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.


Scientists propose mission to interstellar comet Borisov

In a paper published on the Cornell arXIiv site for preprint science papers, scientists have posted a paper proposing sending an unmanned probe to the newly discovered interstellar Comet Borisov, arriving in 2045.

You can download the paper here. [pdf]

Their analysis found that we just missed the ideal and most efficient launch date using the Falcon Heavy. If it had launched in July 2018 a two-ton spacecraft could have reached Comet Borisov by next month.

The best alternative option is a launch in January 2030, flying past Jupiter, then the Sun, and arriving in 2045. Because of the mission’s close approach to the Sun to gain speed, the mission would require the type of shielding developed for the Parker Solar Probe. If the Space Launch System was used for launch, a six-ton spacecraft could be sent. With other available rockets the largest possible payload would be 3 kilograms (about 6 pounds), making the probe a cubesat. As they note,

Despite this very low mass, a CubeSat-scale spacecraft could be sent to the interstellar object. Existing interplanetary CubeSats (Mars Cube One) show that there is no principle obstacle against using such a small spacecraft to deep space.

In fact, having a decade and a half before launch guarantees that a cubesat will be able to do this job, because by 2030 the technology for using smallsats for this kind of planetary mission should be fully developed.

Readers!
 

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.

6 comments

  • fred k

    Alas, the paper did not describe the needed time machine to allow the launch of a probe in july 2018, which is more than 1 year before the comet was discovered.

    A better written paper would have made it clear that launching to intersteller objects is quite difficult, partly due to their very high velocities and partly due to the fact that discovery and detection leaves little time to plan and fly a mission.

  • MDN

    This data cannot be correct. SLS is big, but the delta from 6 tons to 3Kg is to big to square imho. God help us if Richard Shelby gets this BS, as for sure he’ll use it as the justification to keep SLS alive for another decade with no other objective than to support this mission. All the better to milk as many pork dollars out as possible while not having to really do much.

  • Edward

    The abstract suggests to me a different proposal by Hibberd, Perakis, and Hein. Rather than proposing time travel, they lament that we didn’t know of this object early enough to prepare for a classical fly-by mission: “a Falcon Heavy launcher could have hauled a 2 ton spacecraft …” and at a travel time of 1-1/4 year. Rather than proposing using an expensive SLS for a virtually useless mission, they explain how difficult it is to reach interstellar objects: “using the Space Launch System, up-scaled Parker probe heatshield technology, and solid propulsion engines[, a] CubeSat-class spacecraft with a mass of 3 kg” is all that could be used to study the object, and that would need a 15 year travel time and two Oberth maneuvers.

    This paper seems to propose that we do better searches in order to find interstellar objects earlier in their arrivals into our solar system and that we be prepared to intercept them at the most optimal times. As stated in the conclusion: “its discovery roughly two years after the discovery of 1I/’Oumuamua increases the likelihood that the next interstellar object might be discovered in the near future. The feasibility of a mission to both, 1I/’Oumuamua and C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) using existing technologies indicates that missions to further interstellar objects are likely to be feasible as well.

    This was a feasibility study rather than an actual proposal. The conclusion is that it is feasible to send probes to interstellar objects, but only if we are prepared in time and find them soon enough.

  • pzatchok

    This is only one short proposal. only one idea for an intercept.

    I do not see any reason why SpaceX’s Starship couldn’t be used to stack several max payload boosters and have a ton for a final payload interceptor.

    And it could be done with in a year of the Starships first launch. Then launched when the optimum planets alignments are reached. And still get there before 2045.

  • fred k

    Ed said:

    > This was a feasibility study rather than an actual proposal. The conclusion is that it is feasible to send probes to interstellar objects, but only if we are prepared in time and find them soon enough.

    Alas, this makes sense.

    This is what should have been written in the paper, along with a discussion about other techniques that might make for a more responsive space probe launch.

  • Edward

    pzatchok noted: “I do not see any reason why SpaceX’s Starship couldn’t be used to stack several max payload boosters and have a ton for a final payload interceptor.

    That may be a good catch. Because the paper specified that it was a study using “existing technologies,” I assumed that the authors focused on existing hardware, such as SLS and the Falcons. However, there are no existing spacecraft for studying an interstellar object, so It may be completely fair to include rockets that are under development for potential missions.

    It seems to me that a Starship with low Earth orbit refueling capability should be capable of taking a multi-tonne spacecraft for a C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), flyby by 2045, or a lighter spacecraft for an orbital insertion.

    fred k added: “… along with a discussion about other techniques that might make for a more responsive space probe launch.

    This paper does seem limited in imagination. Perhaps the authors intended only to generate discussion, such as pzatchok’s and fred k’s ideas. It seems to have worked, at least here on Behind the Black.

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 *