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.

Russians certify Dragon for flying its astronauts

Capitalism in space: The head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, said yesterday that they have finally approved the use of SpaceX’s Dragon capsules to launch their astronauts to ISS.

Crew Dragon spaceships of Elon Musk’s SpaceX company have gained substantial experience for Russian cosmonauts to travel aboard them as part of cross flights, Head of Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin said on Monday. “From our viewpoint, SpaceX has gained sufficient experience for representatives of our crews to make flights aboard its spacecraft,” the Roscosmos chief told reporters at the 72nd international astronautical congress.

Russia will now begin barter negotiations for the future flights, whereby for each Russian that flies on Dragon an American will get a free flight on Soyuz.


I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.

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 not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. 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

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.


  • Mark

    With this barter deal, we see again that the U.S. and Russia are both comfortable dealing with each other as ‘Frenemies’. Once ISS goes away, and since Russia won’t join the Artemis Accords, is this the end of our positive real life interactions with Russians in the realm of Space?

    That would be a shame, and it makes me think of the book 2010 by Arthur C. Clarke.
    In that book Americans & Russians worked together on a mission to salvage the spaceship Discovery and investigate the mysterious “monolith”.

    Well, if in the near future, Space Cooperation is not meant to be, then we should at least say to our Russian Space ‘comrades’ – “So Long and thanks for 120+ RD-180 Rocket Engines.”.

  • Concerned

    Have seen plenty of grandiose plans, but little in the way of space innovation since Korolev departed from Earth. We’re starting to see small countries and private companies eclipse the Russians in space achievement.

  • Mark

    Concerned: I agree with that.
    RosCosmos is not innovative and totally Over-centralized, and Russian Space efforts will continue to fall behind.

    I bet Putin everyday is briefed on the Russian Oil & Gas giant Rosneft.
    In contrast, Roscosmos is most likely far down on his list of priorities, and it made sense to me that Putin recently cut 16% from the RosCosmos budget.

  • Patrick Underwood

    The US, historically, has given the Soviet Union, er I mean Russia, just about everything they ever wanted, without requiring a quid pro quo. Same thing will happen here. Russia will demand payment for astronauts flying on Soyuz. The US will oblige. The US will give Russia free flights on Dragon. Russia will accept that arrangement, while complaining that it is unfair, inadequate, or… whatever. That’s the way it’s always worked.

    Book recommendation: Stalin’s War by Sean McMeekin. Sad!! :)

  • Edward

    Concerned wrote: “Have seen plenty of grandiose plans, but little in the way of space innovation since Korolev departed from Earth. We’re starting to see small countries and private companies eclipse the Russians in space achievement.

    I agree with the second part, but I think that we had plenty of innovation until the Space Shuttle, which was the last truly innovative spacecraft system until Blue Origin and SpaceX created the tail-landing reusable booster.

    I consider the geostationary satellite innovative, despite the concept being two decades old before it was first employed. Several innovations were required to put man on the Moon, such as rendezvous and docking (there is plenty of counterintuitive and non-obvious things that must be done to accomplish both of these); guidance, navigation, and control between orbits, orbital planes, and planets; multiple use engines that relight several times; and space suits that allow people to work outside the spacecraft and on the lunar surface. Space stations were innovative, even though they, too, were imagined decades earlier, but were not the rotating version that Disney and Von Braun imagined. Finally, the reusable spacecraft, the Space Shuttle, was innovative, but it was more expensive to operate, launched less often, and was only capable of shorter missions than expected. Congress and NASA should have improved upon this concept rather than regress to Apollo-Saturn style vehicles.

    Making multi-module space stations did not seem as innovative.

    Other modern innovations by private companies include the dramatic reduction in launch costs, especially a ten-fold reduction for small (500 Kg) satellites. Starship looks to be on track to not only beat the originally-intended launch price of the Space Shuttle, but it seems to be able to beat the launch rate, too. The intended mission time for Starship is also several times greater than the Space Shuttle’s original one-month mission time. Modern innovations are improving upon four-decade-old capabilities and technologies.

  • Jeff Wright

    “Korolev! Korolev! And what was Korolev? A thin metallic pipe….. In it, I placed my engines-Barmin, his instruments….and it flew…”

    -Valentin Petrovich Glushko

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 *