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China’s Tienwen-1 enters Mars orbit

The new colonial movement: China’s Tienwen-1, carrying an as-yet-unnamed lander/rover, successfully inserted itself into orbit around Mars early today.

With a successful Mars Orbit Insertion, the craft has entered a highly eccentric, equatorial capture orbit of the planet, and controllers will now spend two months undertaking initial activations and checkouts in Martian orbit for the primary science mission while altering the craft’s orbit from equatorial to polar.

In April 2021, the lander, with the rover inside, will detach from the orbiter and prepare for Entry, Descent, and Landing. Prior to launch, 23 April 2021 was given as the target landing date.

The landing location is within Utopia Planitia and will — if the orbit insertion burn is completed successfully — utilize a combination of aerobraking, parachute descent, retrorocket firing, and airbag deployments to achieve a soft touchdown on the Martian surface. After landing, the rover will be deployed — ideally on the same day — to begin a planned 90 Sol (Martian day) mission to categorize the local environment.

The suspected landing site in Utopia Planitia is at about 25 degrees north latitude. Though it is in the northern lowland plains, this latitude places it south of the latitudes (greater than 30) that scientists now believe ample ice likely exists underground but accessible. The lander/rover carries radar equipment capable of detecting evidence of underground ice, and will look nonetheless. If it finds any, this will be a significant discovery.

Two down, one to go. Next week, on February 18th, the American rover Perseverance will attempt its landing in Jezero crater.


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.


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