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 report Hubble fix appears successfully

Engineers this morning announced that their attempt to switch to backup computer hardware on the Hubble Space Telescope was successful.

The switch included bringing online the backup Power Control Unit (PCU) and the backup Command Unit/Science Data Formatter (CU/SDF) on the other side of the Science Instrument and Command & Data Handling (SI C&DH) unit. The PCU distributes power to the SI C&DH components, and the CU/SDF sends and formats commands and data. In addition, other pieces of hardware onboard Hubble were switched to their alternate interfaces to connect to this backup side of the SI C&DH. Once these steps were completed, the backup payload computer on this same unit was turned on and loaded with flight software and brought up to normal operations mode.

They are now doing tests to make sure everything is working as expected, and preparing the telescope to bring it out of safe mode and resume science operations.

This is great news, but to bring everyone down to Earth, we must remember that Hubble no longer has any redundancy in this area. Should there be another similar computer failure, the telescope will then be dead in the water, with the only way to bring it back a manned or robotic mission — something we presently do not have the capacity to do — to replace these units.


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


  • Mark

    In April, Bob mentioned that Sierra Nevada had plans to build a manned version of Dream Chaser. With that perhaps a NASA mission five years from now could launch a crewed mission to Hubble to replace sensors, navigation hardware and other aging components.

  • Tom D

    Isn’t the Dragon 2 available right now for this?

  • Edward

    Tom D Asked: “Isn’t the Dragon 2 available right now for this?

    It is hard to say.

    Dragon was not designed with this kind of mission in mind, so it does not have a Canadarm or other mount to hold relative position during the work, and Dragon does not have an airlock, so all the astronauts would have to be in spacesuits during the work. Since NASA is not studying this possibility, I suspect that they think Dragon is not suitable for the job. I suspect that Starliner has the same limitations.

  • George C

    When you look at the pictures from the previous Hubble servicing missions you can really see how Shuttle was like a space station on the go designed for working on things, big things, in space. Huge cargo hull, flat areas, big and stable. You can get those features in different ways from different craft you could assemble in space. But it would be designed for the purpose.

  • Dick Eagleson

    George C: Starship will be even more a “space station on the go” than was Shuttle.

    Mark: A manned version of Starship is likely to be ready far sooner than a manned version of Dream Chaser.

    The recent fixes to Hubble don’t have to last forever. If they last as little as three more years, the capability to fix it in some fashion via human intervention should once more be within the capabilities of the U.S.

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 *