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I am now in the third week of my annual February birthday fund-raising drive. The first two weeks were good, but not record-setting.


There are still two weeks left in this campaign however. If you have been a regular reader and a fan of my work and have not yet donated or subscribed, please consider doing so. I take no ads, I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands (most of the time). Thus, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.


You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

3. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Perseverance and Ingenuity begin the journey up onto Jezero Crater’s delta

Perseverance's view ahead, February 7, 2023
To see the original images, go here and here.

Overview map
Click for interactive map.

After two years of detailed exploration on the floor of Jezero crater, the rover Perseverance and its Mars helicopter scout Ingenuity have finally begun the climb up onto the delta that in eons past flowed into Jezero Crater.

The panorama above was created from two Perseverance images taken by its right navigation camera on February 7, 2023 (Sol 699) (here and here), looking forward and uphill. On the overview map to the right the blue dot marks Perseverance’s location, with the yellow lines indicating the approximate area covered by this mosaic. The red dotted line in both images indicate approximately the rover’s eventually path.

Ingenuity’s present position is marked by the green dot. This is where the helicopter landed after completing its 42nd flight on February 4, 2023. Planned to fly 823 feet for 137 seconds, Ingenuity actually flew a slightly shorter distance, 814 feet, in that length of time. The difference is probably the result of Ingenuity’s need to find a good landing spot, and the one it found was slightly closer to its take-off point.

The flight however took the helicopter uphill, scouting the terrain that Perseverance plans to drive. While there is no terrain here that is much of a challenge for the rover, having the helicopter’s ground images in advance allows its operators to plan longer drives, as those images will help tell them what obstacles to avoid and route to choose.

The green oval indicates the area that Perseverance has left its first ten core samples for later pickup and return to Earth.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

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