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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
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Curiosity looks ahead: Which way to go?

Curiosity's view on March 11, 2023
Click for high resolution version. For original images, go here and here.

Overview map

How about a bonus weekend cool image! The panorama above, created from two pictures taken on March 11, 2023 by the right navigation camera on the Mars rover Curiosity, gives us a wonderful view of the alien Martian terrain that the rover is presently within. It also shows us the dilemma mission planners have in planning the rover’s future travels.

The red dotted line on both the panorama and the overview map to the right indicates the planned route. The yellow lines on the map indicates the approximate area viewed by the panorama. The blue dot marks Curiosity’s present position, where it is presently in the middle of a drilling campaign in the marker layer where it sits.

The plan had been to travel to the east of what I like to call the the hill of pillows (in the middle of the panorama). Yet, it appears from this navigation image that the terrain might be less difficult to the west. Both routes will get the rover to its goal in Gediz Vallis.

I have no idea what the mission planners will decide to do. I am just a tourist going along for the ride, and sharing the journey with my readers. This is the first time any human spacecraft has ever traveled through such mountainous terrain on any planet.

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.


  • GaryMike

    Mr. Z,

    This offering is off-topic for this post, but is related.

    I would be interested in your opinion in another post.

    If privately funded individuals who voluntarily relocate from Earth to Mars decide amongst themselves to identify as Martians not subject to Earth-based governance (thus no longer able to receive logistical support), (those who privately purchased passage on mostly non-tax funded private enterprise (SpaceX) vessels), are the “neo-Martians” sovereign or are the Earthers?

    Cue the gifted polio-infected blankets?

  • GaryMike: The human being, wherever that person is, is always sovereign. When (not if) the Earthers try to dictate to those living on Mars, the Moon, the asteroids, and elsewhere rules that those spacefarers decide for their own better-known local reasons are foolish and counter-productive, those spacecfarers are going to tell the Earthers good-bye.

    Of course, such rebellion will not happen until the colonies in space are somewhat self-sufficient, but it will happen sooner than those on Earth realize.

    Do not expect it to happen however with Musk’s first colonies, though I do expect there will be enough pushback to prevent too much regulatory abuse from Earth. Like the British North American colonies, it will likely take decades for the pot to reach a boiling point.

  • wayne

    The Expanse – Se3 Ep03
    “Planetary Railgun Strike on Martian Weapons Platforms”

  • Those wishing to control extra-terrestrial colonies would do well to remember they live at the bottom of a gravity well, and there are lots of rocks available.

  • GaryMike

    Mr. Z,

    “When (not if) the Earthers try to dictate…”

    We share distrust of certain situational companions.

    Just leave us (trying to control myself for the purposes of this community) alone.

    I don’t think that those “companions” realize how much some of us are willing to suffer to just get away from them.

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.

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