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My February birthday fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black it now over. I sincerely and with deep gratitude thank all those who donated. Without your support I could not keep doing this, not so much because of the need for income to pay the bills, but because it tells me that there are people out there who want me to do this work. For those who did not contribute during the campaign, please consider adding your vote of support to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


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Remembering Apollo 17, fifty years after the last manned mission to the Moon

LRO oblique view of Apollo 17 landing site
Click for full image.

Link here.

The article comes from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) science team, and includes a number of LRO photos of the landing site, including the oblique annotated image to the right, reduced to post here. As the article notes:

The Apollo 17 crew was the last of an era in human space exploration and the last to set foot on the Moon. Fifty years later, the landing sites, hardware, and footsteps remain delicately preserved on the lunar surface. Join the LRO team as we commemorate their inspiring achievements with additional images, research, maps, interactive sites, and a dedicated video. LRO continues to image the Apollo sites whenever possible, under multiple lighting conditions, and combine these images into interactive sites, like the Apollo 17 Temporal Traverse. The Lunar QuickMap 3D tool can be used to preview the Apollo landing sites and search for LROC images of the areas. For downloadable maps of the Taurus-Littrow Valley, visit the Map Sheets section on our downloads page here. Finally, the Apollo 17 fiftieth anniversary video below presents highlights of the mission with landing site views reconstructed using LROC images and topography.

I have embedded that video below. It does a marvelous job summarizing this mission, which in many ways remains the most daring human exploration mission since Columbus dared cross an ocean in a tiny ship only slightly larger than many lifeboats.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


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.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Richard M

    It does a marvelous job summarizing this mission, which in many ways remains the most daring human exploration mission since Columbus dared cross an ocean in a tiny ship only slightly larger than many lifeboats.

    It is easy to objectively appreciate Apollo, in toto, as a Cold War PR stunt in purpose; and its programmatic nature as unwittingly leaving a deeply counterproductive legacy of what Rand Simberg calls a “cargo cult,” which has distorted and retarded human progress into space for five decades and counting.

    And yet, for all that, this video is another helpful reminder of a larger truth: That Apollo was, in so many ways, the greatest single technological and exploration achievement in human history, and that its final mission was (thanks to building on the achivement previous missions, and the presence of the first professional scientist on the crew), the most ambitious and scientifically successful of its nine forays to the Moon. None of it should have been possible; the technology of the day was leveraged to its absolute limits by a cadre of brilliant and tireless engineers, scientists, astronauts, and technicians who sacrificed the best years of their lives and even, in some cases, their marriages, to make this stupendous achievement possible, generations ahead of any realistic expectation. A thousand years from now, when we are all long since reduced to dust, and the passions of our age reduced to historical curiosity, it will deserve to be remembered and honored as such. And I think it will be.

  • Richard M: I don’t know why your comment went to moderation, but I have now approved it. No need however to double post. I had deleted the duplicate.

  • Richard M

    Thanks, Bob!

  • Star Bird

    Noteworthy that the only Apollo moon mission that did,nt make in was Apollo 13 Think about it if possible

  • Thank you for finding the LRO video. I’ve embedded into my own post on the mission, Apollo 17: “Le Voyage Dans La Lune”.

    Perhaps it’s because it’s the memories of a little boy who was too young to remember the other Apollo flights, but Apollo 17 has always been my favourite, mainly because by 1972 my home country of New Zealand finally had satellite TV and we could see the moonwalks live, plus its TV coverage being the best of all the missions. They are days that seemed magical.

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