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.

The big cliffs of Gediz Vallis on Mars

The Big Cliffs of Mt Sharp
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, was taken on May 21, 2021 by Curiosity’s chemistry camera (ChemCam), normally designed to look at high resolution close-up imagery of nearby objects.

However, it can also be used as what the science team call “a long distance spyglass.” The image to the right is an example, looking at what I think are the distant but steadily approaching big cliffs on the western wall of the canyon Gediz Vallis. Make sure you look close at the shadowed cliff-face, probably several hundred feet high. It is filled with huge rock faces reminiscent of the most stark rock cliffs on the mountains of Earth.

The two images below provide the context, which makes the image even more quite breath-taking.

The mountains as seen by Curiosity's right navigation camera
Click for full image.

Overview map
Click to see original map.

The first photo to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, was taken by Curiosity’s right navigation camera of these mountains. I think the close-up above is of one of the two nooks indicated by the white arrows. The canyon cutting into the mountain is dubbed Gediz Vallis. Curiosity will eventually be inside this canyon, though to get there the present plan is to circle around the backside of the mountains on the right.

The map shows Curiosity’s position as of about a week ago, with the white lines indicating the approximate view seen in the navigation camera’s image.

As Scott Guzewich, Atmospheric Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, noted in today’s update on the rover’s blog,

We’re always looking ahead to our future activities and this plan is no exception as we’ll continue using ChemCam as a long distance spyglass for imaging the sulfate-rich geological unit (a portion of which is seen in this image) uphill from our current location.

Because the rover will not actually drive straight into Gediz Vallis, according to its presently planned route, it will never be directly below the cliff seen above. Thus, they are beginning to get good images of it now, and will continue to do so until the rover swings around the north end of this ridge to come into the valley from the west and to the south of this cliff. At that point they might be able to view it again, but it will be from a sharp angle that will make it hard to see all details.


My July fund-raising campaign for 2021 has now ended. Thank you all for your donations and subscriptions. While this year’s campaign was not as spectacular as last year’s, it was the second best July campaign since I began this website.

And if you have not yet donated or subscribed, and you think what I write here is worth your support, you can still do so. I depend on this support to remain independent and free to write what I believe, without any pressure from others. Nor do I accept advertisements, or use oppressive social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.

If you choose to help, you can contribute 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


  • eddie willers

    For those familiar with Mount Everest, the top picture reminds me of the famous “Second Step” on the North face. Maybe the Chinese will put a ladder up there.

  • It took me a moment to realize that I wasn’t looking at Mars from orbit, but from ground level. A Very Cool Image.

  • Star Bird

    A deep deep Canyon watch your step beware of Instant Martians

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 *