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 looks back across the alien landscape of Mars

Gale Crater, October 31, 2021
Click for image.

Cool image time! The photo above, the first of 21 identical images taken by Curiosity’s right navigation camera, taken at intervals of about thirteen seconds on October 31st, was probably snapped as part of an effort to spot a moving dust devil. At the resolution available to my software, I see nothing when I compare all 21 photos.

What I do see is a remarkably alien landscape. In the distance can be seen the mountains that mark the rim of Gale Crater, 30-plus miles away. On the image’s right edge you can see the rising slope heading up to the peak of Mount Sharp about 13,000 feet higher.

In the center are those blobby mesas that make this terrain look so strange. For the past decade Curiosity has been traveling from the floor of the crater on the picture’s far left to circle around that dark sand dune sea to climb up the mountain slopes in the foreground in front of those mesas.

It is now heading to the right, into the mountains that make up Mount Sharp. Such a view of the floor of Gale Crater will thus be for the next few years more difficult to catch, as the mountains themselves will block the view. Assuming the rover survives long enough, it will have to climb much higher before it can get such an expansive view again.


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  • Steve Richter

    When will the next rover be sent to Mars? Maybe, if Elon announced an ambitious plan to send a large rover to Mars the FAA would have to relent and allow development flights from Boca Chica?

  • Chris

    A question on the photograph(s). In many of these photos, there seems to be a “haze” in the far landscape and even on the semi-close landscape. I realize the rocks are surrounded by regolith that can make things look hazy. (regolith, is that the correct term? Is “land” scape the correct term? alien!)
    There also seems to be a lack of sharpness in the pictures of anything beyond a few dozen feet.
    Is the lack of sharpness at distance an issue due to the camera? – is the right nav camera limited in resolution? Is the focus not set at infinity?

    In any case, the haze is intriguing. It seems as if there is some type of low level dust filled atmosphere clinging to the lowest part of the planet surface.

  • Chris: Mars remember has a lot of dust. Depending on season a lot of it is in the atmosphere, which I think accounts for most of the haze in the navigation images I post.

    Also, that many of these images are from the two navigation cameras also explains it. The purpose of these cameras is to provide information for planning the rover’s upcoming route. Thus, I suspect they are optimized to focus best at distances from 0 to 100 feet.

    Thirdly, the versions I post, though raw, are not the highest resolution. To use that requires different graphic software that I have never bothered to install. Not worth the hassle, as the highest resolution available otherwise serves my purposes quite amply.

  • Phill O: Nope, doesn’t look the same at all, especially with that log in the foreground. On Mars the land is entirely barren, no life. That difference alone is profound.

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