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.

July 12, 2017 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast

Embedded below the fold.


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


  • LocalFluff

    I’m sorry if I’m nitpicking. It’s much easier to do so on the keyboard than during a live radio interview. The smaller of the two orbiters is made in Japan by JAXA, I think they deserve honor for that. Their planetary missions are always very ambitious, often almost fail but are saved at least to some degree. They push the limits, not wasting too much on slack. I guess there’s a difference in organizational culture from NASA there.

    It will have a much more eccentric orbit to measure the magnetic field near and far, which is a very puzzling phenomena at Mercury since its southern magnetic pole is way inside of the planet. And it has a relatively huge iron nickel core. Uranus has a weirdly misaligned magnetic field too, and will most likely get its own NASA flagship mission soon. This could be practically very important to understand since Earth’s magnetic field shifts abruptly sometimes. No one knows why.

    So, first flyby of Mercury in October 2021, four years after launch, and then yearly flybys until entering orbit in December 2025.

    AFAIK JAXA and ESA both developed heat reflecting coatings, which seems to have been a big item in the mission development. Could probably have been done faster and less wastefully if better coordinated. But everyone involved wants to play with the cool toys himself, so that’s the incentive.

  • LocalFluff

    3 years after launch in 2018 October. Easy to make mistakes. Ariane 5 so it will launch safely and on time.

    While at it, I can add that they’ve finished the shake tests and are now unscrewing it all to check if something got damaged. Then there’s the electric tests and the heat test. They seem to have had to rebuild the lab for doing the heat test. The heat has really been a challenge. 10 times more sunlight than at Earth, and the heat reflected from Mercury seems to be the big difference from the further out orbiting MESSENGER mission.

    A potential rover on the surface could maybe hide in eternally shadowed polar craters daytime, and move during the 132 days long night. By moving away from the approaching terminator it could maybe even be moving around all of the time. A rover is next if BeppiColumbo is successful.

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 *