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: Nine years since landing on Mars and the way forward

The way forward for Curiosity
Click for full image.

In today’s Curiosity update written by planetary geologist Abigail Fraeman, she noted this significant fact:

Project scientist Ashwin Vasavada pointed out a great fact at the beginning of planning today: At around 4 o’clock in the afternoon on Sol 3199 (the first sol in the plan we are creating today), Curiosity will begin its 10th Earth year on Mars. In the last nine years, the rover has traveled 26.3 km [16.3 miles], climbed over 460 m [1,509 feet] in elevation, and collected 32 drilled samples of rock.

Her update includes the first image taken by Curiosity upon landing, a view of Mount Sharp using the rover’s front hazard camera. In that picture, the mountain is far away, as the rover was sitting on the flat floor of Gale Crater.

The photo above, cropped and enhanced to post here, was taken yesterday by one of Curiosity’s navigation cameras, and looks out across the rocky mountainous terrain the rover is soon to travel. As Fraeman also notes,

Overview map
Click for interactive map.

After a morning of science, Curiosity will hit the road, driving ~14 m along our strategically planned route. This is an usually short drive for a day like today, and it’s because the terrain is so rocky that it’s hard to see too far beyond the rover’s current position. We don’t want to use too much autonomous driving in this rocky terrain and risk damaging the wheels.

The yellow lines in the overview map to the right shows the approximate area covered by the top photo. The red dotted line shows the rover’s planned route. The white dotted line shows its actual travels.

Curiosity is now moving among mountains several hundred feet high.


I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.

Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Your support is even more essential to me because I not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.

You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.


  • Jim Davis

    Your title is a bit confusing. Curiosity is about to begin its 10th year on Mars; it has not been on Mars 10 years.

  • Andrew_W

    “landed on Aeolis Palus inside Gale crater on Mars on 6 August 2012” [wiki].

    It’s 2022 already?

    “At around 4 o’clock in the afternoon on Sol 3199 (the first sol in the plan we are creating today),”

    There it is, they plan 2 years in advance.

  • Andrew_W

    Oops, one year in advance.

  • Jim Davis: You are correct. I have rephrased the title. Thank you.

  • Andi

    Bob, your title:

    “Curiosity: Ten years since landing on Mars and the way forward”

    might still need some adjustment. If it landed in 2012 then tomorrow will be nine years since landing.

  • Andi: I have already revised it again. Refresh your screen.

  • Andi

    Thanks, Bob. I had refreshed my screen but the old version still showed. I must have retrieved a cached version – restarting my browser fixed that. Sorry to bother you.

  • Andi: No need to apologize at all. Bother with these things whenever you want. You help me make this site better. :)

  • Star Bird

    So far Marvin and K-9 are still hiding out with those Instant Martians

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *