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.

Sinkholes on Mars

Caver alert! Releases this week from both the Mars Express orbiter and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show a variety of sinkholes and collapse features on Mars, which in turn suggest the possibility of underground passages.

First, there is this picture from Mars Express, showing the area called Phoenicis Lacus (Latin for Phoenix Lake).

Phoenicis Lacus

The large and long canyon in box 1 is actually a collapse feature, almost two miles deep and formed as this region was stretched, warped, and cracked by the powerful volcanic activity of the nearby giant volcanoes of the Tharsis plateau, including Olympus Mons, the solar system’s largest volcano. You can also see how this activity causes several sinkholes and craters in all three boxes to become elongated and distorted.

In places where the surface is deformed in this way on Earth, you often find tectonic caves, underground cracks produced as the ground is pulled apart. The large collapse feature suggests the possibility that there are voids below it.

Then there is this subimage from this release of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, showing the central peak and southern slope of an old crater in the Terra Sirenum region of the Martian southern hemisphere.

central crater peak

Down that south slope can be seen what look like fluvial-like flows. In the center of these flows as well as near the top of the peak are what appear to be a string of collapse features. Below is the close-up as indicated by the box above:

inset closeup of sinkholes

From the caption: “It is possible that these pits are evidence of subsurface piping or hydrothermal activity. Piping occurs when subsurface water flows through soil, takes some soil with it, and causes the overlying ground to collapse. These fluvial-like features and the connected pits may have formed during a late stage of crater formation when temperatures were suitable for liquid water.”

On Earth, this is one of the geological processes that forms sinkholes on the surface as well as caves underground. When cavers go out to look or dig for new caves, we often head for just this kind of string of sinkholes, as they are excellent evidence that an unentered cave lies hidden below, ripe for exploration.


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