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.

Update on SLS: launch prep continues, launch in 2021 remains doubtful

Link here. The key milestone recently achieved was powering up the core stage with all stages stacked.

The initial power up was a significant milestone in pre-launch processing, marking the beginning of the systematic checkouts of the vehicle and ground systems that will be used for the first launch on Artemis 1.

It continues to appear that NASA and its SLS contractors are striving hard to avoid another delay and get the rocket off on its first unmanned test flight in the November/December timeframe that has been penciled in for the last two years. However, as noted in the article, meeting that deadline will be difficult, and the launch date is still likely to slip into early ’22.

The complexity of the tasks needed to get SLS ready becomes obvious if you read the article. This remains a very cumbersome and difficult rocket to launch. Though the prep this time is greater because it is the first time they are doing it, the assembly for later launches will not be much simpler. At best NASA hopes to trim the prep time from one year to six months.

Compare that with SpaceX’s goals on Starship/Superheavy. It is clear the company is aiming for the ability to prep the rocket and get it to the launchpad in mere days, not months, and by all measures it seems to be achieving that goal.

Even if one ignores the gigantic development cost difference ($50+ billion for SLS, $6 billion for Starship/Superheavy), the difference in getting the two rockets to the launchpad makes SLS the clear loser. How can NASA possibly expect to settle the solar system with a rocket that at best can only launch twice a year?


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  • “How can NASA possibly expect to settle the solar system with a rocket that at best can only launch twice a year?”

    Well… they *don’t*. That’s not what NASA is for, anymore.

  • Concerned

    NASA needs to be rolled back to NACA. Research only—that administration part is way out of control.

  • Jeff Wright

    I don’t agree. They are doing Apollo on less than Apollo funding. SLS and SH are both neck and neck…topless :-)

    There is one difference:
    Here the stages are stacked to go —not for show…and now we have a heartbeat.

  • Gary


    What’s the basis for “doing Apollo for less than Apollo funding?”

  • pawn

    Zombie Saturn5 staggers down the crawlerway to Pad B.

  • Edward

    Jeff Wright wrote: “They are doing Apollo on less than Apollo funding.

    Considering that tens of billions of dollars worth of the infrastructure being used was built and paid for by Apollo, we had better hope that it is for less than Apollo funding!

    Shouldn’t we expect them to move beyond Apollo? NASA is an amazing research and development organization, but Congress stifles them into the mediocre, or in this case: the ancient. NASA should have been directed to improve on the Space Shuttle, to make access to space inexpensive, reliable, and frequent. Instead, the commercial space industry is now doing that. Congress is turning NASA into an otiose organization.

    How many at NASA are there to be on the cutting edge of technology, only to find themselves recreating a half-century-old rocket that does not launch nearly as often, thus is less useful. Congress is squandering these people’s talents, skills, and knowledge.

  • pawn

    Don’t worry about the NASA folks, they can go get a job in the private sector if they want if they are any good (it makes a difference in the private sector) but most of them are very happy where they are right now. I was talking to a woman-friend NASA engineer a few years back who had just gotten her MS/PhD (from Stanford with a per diem) through a NASA program when I mentioned I was leaving the Center (again) because I was bored. She said that there was no way she would ever leave NASA for a real job. We both laughed.

  • Jeff Wright

    Hydrogen tech is hardly obsolete…contrary to the meth/olox-heads. Remember, you need hydrogen just to make Mars methane. To Gary’s question…there was a Space Review article I remember a year or two ago with the numbers. I think the second lander is a godsend to Musk. NASA has the people come down in the small lander…and a mega-rover in his. The heat is off. The small lander fails? That’s on old space. Starship crashes? No lives lost. In place of the rover….put all but the most interesting rocks. Now the astronauts have options. Likely, they come back in Orion…followed by a Starship with rocks…not meat. Again….no pressure…everybody wins.

  • She said that there was no way she would ever leave NASA for a real job. We both laughed.

    Pawn, the immortal words of Dr. Raymond Stantz come to mind …

    Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn’t have to produce anything! You’ve never been out of college! You don’t know what it’s like out there! I’ve WORKED in the private sector. They expect results!

    And when one’s work is tested against objective reality on a near-daily basis under that expectation, with consequences imposed on the basis of those results in a timely manner, one is less susceptible to fooling themselves, and continuing in fallacies like the Climate Change Cult and the Big Space approaches to program management.

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