for a chump and end up throwing cash around like a drunken sailor. However I do hope that we can deliver nuclear subs to Australia before the successor of Chairman Xi takes power.
    Mr. Z. – do you want to throw in your two cents regarding the Artemis Accords and this recent deal for the Australians to build that rover? (You didn’t mention the Artemis Accords in your Post above)

  • Questioner

    William Shatner Reacts To Seeing Earth From Space: ‘It’s So Fragile’

  • Edward

    Mark wrote: “This is one of the very few times I need to disagree with Bob.

    Robert may be taking into account the White House angering France by giving vital submarine technology to Australia rather than France selling them diesel submarines. Australia, which has returned to its former purpose as a penal colony with its reaction to the Wuhan flu, is getting preferential treatment by the White House, perhaps because it is imprisoning its populace, a trend happening in the U.S., too.

    I agree that international cooperation is needed to assure that the Artemis Accords work, even though the U.S. has the technological capability to explore space. If there are no other allied countries exploring space, then the Artemis Accords have little meaning or value.

    In addition, NASA has had a policy of international cooperation for several decades. Fostering foreign companies with NASA money may not seem patriotic, but in the end it will add to the competitive nature of the space industry, bringing down prices so that U.S. companies that want to work in space will be able to afford to do so.

    On the other hand, I worked on a solar X-ray telescope for NASA, only to discover that our drawings, designs, and other information that NASA had received from us, as part of the contract, were being fed to the Japanese company that was building a larger version of our telescope. Our knowledge and technology was being given to Japan, and we were not happy knowing that we were losing future jobs, which did not seem like NASA was being patriotic or appreciative of our work for them.

  • Mark

    Edward – thanks for considering my argument that the Artemis Accords will require the US to support commercial space in other countries.

    But I wasn’t completely shocked that NASA blatantly screwed over that company you worked for regarding work on an X-Ray telescope. In a previous life I had to reference the Federal Acquisition Regulations and I know there are whole sections in a contract focused on Technical Data Management. Just like any government entity you can only trust NASA as far to what they contractually agreed to, and even then NASA might not adhere to the contract.. Companies always have to be wary of the government and that requires good lawyers. In 2018 for example, CANVS Corporation appealed the denial of its claim for $100 million asserting breach of contract for the unauthorized disclosure of allegedly proprietary information regarding night vision color goggles.

  • Edward

    You’re welcome.

    You wrote: “Companies always have to be wary of the government and that requires good lawyers.

    I once took a class at a company on writing proposals for the government. One part of the class (or maybe the whole class) was about avoiding accidentally giving patents and other proprietary information to the government as their property. Apparently, certain ways to mention these things in a bid and proposal (or it may have been the mere mention) can transfer possession of intellectual property. It is like partnering with Microsoft.

  • Mark

    Mr. Robert Zimmerman – Will you reconsider that the story of Australia providing an unmanned lunar rover probably has more to do with the Artemis Accords and less to do with Biden Admin incompetence?
    (Perhaps you are no longer monitoring that post since it is a few days old)

    As a reminder, besides NASA, the development of the Accords and relations with those countries who have signed up is handled by the U.S. State Department and U.S. Department of Commerce. I am hoping those handling the Artemis Accords in those agencies are professionals who consider the Accords an important long term tool of American Foreign Policy.

    FYI – while Indian Prime Minister Modi was in Washington at the end of September, it was reported that India was interested in joining the Artemis Accords.
    So perhaps India is the next major country to sign, although what I read might have been White House press release spin.

  • Mark. First, no need to get formal. :)

    Second, you should do a search for “Artemis Accords” on BtB to get my take on it. From the beginning I have seen it as a clever diplomatic work-around of the Outer Space Treaty. By having as many nations as possible sign up, the accords signal that these nations are joined together in a pact to protect the property rights of their citizens in space.

    By requiring nations to sign on if they wish to participate in the U.S. effort to get back to the Moon is merely a negotiating ploy to pressure nations to sign.

    Once on board nations are generally expected to contribute their own spacecraft, instruments, or equipment, though receiving U.S. financial aid is certainly possible, given as part of the U.S. foreign aid programs.

    My point in this post however had nothing to do with the accords. I was merely noting the strange leftwing urge to always provide copious aid to everyone else — first — while eagerly denying it to American citizens. The Biden administration’s vaccine mandates on Americans, while allowing illegal immigrants to enter the U.S. without any testing or vaccines, is a perfect example.

    This deal with Australia might make sense. It just seems so much like everything else the left does, look to help others with no interest in helping ourselves.

  • pzatchok

    The accords are no more important than any other treaty ever signed by any two nations.

    As long as it benefits all signatories it will be followed, but let even one nation no longer feel its good for them then they will bow out.

    In the end the only thing that will protect someones rights in space will be the threat of force. Which signatory do you thing has the ability and will to protect their citizens rights?
    And do all signatories agree on what rights are their citizens rights?

  • Mark

    Bob & Pzatchok,
    Thanks for engaging in a conversation on the Artemis Accords.

    Regarding Pzatchok’s observation on how tenuous agreements can be between nations, I am reminded of the scene in the Movie 2001 where on Space Station 5 Dr Floyd misleads the Russians who are concerned about rumors of an epidemic at the US Moon base (We find out later that Floyd is just protecting the secrecy of the discovery of the Monolith).
    Things will get complicated in Space, just as things are complicated here on earth.

    Also comments from both of you made me somewhat rethink my conception of US Foreign policy Henry Kissinger observed that foreigners believe that US Presidents create a foreign policy, while the truth is that a US foreign policy only emerges from the infighting of various government agencies and factions. That’s something for me to remember in the context of the Artemis Accords.

    And when it comes to the wasteful nature of foreign aid, that can be a huge problem although I have to point out that this is a bipartisan issue. If you have extra time I recommend reading the book by Peter Van Buren about the insane waste of US aid money in the reconstruction of Iraq. The title of the book is ‘We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People’ and I believe Van Buren was a true whistleblower because after his book came out, he was stripped of his security clearance, banned from State Department HQ, transferred to a menial telework job, and eventually pushed into early retirement.

    Lastly, I knew I should have been prepared for the chess master’s gambit of
    “you should do a search for “Artemis Accords” on BtB. In the past I probably have been one of the heavier users of the search function, and I know I should have done more homework on BtB. Perhaps the Search bar on BtB can be outlined in a heavy Red border to remind us all. :)
    And I do know my comments tend to ramble, so again I thanks for the conversation.

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.