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.

Tianwen-1 to arrive in Mars orbit February 10

The new colonial movement: China’s space agency, CNSA, today announced that its first Mars orbiter/lander/rover, Tianwen-1, will arrive in Mars orbit on February 10th, with the lander/rover dropping to the surface in May.

After entering orbit, Tianwen-1 will begin to prepare for a landing attempt of the mission’s rover. The orbiter will begin imaging the main candidate landing site within the huge impact basin Utopia Planitia, to the south of NASA’s Viking 2 landing site.

Getting ready for the attempt will take time however, with CNSA stating that the landing won’t take place until May.

At the moment they say that all systems are working as planned, and that they have one more course correction, the fourth, to do before entering orbit.


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. 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 keep this site free from advertisements and do not participate in corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. 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


  • Ray Van Dune

    I’ll give them credit for a gutsy move, to try to enter The Hall of the Mountain King, the surface of Mars. Reigning King: USA.

    Ps. Yes, I know the story, but the soundscape is fun.

  • David Eastman

    Mars is a hard target, as evidenced by the many failures and the jokes about the “Martian anti-lander defenses.” If China succeeds on their first attempt, and with a pretty hefty rover at that, it will be an impressive feat. But they get the advantage of standing on the shoulders of all the attempts before.

  • Ray Van Dune wrote: “I’ll give them credit for a gutsy move, to try to enter The Hall of the Mountain King, the surface of Mars.”

    It is an audacious move, and from a species perspective, if not particularly a national one, a good thing. I do wish them every success.

    You got me thinking about the reigning planetary ‘champions’, as far as successful planetary missions, and I considered:

    Mercury: USA

    Venus: USSR (but really, Russia).

    Mars: USA

    Asteroids: Kind of want to give this to Japan.

    Jupiter: USA

    Saturn: USA

    Uranus: USA

    Neptune: USA

    Pluto: USA

    Comets: Europe, probably.

    Kuiper Belt: USA

    Interstellar space: USA

  • janyuary

    Toshiru Mifune and Lee Marvin in “Hell on the Pacific” come to mind.

    These are such early days in this outward expansion. It’s wide open. One thing is sure: the ones who get there first will be the ones who have the most to gain, be it the rewards of free enterprise or liberty.

    People held hostage by their government will copy the work of others for their government (China, etc.). That government may expand its territory, but human individuals are a different equation. History has examples of where superior technology has been taken down by men with inferior tools but better motivation and therefore better creativity and willingness to risk more to achieve victory.

  • Ray Van Dune

    AFAIK, all the heavy rover / landers have had to target low altitude sites on Mars, due to the very thin atmosphere not providing good braking for chutes, etc.. I wonder who will be the first to land at the top of Olympus Mons?!

    Elon: Hold my beer…

  • James Street

    Probably more under the category of “Capitalism in Space”…

    “The Economist Refers to Chinese Businessman Disappearance As “Regulation” and “Boosting Competition.”

    Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s absence from public view in the past two months….

    China’s highest-profile entrepreneur has not appeared in a public setting since a late October forum in Shanghai where he blasted China’s regulatory system in a speech that put him on a collision course with officials, resulting in the suspension of a $37 billion IPO of Alibaba’s Ant Group fintech arm.”

    “Ex-chairman of China Huarong Asset Management sentenced to death

    BEIJING (Reuters) -The former chairman of China Huarong Asset Management Co has been sentenced to death, a court in the northern city of Tianjin said on Tuesday, in one of the country’s highest profile corruption cases.

    Lai Xiaomin was convicted of receiving or seeking bribes totalling 1.788 billion yuan ($276.72 million) from 2008 to 2018….

    “Lai Xiaomin was lawless and extremely greedy,” the court statement said.”

  • Lee Stevenson

    If they nail it…… Yay!!! Another data point received from our neighbor
    Edward “they were lucky”
    If they fail.,….. Ooooo”
    Edward “They got lucky…….,………. Again”

  • When you steal technology from everyone doing hard things get a little easier.

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson,
    I didn’t understand your question.

  • wayne

    (w/ ICBM launch animation)

  • pzatchok

    Ray Van Dune

    I like that
    “here hold my beer”

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 *