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On February 5, 2023 I will celebrate my 70th birthday. Yay! As I do every year during this birthday month, I run a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work 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.
 

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5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
 
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Curiosity retreating from Greenheugh Pediment

Overview map
Click for interactive map.

Because of the incredible roughness of the ground on the Greenheugh Pediment, the science team for the rover Curiosity has decided to make a major change in their route. Rather than continue their traverse across this terrain, as planned for years, they have decided to back off in order to protect Curiosity’s dinged wheels, and find a more friendly route up Mount Sharp.

“It was obvious from Curiosity’s photos that this would not be good for our wheels,” said Curiosity Project Manager Megan Lin of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which leads the mission. “It would be slow going, and we wouldn’t have been able to implement rover-driving best practices.”

The gator-back rocks aren’t impassable – they just wouldn’t have been worth crossing, considering how difficult the path would be and how much they would age the rover’s wheels.

So the mission is mapping out a new course for the rover as it continues to explore Mount Sharp, a 3.4-mile-tall (5.5-kilometer-tall) mountain that Curiosity has been ascending since 2014. As it climbs, Curiosity is able to study different sedimentary layers that were shaped by water billions of years ago. These layers help scientists understand whether microscopic life could have survived in the ancient Martian environment.

The plan is to retrace the rover’s path back through Gordon Notch and then head uphill though another gap that will take it directly onto the next sedimentary layer, dubbed the sulfate unit. On the overview map above, the red dotted line shows the long-planned route. The yellow lines indicate the area seen in the panorama I posted on April 6th, when Curiosity was at its farthest into the pediment. The blue dot marks Curiosity’s position two days ago. You can see that it has retreated backwards.

This change means the scientists will likely not get a close look at Gediz Vallis Ridge. However, it also means the rover will likely reach Gediz Vallis much sooner that previously planned.

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.

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

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