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 now targets December 18, 2021 for launch of Webb

NASA today announced that it and the European Space Agency have scheduled the Ariane 5 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope from French Guiana for December 18, 2021.

The agency set the new target launch date in coordination with Arianespace after Webb recently and successfully completed its rigorous testing regimen – a major turning point for the mission. The new date also follows Arianespace successfully launching an Ariane 5 rocket in late July and scheduling a launch that will precede Webb. The July launch was the first for an Ariane 5 since August 2020.

Launching before the end of ’21 will allow NASA to claim that Webb is only be ten years behind schedule, not eleven. The cost overruns however remain astronomical (no pun intended). Initially budgeted at $500 million, Webb is now estimated to have cost $10 billion.

Once launched the telescope will take about six months to slowly move to its Lagrange point location about a million miles from the Earth, in the Earth’s shadow. During that time it will also be steadily deploying its many segmented mirror for infrared observations (an important detail as Webb is not a replacement for Hubble, which does most of its observations in the optical wavelengths).

Should deployment and placement go as planned, Webb will undoubtedly do ground-breaking astronomy, especially in the field of deep space cosmology. If anything should go wrong, any repair mission will take at a minimum five years to mount, if ever.

Keep those fingers and toes crossed!


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


  • Call Me Ishmael

    “… its L5 location …”

    It’s not L5; I think it’s Earth-Sun L2.

  • Call Me Ishmael: You are correct. I meant to write Lagrange point. Now fixed.

  • David M. Cook

    Wow! What a major win for the government-industrial complex! They turned a measly half-billon dollar science project into a $10 billion bonanza! What financial wizards these folks are, just think of the money they will make on the next project, which will be to FIX the thing when it fails!

  • Max

    “slowly move to its Lagrange point location about a million miles from the Earth, in the Earth’s shadow”

    That would make sense, because it needs to be super cooled to function properly. But that’s not its design, I was disappointed to find out It will be powered by solar cells, not a plutonium battery.
    It will circle earth’s shadow staying in sunlight.
    That means its lifespan is limited to the amount of coolant it takes with it.
    It must make adjustments to maintain the circular orbit around the shadow that has the diameter equal to the moons orbit around the earth.
    With a large heat shield in place to prevent solar heating of the telescope, there’s a danger of solar wind causing frequent adjustments.

  • Edward

    Max wrote: “That means its lifespan is limited to the amount of coolant it takes with it.

    It has a sunshade, which caused one of the brief delays. No coolant on this telescope.

  • Peter Monta

    Yes, it will circle L2 to remain in the sunlight for power. Interestingly, though, even an object exactly at L2 would not be in the full Earth’s shadow–only about 95%. Looking sunward from L2, it’s an annular eclipse.

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 *