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.

Perseverance has successfully landed

Cheers in the control room

First image from Perseverance on the ground

The rover Perseverance has successfully landed in Jezero Crater on Mars.

The picture to the right is a screen capture of everyone cheering in the control room on hearing the good news.

The second image is the first image beamed back, from the rover’s hazard camera used mostly for guiding it in future travels. The haze is from the dust kicked up during landing.

The engineering narrator indicated that they also know exactly where the rover landed, and it is a good location, but NASA’s live stream appears uninterested in telling us this critical information. Right now they are spending time blathering on with more NASA propaganda.

I should get this information during the post-landing press conference, which begins at 5:30 (Eastern).

UPDATE: The press conference started 30 minutes late, and then spent the first 25 minutes letting the top NASA managers claim credit for everything. Then we finally got to hear from actual mission managers to tell us where the rover landed and what should happen next.

Perseverance's location in Jezero Crater

Detailed view of landing site

The two images to the right show us where Perseverance landed in its landing ellipse relative to the giant delta in the northwest quadrant that sometime in the far past poured through a break in the crater rim. According to the science team, the rover is about 2 kilometers from that delta.

The white box in the first photo marks the area covered in the second closer orbital image. The vehicle’s avoidance system nicely found a flat spot between several rough areas that are dune fields.

The landing site is just to the east and not far from the primarily planned route, as shown in yellow in the map posted here earlier today.

They will spend the next few days deploying the spacecraft’s instruments and then testing them. Hopefully all survived the landing with no damage. Then they will spend a period of time assessing the geology of the landing site itself, then work themselves around the dune field to head for the delta. The likely route will be to head to the northeast first, then due west skirting the dune field’s north and then west borders.

The access route up onto the delta is a long ramp on the southwest of the delta.


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  • V-Man

    We can use any and all good news right now. Congrats to the dev team for a great job.

  • Jay Nawrocki

    So Bob when does the helicopter/drone first fly? I know not for awhile, but just curious as to how far in the future?

  • Jay Nawrocki: The answer to all questions related to space is to do a quick search on Behind the Black!

    Searching for “Ingenuity” (The name of the helicopter), I find this:

    Perseverance: update on launch rehearsal and helicopter

    From the post:

    Sixty Martian days (dubbed sols) after landing in Jezero Crater on February 18, Perseverance will find a nice large flat area and deploy the helicopter six sols later. The helicopter will then begin its 30-sol test program. If it is found to work, future rovers will almost certainly be equipped with such helicopters, acting as scouts able to go places the rover cannot.

  • Woody Sprott

    So great!! LOL Waiting for NASA to stop its bloviating…

  • Woody Sprott and everyone: Refresh my post to see an update with photos.

  • Edward_2

    WHY must we wait 60 days for the helicopter to fly?

    I can see a few days to perform Self-Tests and what-not, but why so long???

  • Alex Andrite

    My New Crush = Raquel V.

    I enjoyed tabbing between the “fluff” (new crush) and the live stream.

    sigh …..

    rover onward !

  • Foxbat

    This is what NASA does best. Think if the billions being wasted on the STS would go toward planetary missions.

  • Edward_2: I think you are unfairly assuming this is much easier than it is.

    1. They need to deploy instruments that were stored for the landing.
    2. They need to test the instruments to make sure they work.
    3. They need to assess the landing site.
    4. They need to get a contingency sample in case something goes wrong later.
    5. They need to find the right size flat spot.
    6. They need 10 sols to deploy the helicopter.

    And all this must be done from millions of miles away, relaying commands and data back and forth through orbiting satellites that also have to do their own research plus also act as relays for Curiosity.

    Finally, the helicopter is not Perseverance’s primary mission. In fact, it ranks somewhat low on the priority list. Everyone wants to test it, but if it gets in the way of Perseverance’s primary mission of studying Mars, it will be dumped in a second.

  • Lee Stevenson

    I’ve already said this on another thread, but it bares repeating, congratulations to NASA and the USA…this is the stuff you guys do best, and the stuff that makes the rest of the world look up to you! ( And give NASA a break on the “fluff”…. It’s called outreach, and much more engaging for the general public than the sterile NASA TV of a decade or so ago. )

  • wayne

    Just started watching the replay.

    Hoy cow– they all have those fake cotton/nylon “masks” on, and with plexiglass sneeze guards.
    Who, are they kidding?

    That aside– very impressive endeavor.

    “Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?”
    Kinetic Typography: Vaas, Far Cry 3

    (Adult language)

  • Jason Lewis

    How much credit does NASA deserve vs JPL for this? The whole operation seems to be done at JPL. I don’t really know who does what for these space probes and landers.

  • Jason Lewis: NASA does very little. The work was accomplished at JPL by the Perseverance team and the subcontractors they hired.

    So, the long-winded self-congratulations by NASA’s acting head, NASA’s science head, NASA’s planetary program head, and even the head of JPL, were all a waste of airtime, and would have been considered totally inappropriate as recently as fifteen years ago.

    It would have been okay for one of these individuals to introduce the actual engineers and scientists running the Perseverance project, but the bulk of the air time should have been reserved to letting these people tell their story while filling us in on the engineering situation.

    Moreover, this was supposed to be a press conference. The new fad of letting the general public ask questions means that fewer questions can be asked by science journalists who specialize in this field and are more likely to know the right questions to ask. I’m not against the public having chance to ask questions, but it is a mistake and inappropriate to allow it during the first press conference right after landing.

    Then again, too many modern science journalists don’t know the right questions themselves, so maybe this doesn’t matter that much these days.

  • Alex Andrite

    ah .. crum … but what about my new crush Raquel V. ?

    So many seem to major in the minors …..
    We got there !
    Now explore.
    Perhaps a new type of Velcro will be on our hardware store shelves in the future due to this mission.

  • Steve Richter

    NY Times today says the rock samples will not return to earth until over 10 years from now.

    “… A later rover, from the European Space Agency, will retrace Perseverance’s path in order to pick up the tubes and transfer them to a small rocket that will blast off to space. The samples will then be transferred to another spacecraft in orbit around Mars for the trip back to Earth, sometime in the early 2030s. …”

  • Doubting Thomas

    Steve Richter – If we are very lucky, the samples will be picked up in 8 years by a space suited human who landed on Mars in a Starship variant.

  • eddie willers

    Holy cow– they all have those fake cotton/nylon “masks” on, and with plexiglass sneeze guards.
    Who, are they kidding?

    I prefered the Apollo days when they had ashtrays placed between them.

  • LocalFluff

    Bah, this stuff is easy! But. Not. Much.
    NASA has the ability to make routine out of extremely complicated and risky business. (And unfortunately vice versa in some cases…)

    @eddie willers
    And electric cigarette lighters in the control panels.

    @Doubting Thomas
    I’m not sure Elon Musk will land in Jazero Crater. And that NASA will appreciate him stealing their samples as they still try to make SLS launch for the first time. :-)

  • Jeff Wright

    Another bomb-disposal on Mars. “That’s nice, Dear.”

  • Jeff Wright

    Another bomb-disposal robot on Mars. “That’s nice, Dear.”

  • wayne

    Great new Scott Manley video, filled with factoids.
    At around the 5:45 mark— Table showing the expected number of landing images (roughly “28,470”) they expect from the engineering cameras, at 12, 30, and 75 fps.

    Perseverance Begins Life On Mars
    Scott Manley 2-20-21

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