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.


The vast southern highlands of Mars

Small section of Rocky Highlands

Rocky highlands

Cool image time! This week the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) science team made available its monthly release of new images taken by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The image above is just a small cropped section from one of those new images, released under the name “Rocky Highlands.” The image on the right is a cropped and reduced section of the full photograph, with the white box indicating the small section above. If you click on either you can see the full resolution uncropped photograph and explore its complex and rough terrain.

What should immediately strike you looking at the small inset section above is the difficulty anyone is going to have traversing this country. There are no flat areas. Every inch seems to be a broken and shattered collection of ridges, pits, craters, or rippled dunes. And the inset above is only a tiny representation of the entire image, all of which shows the same kind of badlands.

This forbidding place is located in the southern highlands of Mars, north of Hellas Basin and south of the transition zone that drops down to the northern lowland plains. The white cross on the map below indicates the image location, with green representing the transition zone, blue the northern plains, and red/orange the southern highlands..

Overview map showing location

Previously I have highlighted the vastness of the endless northern plains, where some scientists believe an intermittent ocean might have once existed. This particular image gives us taste of the vastness of those southern highlands. Like the northern plains, much of this territory has not yet gotten a close look, with only scattered images so far taken by MRO’s high resolution camera. Like the northern plains we essentially don’t know a lot about what’s there.

Unlike the northern plains, the southern highlands are very rough, and will be a very difficult place to explore, as well illustrated by this particular MRO image. To get either robots or humans into each one of these endless crevasses will probably take centuries, though improved technology, including the use of Martian drones that will be able to fly in its thin atmosphere, could significantly quicken that exploration. Even so, the territory is gigantic, and much of it is as unfriendly as shown in this one little section.

Yet, future colonists are going to have to visit even these badlands, as they might have hidden in them resources unavailable elsewhere on Mars.

The future exploration of the solar system is going be exciting, but it is also going to be very challenging. In fact, it will be the most difficult thing humans will have ever attempted to do. Knowing this should not discourage us, but it should make us conscious of the challenge and the need to face the difficulty with as much realism and brains as possible. We mustn’t trivialize the challenge. Nor should be allow it to defeat us.

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