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.

Juno team creates dramatic animation of Ganymede/Jupiter fly-by

Using images from Juno’s fly-by of both Ganymede and Jupiter on June 7th and 8th, the science team has produced a dramatic animation, with background music, showing that fly-by from the point of view of the spacecraft.

I have embedded it below the fold.

The 3:30-minute-long animation begins with Juno approaching Ganymede, passing within 645 miles (1,038 kilometers) of the surface at a relative velocity of 41,600 mph (67,000 kph). The imagery shows several of the moon’s dark and light regions (darker regions are believed to result from ice sublimating into the surrounding vacuum, leaving behind darkened residue) as well as the crater Tros, which is among the largest and brightest crater scars on Ganymede.

It takes just 14 hours, 50 minutes for Juno to travel the 735,000 miles (1.18 million kilometers) between Ganymede and Jupiter, and the viewer is transported to within just 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers) above Jupiter’s spectacular cloud tops. By that point, Jupiter’s powerful gravity has accelerated the spacecraft to almost 130,000 mph (210,000 kph) relative to the planet.

Among the Jovian atmospheric features that can be seen are the circumpolar cyclones at the north pole and five of the gas giant’s “string of pearls” – eight massive storms rotating counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere that appear as white ovals. Using information that Juno has learned from studying Jupiter’s atmosphere, the animation team simulated lightning one might see as we pass over Jupiter’s giant thunderstorms.

The lightning shown on Jupiter, while entertaining, is a complete fantasy. The flashes are much too bright and large. At the scale created, some would cover the Earth. In reality, that lightning wouldn’t be visible until you are very very close, and even then probably difficult to spot in the vastness of Jupiter.


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  • Lee Stevenson

    Very cool indeed, I imagine the lightning spots are an artifact of the image processing in between the the frames. Juno has a telephone camera grade imaging capacity, which ( as I have argued here before) , I think is almost criminal. Imagine the images and REAL movies, rather than frames several minutes apart merged together to make a “smooth” movie.
    I am all about exploration of the solar system, and all behind answering the “big” questions, but at the same time, it is tax payers money being spent. I know this is a NASA mission, and involves non of my tax dollars, but if an ESA mission went to Jupiter with a crappy camera bolted on as an afterthought,.I would be annoyed!
    The thrill we civilians get from the exploration of the solar system is from the pretty pictures. The measurement of solar wind distortion or gravity curves is very important to science, but to most non-scientists ( myself included!) It’s the photos and movies that provide the bang for the buck…. And the fact JUNO was approved without any kind of camera speaks to me… The pictures it returns will be a well for the scientific community for years to come, along with all the other data… But that other data will never engage us, or the next generation of scientists as much as the wonderful, intriguing and captivating images do.
    Go Juno! For a “saved” mission, it’s doing its job, albeit slower than planned, but imagine that fly by with a decent HD camera…

    This mission is one of my pet peeves… Sorry for ranting!

    Love and lit!

  • David M. Cook

    WOW! If you were to play this in an IMAX theater people would fall over! Serious Fun for the eyes!

  • Jeff Wright

    In other news, the massive Shanghai Astronomy Museum opened today.

  • Edward

    Robert wrote: “In reality, that lightning wouldn’t be visible until you are very very close, and even then probably difficult to spot in the vastness of Jupiter.

    Lightning is a fascinating topic. One Jupiter probe, possibly Galileo, had an instrument that could detect electrons in Jupiter’s magnetic field. Since lightning tends to inject electrons into a planet’s magnetic field, this instrument indirectly detected lightning at Jupiter. I worked with one scientist who studied sprites shortly after they were discovered, a phenomenon that occurs above lightning strikes on Earth. He once quoted to me that another expert estimated that there could be as many as 100 lightning strikes per second on Earth. Jupiter is much larger, so there could be much, much more lightning there.

    How visible these strikes might be could depend upon how deep they are below the top cloud layer.

    Hypothesized shallow lightning on Jupiter:

    Notice that more lightning is seen in the night side than the day side of the Earth:

    I’m not sure what kind of photography would be needed to capture lightning strikes or the auroras at Jupiter, or how many frames per second one would need to count the strikes per second, but the limitations of the Deep Space Network may limit this kind of study.

    From the linked JPL article:

    The camera’s point of view for this time-lapse animation was generated by citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt, using composite images of Ganymede and Jupiter.

    What is a “citizen scientist” and how can someone become one?

    It looks like a citizen scientist does freelance data reduction on topics that interest him, and he gets to be one by having interest, skillsets, and tenacity.

  • Edward: All Juno raw images are released immediately to the public, which is then encouraged to enhance and process them. Eichstadt has done quite a number, including many that I have featured as cool images. See the Juno raw image page here.

  • Edward said ” . . . gets to be one by having interest, skillsets, and tenacity.”

    Kind of how one gets to ‘be’, or do, anything.

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