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My February birthday fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black it now over. I sincerely and with deep gratitude thank all those who donated. Without your support I could not keep doing this, not so much because of the need for income to pay the bills, but because it tells me that there are people out there who want me to do this work. For those who did not contribute during the campaign, please consider adding your vote of support to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Donate through Gabpay, using my email address zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

3. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

4. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Curiosity climbs onto the Marker Band

Panorama as of January 17, 2023
Click for full image.

Overview map
Click for interactive map.

Curiosity’s exploration of the foothills of Mount Sharp continues. The panorama above, cropped, reduced, and annotated to post here, was taken on January 17, 2023 by the rover’s right navigation camera. It looks forward across the flat marker band terrain that the rover has been studying for the past few weeks.

From orbit, this marker band appears very smooth and flat, and is found in many places on the flanks of Mount Sharp, always at about the same elevation. The arrows in the overview map to the right mark several places near Curiosity where the band is evident. The blue dot marks Curiosity’s present location, the red dotted line its planned route, and the yellow lines indicate the approximate area covered by the panorama above. The distance across the marker band to the uphill slope is about 500 feet.

Now that Curiosity is on the marker band, it no longer looks smooth. Instead, it is a flat plain of many uneven paving stones interspersed with dust. While not as rough as the Greenheugh Pediment, which Curiosity had to retreat from because it was too hard on the rover’s wheels, the marker band is hardly the smooth soft terrain implied by the orbital images.

These paving stones have also proven difficult to drill into, with Curiosity’s drill already failing twice previously because the rock was too hard. That hardness should not be a surprise, however, as this layer’s flatness in many places shows its resistance to erosion.

As it crosses this wide section of the marker band the science team will obviously be looking for more candidate drill sites. Sooner or later one should work.

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 are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also 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.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

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