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.

Trump administration asks Senate to remove SLS requirement for Europa Clipper

The Trump administration has requested the Senate to change the language in its NASA spending bill to remove its requirement that Europa Clipper be launched on SLS.

NASA wants the option to launch the Europa probe using commercial rockets, such as SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. It also says that there are technical reasons that make using SLS problematic, and worse, the agency simply does not have enough SLS rockets to fly its planned (but unfunded) manned Artemis missions and also launch Europa Clipper.

The House has already removed that requirement in its version of the bill. The Senate has not, probably because the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), is a big fan of SLS (much of it built in his state), and has acted for years to pump money into that project.

If the requirement is not removed, Europa Clipper’s launch will likely be delayed by several years, and cost $1.5 billion more.


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  • pzatchok

    This idea will also soon pass.

    One can not live without the other.

  • Edward

    From the article:

    The letter also noted the “under-funding” of NASA’s low Earth orbit (LEO) commercialization efforts, which received only $15 million in the Senate bill versus the $150 million in the agency’s request. That reduced funding, the letter warned, “risks leaving the Nation without a presence in LEO when the International Space Station is eventually retired.”

    That is a scary thought. For a leader in space, this country’s leaders sure aren’t enthusiastic about it. This would make it the third time that our manned presence in space was either non-existent or depended upon others. Between Skylab and the Space Shuttle, we did nothing except a political rendezvous with our rival country, the Apollo-Soyuz “experiment.” From 2011 to this year, we were entirely dependent upon the same rivals for transport to the ISS, which we supposedly lead. Now we soon may not have any space station at all.

    For the past decade, or so, we had expected Bigelow to start a business with their expandable space habitats, but there is serious concern that they will not restart their aerospace business after the Wuhan Flu/Plague Scare From Hell is over. Axiom and Ixion are working on their own versions of space habitats, but they are the ones depending upon NASA’s underfunded commercialization budget to get this done in the 2020s, hopefully before ISS is decommissioned, otherwise we would be left in the blind.

    It looks like Sierra Nevada wants to get into the space habitat business, too.
    From the Dream Chaser article, above:

    Janet Kavandi, the company’s new executive vice president for space systems, showed an illustration of a space station incorporating inflatable modules the company has been developing as part of NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships program.

    This is a bit exciting. Now that there are doubts as to whether Bigelow will come back, there seems to be another company preparing to take over this product. How quickly they can do it is a good question.

    I don’t think that SpaceX is the be-all end-all for space exploration (despite its official name), but I do think it will be an important part for the next couple of decades, or so. I expect SpaceX to adapt a version of its manned Starship into a space station. SpaceX will be eager to verify that Starship is capable of long duration missions, and a space station is an excellent way to do this. This would also give a destination, other than the ISS, to Dragon, Starliner, Starship, and other commercial manned spacecraft, such as the crewed version of Dream Chaser. An interesting side effect to using Starship as a space station is its ability for reentry back to Earth in order to perform overhauls.

    I think SpaceX would support other commercial manned space companies to use its space station. Dragon is a short-term objective that helps them with their long term goal of reaching Mars. Starliner and a crewed Dream Chaser are not really the competition for SpaceX’s long-term goal. Having more people on their space station could only help them develop the methods and hardware that they will need for their longer duration Mars missions.

    Those NASA plans foresee a gradual transition by the agency from the ISS to commercial platforms. Lindsey said he expected the ISS to operate to 2028 or 2030, by which time commercial successors like that proposed by SNC will be in place to handle research activities currently done on the ISS.

    The timing of those successors depends upon the funding from Congress. I don’t think that SpaceX wants to be part of a long-term LEO space station solution, but Sierra Nevada wants to join Axiom and Ixion as commercial space station providers.

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