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.

Dragon has been successfully berthed with ISS.

Dragon has successfully berthed with ISS.

The naysayers will focus on the thruster problems on Friday. The yaysayers will focus on the fix and berthing today. The bottom line, however, is that this mission once again proves that SpaceX is a real player in the space business. Every other company has to match its achievements, most especially in price. The result will be the eventually lowering in the cost to low Earth orbit, which will then make all things possible.

And in fact, we are already seeing this, with the appearance of many new private companies or organizations, proposing all sorts of new space efforts, such as mining asteroids or sending people to Mars. The lower cost allows dreamers to consider their wild new ideas more doable. And they then go ahead and try to do it.


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  • Pzatchok

    Is it true that their eventual plan is to make the first stage recoverable and possibly reusable?
    Or at least parts of it reusable.

  • Pzatchok

    And I can not find it but I have heard that the engines were originally soviet era ICBM engines that sat for many years never being installed and all they did was make a cheap offer for them and have them rebuilt in the states.

    After the rebuild and certifications they just renamed them Merlin.

    And that they only have about 120 of them total. And if they don’t start recovering and reusing them they stand a chance of running out of them before the final launches.

  • Fred Willett

    They are trying.
    Their plan is to make both first and second stages reusable.
    Whether they succeed or not is still to be decided.
    SpaceX’s Grasshopper is all about teaching a first stage to land gracefully and not like a brick.

  • Fred Willett

    No. The Merlin is a brand new engine designed and built entirely in house by SpaceX.
    You’re thinking of the Aerojet AJ26 engine which is to be used on Orbital’s Antares rocket. That was the engine originally built in Russia, bought by Aerojet and updated with modern electronics. etc. The Antares has 2 AJ26 engines.
    The Falcon 9 has 9 Merlin 1c engines.
    By the way this was the last flight of the merlin 1c engine. SpaceX’s next flight (june) will be the Falcon 9 v1.1 which will feature the new Merlin 1D engines.
    The merlin 1c had 53 flights for 52 successes. 51 if you count F1.003 as a failure. The Merlin performed flawlessly on that flight but the 2nd stage recontacted the first stage after seperation leading to loss of mission.

  • In this case you are mistaken. The Merlin engine is the first new American-built rocket engine in decades. The engines that are refurbished Soviet-era engines are the engines on Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket.

    SpaceX has been attempting to recover its first stage from day one, with little success. This is why they are testing Grasshopper, which they say will return to the ground vertical.

  • Pzatchok

    Thanks, I knew I had heard of ICBM engines being used I just didn’t know who was using them.

    Thanks for the clarifications.

  • One more clarification: The refurbished Russian engines that Orbital Sciences is using were not developed for an ICBM, but for the N1 rocket the Soviets tried to build to compete with the Saturn 5. See: (scroll down to January 2013.)

    The N1 was intended as their rocket to transport astronauts to the Moon, but it failed at every launch and was abandoned. The failures were not related to the engines themselves but to other quality control issues.

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