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I am now running my annual July fund-raising campaign to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of the establishment of Behind the Black. For many reasons, mostly political but partly ethical, I do not use Google, Facebook, Twitter. These companies practice corrupt business policies, while targeting conservative websites for censoring, facts repeatedly confirmed by news stories and by my sense that Facebook has taken action to prevent my readers from recommending Behind the Black to their friends.


Thus, I must have your direct support to keep this webpage alive. Not only does the money pay the bills, it gives me the freedom to speak honestly about science and culture, instead of being forced to write it as others demand.


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Curiosity climbs on!

Curiosity's view to the southeast, May 15, 2022 (Sol 3474)
Click for full resolution. Original images can be found here, here, and here.

Overview map
Click for interactive map.

Cool image time! The panorama above, created from three photos taken on May 15, 2022 by the right navigation camera on Curiosity, shows the rocky and hilly terrain directly ahead of the rover’s present course. In the far distance in the center left can faintly be seen the lower flanks of Mount Sharp itself. The dust in the winter air acts to partly obscure those distant slopes.

The overview map to the right shows us what we are looking at. The yellow lines are my rough guess at the terrain covered by the panorama. The blue dot marks Curiosity’s present position. The red dotted line the rover’s original planned route. 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.

The green dot marks the approximate location of a recurring slope lineae, a place where the cliff is seasonally darkened by a streak that appears each spring and then fades.

The navigation panorama taken on May 15th also included four more shots covering terrain to the southwest, so what we see above is not necessarily where the rover is heading. The eventual goal is to get back to that red dotted line, but how the rover does so is apparently still being discussed by the science team. It appears they are trying to decide whether to head west again to reach Gediz Vallis Ridge, or instead cut south heading directly for Gediz Vallis.

Either way, that teethlike row of boulders in the near foreground is certainly impressive.

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.


  • GaryMike

    The moment I saw that panorama I immediately pictured an ape throwing an animal femur into the air.

  • “The moment I saw that panorama I immediately pictured an ape throwing an animal femur into the air.”

    Which morphed into Starship in Mars orbit.

    “That’s a movie, and this is real life.”

    G.I. Jane 1997

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