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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: Into the mountains

Panorama on Mars, June 15, 2022
Click for full image.

Overview map
Click for interactive map.

Cool image time! The journey of Curiosity into the mountains of Gale Crater continues. The photo above, taken on June 15, 2022 by the rover’s left navigation camera, looks straight ahead at one possible route into those mountains.

The blue dot on the overview map to the right indicates Curiosity’s position. The yellow lines show the approximate area covered by the photo, by my estimate. The recurring slope lineae is a streak that comes and goes seasonally, and could be caused by some form of seepage. The marker layer, as indicated by the arrows, is a geological layer found at about the same elevation in many places on the flanks of Mount Sharp.

The red dotted line indicates the planned route of Curiosity, which it is presently striving to return to, having been forced to retreat from the Greenheugh Pediment because of its too-rough terrain.

For scale, Navarro Mountain is estimated to be about 450 feet high. Thus, the peak in the center of the panorama, which I think is the large mesa in the lower right corner of the overview map, is probably twice that height, about 1,500 to 1,700 feet high, and much higher than the two mesas that frame it on either side. Distance and perspective hide this difference.

When Curiosity finally gets inside Gediz Vallis and close to the side of that many-layered mesa, the view should be unbelievably amazing.

The science team has not yet revealed the precise route they plan to take to return to the planned route. While they may aim straight over the saddle in the photo above, I suspect they will instead bear west, following ground that is less steep.

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.

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