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.

Sierra Nevada is planning additional glide tests in the fall. using its Dream Chaser engineering test vehicle.

The competition heats up: Sierra Nevada is planning additional glide tests in the fall. using its Dream Chaser engineering test vehicle.

This is the same test vehicle that crashed last October during its first glide test when one landing gear failed to deploy properly. The glide test itself was a success however, as the vehicle did a controlled unmanned glide perfectly to the runway, and the failed landing gear was one that the spacecraft will not use once completed.

Note also that these announced flight tests will occur after NASA eliminates one of the companies competing for the final crew ferrying contract to ISS. This suggests that Sierra Nevada plans to continue development of Dream Chaser, regardless of whether they get the contract or not.


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.


  • wodun

    “This suggests that Sierra Nevada plans to continue development of Dream Chaser, regardless of whether they get the contract or not.”

    Aren’t they working deals with ESA or individual European countries?

  • mpthompson

    If I recall correctly, there was a deal announced with Germany a few months back.

    I wonder what the chances are that Boeing is the odd man out in the commercial crew deal. I could see NASA wanting a winged vehicle for a number of reasons regardless of the technical merits for such a vehicle versus a capsule.

  • Kelly Starks

    To my knowledge, SNC has only made a deal with ESA to use their docking equipment. But there was some suggestion that it could allow the EU manned space access. Not sure if more manned access via someone elses ship.

  • Kelly Starks

    The 3 bidders are all going at various tactics.
    Boeing highest quality, highest cost, and a Orion like configuration. Boeing would be the safe choice, and choosing another Orion like configuration could suggest they are still convinced of the Orion configuration superiority. But if it looks to Orion like it could threaten support for Orion, and hence endanger the agencies future.

    Dream Chaser significantly cheaper, and offering a lifting body runway landing and gentler G-loads, while still having a blue ribbon set of organizations on the team, and good quality ship on the highest quality launcher. The fact they have continued with the project on their own money without significant NASA support shows commitment. Its a very different craft then Orion and could be said to compliment it – but might be said to imply Orion’s shape isn’t the only obvious choice. Also NASA did not choose them in the last funding selection. No way to know if they are more confident in them now.

    SpaceX is far lower cost (Dragon cost SpaceX only about twice the cost of Dream Chasers life support system??) and quality, inexperienced team, but lots of political and PR clout.

    As to which of these could get a win, if any, is a real open question.

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 *