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Heading directly for Balanced Rock

Curiosity's course to Balanced Rock

As I predicted Sunday, the Curiosity science team is aiming the rover directly towards the gap in the mesas, dubbed the Murray Buttes, that also has the balanced rock seen in earlier images.

The image on the right shows the rover’s most recent two traverses, superimposed on a Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image. I have cropped it to focus in on the area of most interest.

Based on the rover’s general rate of travel, I would expect them to enter the gap after about two or three more traverses. This means they will be there in about a week, since after each traverse they usually stop and do science and reconnaissance before resuming travel.

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.


  • PeterF

    Future KOA campground!

  • Alex

    NASA stated: “Curiosity has driven 8.40 miles (13.51 kilometers) since its landing in 2012.”
    I call this very ineffective, just about 9 meters/day or 0.1 mm/s. Oh man, so slowly. We need very different autonomous robot, which are able to travel at least 9 km/day!!!

  • Alex wrote: “We need very different autonomous robot, which are able to travel at least 9 km/day!!!”

    It’s called a human being.

  • Localfluff

    An alternative would be to run the rover in “simulated real time” from Earth. I.e. with a time travel delay, but since it is so slow it would still be safe most of the time. And run it continuously 24/7. But that requires a larger research team to handle the increased data, a dedicated Areosynchonous communication satellite and a much more powerful rover, which would be a solar rover with daytime only operations. Curiosity only has 1/6 of a horsepower electric power!

  • Alex

    Localfluff: Yoo describe one option, another would be to design robots, which are able to make own decisions based on in-situ available information, without being chained to ground station on Earth.

    Mr. Zimmerman: Yes, your comment is correct, but man must be not Mars’ surface himself to achieve much higher travel speed. He could use telerobot technology from Mars orbit or real advanced robots (see above, my comments responding to Localfluff).

  • Joe

    Love when John Batchelor plays with the thought of alien life on an alien planet, road markers, left by I guess would be the phobosians? From the J podcast.

  • wayne

    yeah– JB talking Space with Mr. Z, “priceless.” JB is like a kid in a candy-store, genuine enthusiasm!

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