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.

Hayabusa-2 22 miles from Ryugu

Hayabusa-2 has moved to within 23 miles of the asteroid Ryugu and is expected to reach its planned 12 mile rendezvous distance on June 27.

No new pictures, though I wouldn’t be surprised if some showed up today or tomorrow.


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  • Col Beausabre

    Is it just me, or is anyone else amazed that we can place something so accurately (from this distance) that it’s in orbit TWELVE MILES (!) from the surface of another celestial body?

  • Edward

    Col Beausabre asked: “Is it just me, or is anyone else amazed that we can place something so accurately (from this distance) that it’s in orbit TWELVE MILES (!) from the surface of another celestial body?

    Well, they make midcourse corrections, so I lost my amazement decades ago.

    On the other hand, some of the mathematics is simple (elliptical orbits) and some is complex (three dimensional differential equations for rendezvous). Plus the spacecraft has to perform correctly after years of aging electronics, radiation bombardment, whatever the limit is for the batteries, and other surprises that come up (Mars Observer failed during a routine midcourse correction on the way to Mars).

    Then there are communication time delays, the unknowns of the destination asteroid (is there debris in the neighborhood?), and changes of plan during arrival because something interesting came up. Changes in the plan are risky, as preset commands may be missed during the changes (SOHO was nearly lost because a previously turned off reaction wheel — changed plan — was not taken into account during a routine maneuver).

    Come to think of it, there are quite a few failures that happen, so it is amazing that we have as many successes as we do.

    Here is a video that helps explain how spacecraft navigate in space: (17 minutes)

  • lodaya

    Col Beausabre: I am certainly amazed, even if it has happened several times already. One of the amazing things is how they even communicate with the spacecraft. How does it know where it is, after all, there is no GPS out there. See
    for a writeup on telecommunications at the distance of Pluto.

  • Localfluff

    I miss TESS. It’s supposed to make its perigee end of June right now soon (it’s so quite about it and NASA mission website doesn’t advertise when the first perigee and thus data download will happen). I don’t know how many exoplanet detections it is expected to have gathered on its first run, but in two years it will have found tens of times more exoplanets than are known to date. I’m surprised by the silence before the storm.

    A press conference with scientists on the Cassini team said that they now know the location of Saturn’s center of gravity to within one mile (it is 1½ million miles away). Some press in the audience asked what that’s good for. “-Astronomers make it their job to know where things are!” Ephemera as they call it since thousands of years.

    Buzz Aldrin took a PhD in astronautics, on the topic of manual visual star navigation. Just as at sea, it is necessary to know where one is and many methods have been developed to do it.

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