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 lunar rover experiences big budget overruns

NASA revealed yesterday that the budget for VIPER, a new NASA-built lunar rover, has increased from $250 million to $433.5 million.

The cost of the mission has gone up significantly. At the time NASA announced VIPER in October 2019, it projected a cost of about $250 million. As part of the confirmation review, known as Key Decision Point C, NASA set a formal cost commitment for the mission. NASA spokesperson Alison Hawkes said March 3 that the new lifecycle cost for the mission is $433.5 million.

NASA didn’t disclose the reason for the cost increase, but NASA officials said in June 2020 that they were postponing VIPER’s launch by about a year to late 2023 to change the rover’s design so it can meet the goal of operating for 100 days on the lunar surface. At the time, the agency declined to comment on VIPER’s cost.

This is very typical of modern NASA. Even though its planetary program produces some spectacular spacecraft and results, that program — like all NASA-built programs — rarely does so for the budget promised. For the planetary program, however, the overage for VIPER is startlingly high, especially in so short a time.

Be prepared for more delays and overages for this project, since that is usually what happens for NASA projects that experience such large budget increases.


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  • Captain Emeritus

    Sounds like a job for the Tesla Cyber Truck.
    Modified for airless operations on the moon, for roughly 1/12 of the fermenting NASA budget.

  • JhonB

    NASA, Budget overruns.. No, I just don’t believe it. That is just not like them.

  • Jeff Wright

    Lubrication issues in a vacuum may drive the expense up. Now here is where a seemingly un-related bit of tech can play a role. Some of you may have seen the video of the Starship derived Single Launch Space Station SLSS. Now this uses a rump Starship upper stage that-in the video-are linked with others of its kind. I’d prefer it use hypergols for what comes next. You see, I want to spread them out as a giant skycrane/Eagle deal. Why you may ask? Because a lot of heavy earth-moving equipment is already electrical! I want their worksites to have a contained atmosphere FIRST so these earthmovers can be moved as is-in a shirtsleeve nitrogen only environment for fire prevention. The astronauts only need oxygen masks and cooling suits. Perfect for lava tube worksites. Don’t drive front end loaders too fast-the weight is less but the mass is still there and could go flying. Lead batteries/reactors over drill-bits so you you have purchase and can bear down. Mass driver coils have to be in trenches and have three points of anchoredge. Put them on stalks and the torque will break the coils loose.

  • wayne

    a repeat from me…

    Spacecraft with Wheels: The Lunar Roving Vehicle
    NASA film (1971-ish)

  • MDN

    What a joke.

    SpaceX would just strip down a Tesla ModelX and dedicate a full Falcon Heavy or Starship mission to ship a half dozen up. And I bet they’d still come in under the original budget. The spares would cover the reliability concerns, and if those weren’t as bad as feared then they’d have 2X or 3X or 6X as many rovers to use.

    Sadly the modern NASA is managed by morons.
    : (

  • Jeff Wright

    Tesla wasn’t built to work in a vacuum. It is electric yes—but lubricants suffer in vacuums. Get a Tesla as it, and after awhile the grit will seize it up most likely—if you don’t tear it down every so often. A simpler solution might be zip lines on towers. Looser tolerances.

  • pzatchok

    What did NASA do for its rover?
    What about the Chinese now?

    Can’t modern engineers drop back and use old tech or at most just improve cheaply and easily what already works?

  • Edward

    Jeff Wright wrote: “Tesla wasn’t built to work in a vacuum. It is electric yes—but lubricants suffer in vacuums

    There are vacuum approved lubricants available. Some real problems include: a Tesla chasis is heavier than necessary, air cooling is not available, and the tires are not appropriate for lunar travel. None of these are insurmountable problems. We have seen many landers not get bogged down with grit, and even Teslas are not so affected by grit on Earth.

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