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.

Russia responds to new U.S. sanctions by threatening U.S. astronauts on ISS.

Uh-oh: Russia responds to new U.S. sanctions by threatening U.S. astronauts on ISS.

Moscow reacted with fury to the inclusion in the sanctions of high-tech exports to Russia and threatened reprisals. “If their aim is to deliver a blow to Russia’s rocket-building sector, then by default, they would be exposing their astronauts on the ISS,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said, according to the Interfax news agency.

“Sanctions are always a boomerang which come back and painfully hit those who launched them,” added Rogozin on a visit to Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in March. [emphasis mine]

Was Rogozin actually hinting that Russia might strand U.S. astronauts on ISS?


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  • mpthompson

    I cannot see see the Russians stranding astronauts on ISS, but future seats on launches may be in jeopardy. The temptation to humiliate the US by denying it access to the ISS after we spending nearly $100 billiion on it must be nearly overwhelming.

    If the Russian threats escalate into actual actions, the response from the US will be very interesting. The Russians need to be careful not to overplay their hand here as I think development could be greatly accelerated if need be.

  • Competential

    Rather the Russians might launch an entirely non-american crew to the ISS and ditch those already there. Two astronauts landed in the Kazan desert by Russian descent vehicle, what a propaganda victory for those who care about space.

    I think it might be long term good for governmental investmets in space flight, that space once again becomes a political playground! Short term science and capability would suffer, but it might put news media focus back towards a space race. (Best case)

  • ivenho

    Perhaps it’s time to provide necessary resources to enable SpaceX to put its DragonRider spacecraft development on a fast track.

  • Chris L

    With an all Russian crew on board, Putin could just annex the ISS. If we aren’t willing to go to war over the Crimea, I doubt we’d consider it to defend a glorified bathroom 200 miles up.

  • Robert Clark

    Hopefully, Congress will finally get the message.

    Bob Clark

  • Tmcelroy

    Next step… Expedite builds by Spacex, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada to qualify men/ women for US spaceflight…Like NOW!!
    Or just pick one to funnel $ into!!
    My pick would be SPACEX.

  • Cotour

    Might have been a good idea to hold on to two of those space shuttles for a while. You know, just in case Mr. Obama threatened someone with the hollow, BS threats of an idealistic, fangless American Marxist and we might need to get to the SST.

    This president and HIS administration, as he is so fond of pointing out, fail on so many levels for me. He has not disappointed me in the least.

  • Kelly Starks

    The one problem with that is the Russians can’t keep it operating on their own. So unless they are going to make a show of exiting the ISS completely with promises to the Russians that they won’t let themselves be limited by the US. Given the hotly anti American propaganda of the last few years there, Putin may find doing that is harmless or even politically popular?

    I mean the Ukraine invasion has boosted his power, popularity, even upped domestic investment and stocks. So flipping off the US could be a plus. Hell, staying involved in the station could be a political cost rather then benefit to him.

  • Kelly Starks

    Falcon/Dragons to dangerous. I can’t see Congress taking the risk of further humiliation by losing a crew on Dragon. It would be a huge PR coup for Putin.

  • Kelly Starks

    Yeah. The Shuttles that would cost vastly less then Falcon/Dragon per flight under similar contracts, and is a huge PR plus coming and going to the station.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Too dangerous. Right. A vehicle with abort options at any point from engine ignition to orbit is more dangerous than the sainted Shuttles that had no viable abort options at all and proved it by killing two whole crews. Moved to Colorado recently to get you some of that wacky-terbacky?

  • Dick Eagleson

    There is no rational accounting system under which the Shuttle would have been more economical to operate than Falcon-Dragon. Every flight cost roughly twice what it took to develop Falcon-Dragon. Then, of course, there’s all that wonderful PR that comes from losing an entire crew every few years. Seriously, Dude, what are you smoking?

  • Kelly Starks

    Ah the Falcon/Dragon do NOT have “A vehicle with abort options at any point from engine ignition to orbit “.

    Ignoring that.

    Yes. Same way Airliners with ejection seats are safer then fighters with them.

    Shuttles have far lower failure and incident rates then about everything else ever launched. Everything ever launched with people.

  • Kelly Starks

    It doesn’t mater (other then being terrify given the implied shortcuts taken to do it) what it took to develop Falcon/Dragon. Its still costs NASA $440M for every Falcon Dragon flight (CBO number, GAO numbers, basic math). Given the margin cost for a shuttle flight is $50m a flight, a contract cutting the overhead cost (and margin costs really) by a factor of 4, Makes the shuttle flights much cheaper.

  • ken anthony

    The good news is we are about to have an embarrassment of riches in LEO spacecrafts.

  • Kelly Starks

    Wouldn’t be to sure of that. Over the last 20 years we keep seeming to about to have lots of new commercial launchers and manned craft from companies that go under or drop the projects.

    Serra Nevada says they will keep going with their Dream Chaser regardless of winning some NASA commercial crew business, but its a big chunk of change for what appears to be a very small market. Boeing flatly said it wouldn’t be worth their time without the NASA business. SpaceX is heavily dependent on gov underwriting and a lot of their political base may by voted out in half a year, and again – small market without NASA. (Also their quality shortcuts taken risk a nasty market confidence shaking accident.)

    Also 2 of the 3 commercial manned craft use the Atlas-V, a excellent booster.. but which uses the Russian engine.

    The EU may or may not proceed with a manned craft.

    Ariane and Orbital will likely keep in the unmanned business.


  • Edward

    > (Also their quality shortcuts taken risk a nasty market confidence shaking accident.)

    Quality shortcuts or no, the first fatal accident in *any* commercial spacecraft will result in a nasty shaking of the market’s confidence. And there *will* be accidents. It really depends upon how we deal with the first one or two. So far, the government has prematurely cancelled every US program that killed crews.

    The only spacecraft (plural), foreign or domestic, that did not kill a crew flew fewer than a dozen crews. All those that flew more killed a crew (not on the 13th time and sometimes before the 13th time, but eventually, and that is the point). It took a century of flight experience for the US to go a decade without a deadly accident on a major passenger airline. We cannot expect instant perfection from this new technology. We can only hope that the US will allow these programs to continue, even after they have proved that getting to space is still difficult and dangerous.

    Although I don’t expect the Russians to strand anyone on the ISS, this is starting to look more and more like the Arthur C. Clark story “2010” with a mixed-nation crew having to work together despite rising tensions at home.

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