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.

Curiosity climbing out of Gordon Notch hollow

Panorama showing the upcoming steep climb
Click for full image. For original images go here, here, here, here, and here.

Overview map
Click for interactive map.

Cool image time! The panorama above was created from five photos taken by Curiosity’s right navigation camera on May 4, 2022 as the rover worked its way upward out of Gordon Notch Hollow, the small valley it had left when it attempted to cross the Greenheugh Pediment to the west and was forced to retreat back into when engineers found the rough terrain on the pediment too much for the rover’s wheels.

The overview map to the right provides context. The blue dot marks Curiosity’s present position on Mars, on its 3,465 Sol since landing. The yellow lines mark the area viewed in the panorama, taken two Sols earlier. The red dotted line marks the original planned route, now abandoned. The white arrows indicate one of the more interesting upcoming geological features, dubbed by scientists the “marker horizon,” a distinct layer found in many places on the flanks of Mount Sharp.

On the panorama above the red dotted line is my guess as to the planned route out of Gordon Notch Hollow.
According to the science team’s most recent update on May 4th:

We have cleared the “Greenheugh pediment” and the mix of sandy, steep, and rough terrain that challenged our drives up and down it. However, we are finding that as we make our way up Mount Sharp along a new route, some of the same driving gremlins are with us.

Yesterday’s drive made it just about all the way to its endpoint, but Curiosity encountered higher than expected tilts as she attempted to turn toward our desired heading to enable clear communications with Earth via our high gain antenna. The turn did not complete, so direct communication with Curiosity via the high gain antenna was blocked. The current relative positions of Earth and Mars plus the pediment and scenic buttes around us give us fewer heading options for direct communication, so we are less robust to a missed turn here or a drive fault there. That meant that we had to wait until the morning of Sol 3465 to communicate with Curiosity another way – through one of the many orbiters circling Mars that we use to send our data to Earth. As such, Curiosity will chill on Sol 3464, but then spring into action on Sol 3465 with the plethora of activities the science team planned today.

Since then the rover has moved upward again, but the steepness of this hill is making the going slow, for the communications reasons explained above.

Where the science team will send Curiosity once it gets out of Gordon Notch Hollow remains unknown. They could send it to the west towards Gediz Vallis Ridge, to return to their original planned route, while avoiding the worst parts of the Greenheugh Pediment. Or they could decide to head directly south, climbing uphill so the rover ends up above the pediment to avoid it completely. This latter path would mean they would skip exploring Gediz Vallis Ridge, but get to the marker horizon sooner.


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

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.