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.

Engineers hope Juno’s Earth flyby yesterday will help solve a mystery seen in previous flybys by unmanned probes.

The uncertainty of science: Engineers hope Juno’s Earth flyby yesterday will help solve a mystery seen in previous flybys by unmanned probes.

Since 1990, mission controllers at ESA and NASA have noticed that their spacecraft sometimes experience a strange variation in the amount of orbital energy they pick up from Earth during flybys, a technique routinely used to fling satellites deep into our Solar System. The unexplained variation is noticed as a tiny difference in the expected speed gained (or lost) during the passage.

The variations are extremely small: NASA’s Jupiter probe ended up just 3.9 mm/s faster than expected when it swung past Earth in December 1990. The largest variation– a boost of 13.0 mm/s – was seen with NASA’s NEAR asteroid craft in January 1998. Conversely, the differences during swingbys of NASA’s Cassini in 1999 and Messenger in 2005 were so small that they could not be confirmed.

The experts are stumped.

It is likely that these small variations are related in some way with simple engineering and not some unknown feature of gravity. Nonetheless, it remains a mystery.


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. 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 keep this site free from advertisements and do not participate in corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. 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


  • Well, I actually solved the problem. Here is my press release concerning the flyby ->

  • Pzatchok

    And here I was just thinking it could be the variations in the Earths surface.

    As a craft moves past the Earth if it passes over the Himalayas the surface would be closer to the craft than if it passed by over the open flat ocean.

    More mass miles closer to the craft causes an increase in the working gravity.

  • Edward


    The gravitational variations in the density and elevations of the Earth are well mapped and included in orbit equations. These variations are even used to routinely change orbital planes ( e.g. so that a spacecraft can be constantly in sunshine — called a sun-synchronous orbit).

    My first thought was that the lunar influences were miscalculated (a three-body equation has been elusive), but that seemed rather unlikely, given the large number of accurate calculations given by the many orbital calculators.

    Although I do not understand how spacecraft spin affects orbital mechanics, Kimmo Rouvari’s hypothesis/theory seems more plausible than anything I can think of (such as influence by “space aliens” who are just messing with our minds).

    Unfairly, I am making these comments without having read Rouvari’s “Theory of Everything by illusion,” perhaps because it just seems illusory to me (pun intended — in fact, the whole reason for this sentence was to make that pun — I hope you take this with amusement, Kimmo).

  • No problem Edward! I have a great sense of humour :-) Besides, you have plenty of time to read my paper after the flyby results are public. My kind advice… sit while you read ;-)

  • Units should be mm/s, my bad!

  • Here’s latest regarding Juno Earth flyby

    1.111 mm/s at perigee! Champagne is ready to go ;-)

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 *