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.

Bezos provides 1st BE-4 engine update in more than a year

Yesterday Jeff Bezos posted the first status update since last spring on the development of the BE-4 rocket engine by Blue Origin, posting one image and stating that the engine testing continues.

According to his post, the engine had just completed a full power test, and has been accumulating test time.

This update is very reassuring, especially following such a long period of silence, beginning in April 2018. Before that Blue Origin had provided somewhat regularly updates.

In reviewing my past posts, it appears that the updates more or less ceased once ULA announced its decision to use the BE-4 in its Vulcan rocket. I now suspect the earlier updates were aimed more at ULA than the public, and once the decision was made Blue Origin returned to its more traditional tight-lipped approach.


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  • Edward

    Although the article and Instagram say that the testing continues and test time increases, they do not say how much testing and time has happened in the past sixteen months. Is this the first test since then?

    Also missing is whether the test plan and schedule will have the engine ready in time for 2021 rocket launches. The article assumes this, because the author thinks that “sharing a picture of the full-power firing … suggests that the test program is on track.

    Hopefully, they have been making steady progress and became less tight-lipped for some reason, such as pressure from a concerned public.

    I am continually amazed at how many people I come across who have been keeping some tabs on what is happening in space, especially where SpaceX is concerned. These are not space geeks, but everyday people who are just plain interested or even fascinated. Often times, they watch informative videos* on the topic of space and are aware that there are several companies working on space projects.

    *e.g. Curious Droid, Everyday Astronaut, and Vintage Space — and yes, I learned of all three of these channels from people I talked with.

  • Rod

    Hey Bob, take a bow. You go on the space show with David Livingston and drop a few choice words on how Blue is turning into that Virgin company and presto! Blue releases engine test pictures. The force is strong in this one.

  • Thank you Rod, but I’d be more impressed with my influence if this July 9 post by me on Behind the Black, “NASA begins the slow leak process prior to announcing new SLS delays,” was the direct cause for the management shake-up in NASA’s SLS program that occurred two days later on July 11.

  • Diane Wilson

    And Blue could have been prompted by the very public progress SpaceX is making with Raptor.

    I’ll be impressed when it flies.

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