Scroll down to read this post.


My July fund-raising campaign, celebrating the 13th anniversary of the start of this website, has now ended. This was the second most successful monthly fund-raising campaign ever. Thank you again to everyone who has who donated or subscribed. It is difficult to explain what your support means to me.


You can still donate or subscribe to support my work if you wish, either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are four ways of doing so:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

3. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Winter finally ends for Ingenuity

According to a detailed update today by Travis Brown, Chief Engineer of the Mars helicopter Ingenuity, the helicopter has now finally exited its difficult winter conditions that began in May 2022 and only ended at the end of January 2023.

One month to the day after the Dec. 24 flight attempt, Ingenuity did something it hadn’t done during the previous 260 sols – it slept “warmly” through the entire night. Data leading up to this event had suggested that such a survival was possible, but 8 long months of winter had tempered the team’s optimism. When Ingenuity’s team reviewed the downlinked data, they found that not only had it started living through the night, but had actually begun to bank power in its batteries. We’ve now seen end-of-sol states of charge in our batteries of more than 90% — an unbelievable number just days earlier. All the above means our sleepy friend has finally awoken from its long winter malaise, just in time to race up the Jezero Crater Delta and provide valuable advanced imaging for Perseverance.

Brown describes in detail their struggle for the past eight months to keep Ingenuity alive. That information is going to be crucial in designing future Mars helicopters, including the ones that will return to Jezero Crater sometime in the next decade to grab the core samples Perseverance has deposited for pick up and return to Earth.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

One comment

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 *