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.

Contact restored with InSight after dust storm

The InSight science team has regained communications with the lander on Mars following a dust storm that caused it to shut down all operations entirely.

Though the tweet from the science team says the space craft is out of safe mode, that really doesn’t appear to be the case. Safe mode is a condition where a robot ceases all science operations, hunkers down, and awaits further orders. All that has happened here is that the engineers have regained contact after communications were lost on January 7th. No science is being done.

The resumption of communications is excellent news, however. They must now access how much power the lander’s solar panels are generating to see if they can turn InSight’s main instrument, its seismometer, back on. Those panels might be badly covered with dust, preventing operations.


In order to remain completely independent and honest in my writing, I accept no sponsorships from big space companies or any political organizations. Nor do I depend on ads.

Instead, I 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, or any amount through Zelle.

The best method to donate or subscribe is by using Zelle through your internet bank account, since it charges no fees to you or I. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). What you donate is what I get.

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 these electronic payment methods 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


  • Concerned

    They have a manipulator arm—too bad they didn’t include a whisk broom.

  • Andi

    Small edit in first sentence: “science team has”

  • Questioner

    July 15, 1965: The death of the Martian dream.

    “Since Mars offered by far the most promising habitat for extraterrestrial life in the solar system, it is now virtually certain that the Earth is the only life-bearing planet in our region of the galaxy,” said Norman Horowitz, one of Viking’s principal scientists. “We have awakened from a dream (Remark by commenter: by far not everybody).”

    “Visions of Mars: Essays on the Red Planet in Fiction and Science.” 2011, by Howard V. Hendrix

    “Seventeen wide-ranging essays explore the evolving scientific understanding of Mars, and the relationship between that understanding and the role of Mars in literature, the arts and popular culture. Essays in the first section examine different approaches to Mars by scientists and writers Jules Verne and J.H. Rosny. Section Two covers the uses of Mars in early Bolshevik literature, Wells, Brackett, Burroughs, Bradbury, Heinlein, Dick and Robinson, among others. The third section looks at Mars as a cultural mirror in science fiction. Essayists include prominent writers (e.g., Kim Stanley Robinson), scientists and literary critics from many nations.”

  • wayne


    referencing broadly; “America’s Love Affair with Mars.”
    I’d date it to around 1912…….

    “The story behind John Carter, Edgar Rice Burroughs”
    -preview trailer-

  • Questioner


    Thanks very much. Have you already heard of the famous book “Two Planets”? A Mars novel by Kurd Lasswitz, published in 1897!!
    A review:

    “One of the classics of 19th century science fiction.

    “This nineteenth-century German science fiction novel (“The Two Planets” or “Auf zwei Planeten”) by Kurd Lasswitz (1848-1910), a mathematician, philosopher, and scholar of Kant, was not translated into English until 1971 (by Hans H. Rudnick). Thus, it had very little influence in the development of English or American science fiction. Nevertheless, the novel did have a significant impact. It was a popular book of young German boys, particularly Wernher von Braun and Willy Ley. Thus, the novel had an influence in the development of our space age. It “fired” their imaginations and had a big effect on German astronautics. The “two planets” are Earth and Mars. Three German and Austrian explorers are traveling in a balloon in an attempt to reach the North Pole. They find that a group of intelligent beings, very similar to humans, have set up a base at the Pole. Their balloon is inadvertantly drawn in by the Martian’s antigravity device and two of the explorers find themselves guests of the Martians. The Martians have come to Earth to educate mankind, to assist in the development of a utopian Earth, and to ask for air and solar energy in return. However, through a misunderstanding, a “war” arises between the Martians and England, resulting in the formation of a Martian Protectorate over Europe. Unfortunately, a number of Martians soon exhibit the corrupting influences of power, and the Martian rule becomes despotic. An underground movement develops, keeping the positive aspects of Martian (and Kantian) philosophy, to rid Earth of the Martian yoke. This is accomplished with the help of American engineers, who are able to build their own spaceships to challenge the Martians. The “good” of both planets win and a new era begins in Earth and Martian relations. And, in all of this, Lasswitz has two love stories as subplots, one of which is between one of the explorers and a Martian. When Martian probes began to map the surface of Mars, one of the newly discovered Martian craters was named after Lasswitz. This is a classic volume in science fiction and serious students of science fiction literature should read it.”ÅMÅŽÕÑ&crid=39CE76VFD2LIG&keywords=Kurd+Laßwitz&qid=1643043957&sprefix=kurd+laßwitz%2Caps%2C229&sr=8-2

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.