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.

Watching the splashdown of the first manned Dragon capsule

Capitalism in space: NASA yesterday released its broadcast schedule for watching the undocking from ISS and the splashdown of SpaceX’s first manned Dragon capsule, carrying two American astronauts.

The schedule includes preliminary press conferences, the undocking, the splashdown, and the post-recovery press conference, all centered around the planned August 2nd return.


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  • Brent

    What a great site, I visit at least once a day.

    I do have a minor quibble, though…Dragon is a *spacecraft* and not a *capsule*. A primitive one, to be sure, but it’s a step, and I’d hate to see the misnomer get permanently attached to its undoubtedly more capable successors.

    Again, this is a truly outstanding site, thanks for all the hard work.

  • Brent: Sorry, but it is a capsule, similar in concept to Mercury, Soyuz, Gemini, and Apollo.

    You will note that I will never call Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser mini-shuttles a capsule. Nor the X-37B. Nor Starship. There is a difference and it is profound.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Is there a hardened definition of “Spacecraft” or Space Vessel”?

    I would think a capsule would fall into a sub category.

    This is all semantics I would think.

  • Edward

    Traditionally, the portion of the spacecraft that comes free of the rest of the spacecraft in order to make a safe reentry is called a capsule. Sometimes they are manned, sometimes they return samples. On the Corona spacecraft they returned film.

    space cap·sule | ˈspās ˌkapsəl, ˈspās ˌkaps(y)o͝ol |
    a small spacecraft or the part of a larger one that contains the instruments or crew.

    See also:
    5. Also called space capsule. Aerospace. a sealed cabin, container, or vehicle in which a person or animal can ride in flight in space or at very high altitudes within the earth’s atmosphere.

    For Dragon, the spacecraft includes the manned portion as well as the Trunk portion, which burns up during reentry. However, SpaceX calls the return capsule a spacecraft:

    The Dragon spacecraft is equipped with two drogue parachutes to stabilize the spacecraft following reentry and four main parachutes to further decelerate the spacecraft prior to landing.

    Common features of space capsules are that they make their final descent on parachutes after a ballistic reentry and have little or no control over their final landing location. Would Robert have called Crew Dragon a capsule or a spacecraft had NASA supported the company’s plan for a powered landing, without parachutes, to a specific landing pad?

    The Dream Chaser, the Shuttle Orbiter, (the future) Starliner, and the X-37 have controlled reentry, descent, and landing to specific locations, such as a runway or pad. It is clear that this type of reentry spacecraft is preferred over the capsule type.

    Many national space agencies and commercial companies chose to start their manned space programs using capsules, as they are relatively easy and quick to implement. Sierra Nevada chose to begin with a reusable lifting-body spacecraft that lands on a runway. Good for them, but that choice may have lost them a position on phase 1 of the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) flights. Dream Chaser was selected for phase 2 of CRS. Good for NASA.

  • pzatchok

    If its just a can then its a capsule.

    If its more, then its anything else you want to call it. Ship, vessel, craft or plane.

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