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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.
 

4. A Paypal Donation:

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5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
 
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ESA asks member nations to build lander for Franklin Mars rover

In its most recent request for funding from the member nations of the European Space Agency (ESA), the agency has asked the member nations to finance the design and construction of a new lander for its long delayed Rosalind Franklin Mars rover, replacing the Russian lander that had became unavailable due to sanctions resulting from Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.

According to the BBC (opens in new tab), ESA will request 360 million euros to kickstart work on the new landing system, with additional funds likely needed in subsequent years. ESA has already spent some 1.3 billion euro on the ExoMars program, which also includes an orbiter that has been studying Mars’ atmosphere and surface since 2017. ESA will put the plan in front of delegates of its 22 member states at a ministerial conference in November.

“We will have to wait if the [member states] decide to go forward with the project,” Parker said. “This concept is now proposed as part of the director general’s package within [ESA’s] exploration program for decision at the ministerial [conference].”

If ESA’s member nations agree to this plan, expect the launch of Franklyn to be delayed further. Based on the normal pace in which ESA functions, that lander will take a minimum of five years to design and build (likely much longer). Though ESA is now targeting ’28 for the launch of Franklin, which was supposed to launch this past summer after a two year delay, this plan likely means it will not get off the ground this decade.

Meanwhile, there are now at least a half dozen private companies building lunar landers that could more quickly (and for less money) get a Franklin Mars lander built for ESA. None are in Europe however, which means ESA would rather have this mission delayed years so that it can funnel money to its own contractors..

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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