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.

NASA awards more operational manned missions to SpaceX and Boeing

NASA today awarded four more operational manned missions to SpaceX and Boeing, bringing their total planned flights now to six each, not counting their first demonstration mission.

The additional flights will allow the commercial partners to plan for all aspects of these missions while fulfilling space station transportation needs. The awards do not include payments at this time. “Awarding these missions now will provide greater stability for the future space station crew rotation schedule, as well as reduce schedule and financial uncertainty for our providers,” said Phil McAlister, director, NASA’s Commercial Spaceflight Development Division.

NASA essentially has no choice. These spacecraft will be the only way to get astronauts to ISS after 2018, when our contract with the Russians expires.

Moreover, by awarding these contracts now, before the end of the Obama administration, NASA essentially locks them down before the new Trump administration can take power and kill them.


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


  • mpthompson

    You hint the Trump administration might want kill these missions. Doesn’t make much sense. Can you elaborate?

  • mpthompson: Sorry if I gave the impression that the Trump administration might want to kill these commercial missions. I personally doubt it. However, I do know how politics is done in Washington, and I am certain that the announcement of these operational contracts now was a decision by NASA management to guarantee these deals go through. Right now, they really do not know what a Trump administration might do. This helps place some certainty on their future policy and actions.

  • mpthompson

    I see. Thanks for the clarification.

    Trump is certainly a wild card. I sincerely hope that he and his administration may end up being the best friend commercial space may have in Washington. I guess we’ll find out in the coming months.

  • LocalFluff

    Fighting for commercial space against congress might’ve been the best thing Obama did. Although he did it only because it was the opposite standpoint of the neocons, it is maybe the only significant good part of his legacy that will survive his administration. He doesn’t seem to mention it in his braggings, though, because commercial space is not in line with leftist sentimentality of central government and anti-tech-that-destroys-our-environment-whatever at whom he now is looking for a job (after his 8 years of vacation).

  • Richard M

    “NASA essentially has no choice. These spacecraft will be the only way to get astronauts to ISS after 2018, when our contract with the Russians expires.”

    Unquestionably true. It’s a little late to bail out now.

    Of course, in a sense there *is* a choice, because there are two contractors, which gives some hedge against one of them running into serious problems. Which demonstrates the wisdom of NASA holding firm against congressional pressures to downselect to just one CCtCAP contractor.

  • Diane Wilson

    Since this is the month for smooth transitions of power, let’s hope for a smooth transition from Russia to SpaceX and Boeing for manned flights to ISS.

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 *