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I am now running my annual July fund-raising campaign to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of the establishment of Behind the Black. For many reasons, mostly political but partly ethical, I do not use Google, Facebook, Twitter. These companies practice corrupt business policies, while targeting conservative websites for censoring, facts repeatedly confirmed by news stories and by my sense that Facebook has taken action to prevent my readers from recommending Behind the Black to their friends.


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Samples from space!

Scientists from both the Japanese Hayabusa-2 mission to the asteroid Ryugu and the Chinese Chang’e-5 mission to the Moon announced yesterday the total amount of material they successfully recovered.

The numbers appear to diminish the Japanese success, but that is a mistake. Getting anything back from a rubble-pile asteroid that had never been touched before and is much farther away from Earth than the Moon was a very great achievement. The 5.4 grams is also more than fifty times the minimum amount they had hoped for.

This is also not to diminish the Chinese achievement, They not only returned almost four pounds, some of that material also came from a core sample. They thus got material both from the surface and the interior of the Moon, no small feat from an unmanned robot craft.

Scientists from both nations will now begin studying their samples. Both have said that some samples will be made available to scientists from other countries, though in the case of China it will be tricky for any American scientist to partner with China in this research, since it is by federal law illegal for them to do so.

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.


  • Skunk Bucket

    While it may indeed be tricky for US scientists to partner with the Chinese in looking at these samples, all is not lost. At the rate SpaceX is going, we’ll have plenty of lunar material of our own to look at soon.

  • Max

    I hope none of the samples were from Andromeda… Ha

    Wayne, do we have a fire?

  • Jhon

    Am I reading this right: Less than .2 ozs? (Point 2 Ounces)
    They can call it a success, but I don’t. They did pick up a few specs, but all that money and all that time for .2 oz. (yes I know they did other things) I hope we did better with ours.
    and really, who know how much the chinese really got.

  • wayne

    The Andromeda Strain (1971)

  • I think both achievements are remarkable, with the Japanese effort perhaps more so. This is the very first material from an asteroid (or fragment), that didn’t already pass through the atmosphere. The mass of the Hayabus2 sample is a bit deceptive, as we don’t know the material density.

  • Jeff Wright

    With any luck, China and Japan might swap samples as part of an outreach.

  • James Street

    – Hayabusa2 returned with 5.4 grams of asteroid soil, far more than target
    – China’s Chang’e-5 retrieves 1,731 grams of moon samples

    I wonder if anyone at NASA has a feeling of horror in the pit of their stomach questioning what they’ve been doing with their billions of dollars over the last 50 years. Besides decades old space stations and Mars rovers. And Tang.

    Will it motivate change, or will they just punch in on Monday morning business as usual….

  • Jhon

    James Street, NASA has work for the next 20 years, getting sls off the ground. That project is the epitome of what is wrong with US government today.
    I hope their land and scoop project does not come back empey. If I remember correctly the lid would not close on the container and they could not test to see if anything was in there. Supposedly because they got too much. But I find it hard to believe that the engineers did not factor in filling too full. But we won’t know until 2023.

  • Alex Andrite

    Nice “grab” all around. I am amazed. Seriously.

    And what will it all enlighten us with ?

    Velcro ?

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