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.

A butte on Mars

A butte on Mars
Click for full photograph.

Cool image time! Because the Martian geology inside the enclosed stone valley beyond Maria Gordon notch is so complex and exposed, the Curiosity science team is spending a lot of time there. As noted in their January 7th update:

[W]e are marvelling at the landscape in front of us, which is very diverse, both in the rover workspace and in the walls around us. It’s a feast for our stratigraphers (those who research the succession in which rocks were deposited and deduce the geologic history of the area from this). We are all looking forward to the story they will piece together when they’ve had a bit of time to think!

The image to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, was taken by the rover’s high resolution camera on December 18th, soon after it entered this stone valley and was part of scan covering both this butte as well as a nearby cliff. I had previously featured a close-up of the top of this butte and its incredible overhang on December 20, 2021. This image however shows the whole butte, which I estimate to be about 30 to 40 feet high.

Not only does the butte illustrate well the alien nature of this stark and barren Martian terrain, so does all the terrain surrounding it. The surface everywhere is nothing but pavement stones of all sizes. Once again, there is no life, something you practically never see on Earth.


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  • Lee Stevenson

    It’s obvious an ancient sphinx!! ( Call that ‘face on Mars” guy and ask him!
    But seriously, you are wonderfully correct Bob, Mars is alien, and thus, so is it’s geology. Usual earth rules do not apply.
    How as a (very) amateur geologist I would love to go and have a run of my fingers and hammer thru those bedding layers, are there inclusions? Difference in grain sizes? Are they annual, every 11 years, or random? Volcanic, atmospheric or influenced by water? This stuff inspires me!
    And Bob, I understand how you must be yearning to get your ropes, crampons and helmet lamps out and get your ass down one of those deep pits that you highlight from time to time…. What do caves look like at 1/3rd gravity? And what could live down there?
    Excuse me babbling… Currently double vaccinated, and enjoying a bought of the latest wutang flu. A bit feverish, and good cold-like symptoms. I doubt if I will die tho… I also doubt I will bother with the booster.

  • sippin_bourbon

    She’s a real butte!

  • Andi

    “ No, it’s a mount! “
    – – – Firesign Theatre

  • Curious how the formation starts to lean in the first place. Or formed like that? Perhaps a softer core (ice?) surrounded by rock/dust, that slumps after formation? How formed in the first place? A lot going on here. We will not know until someone inspects it.

  • Andrew R

    If it were on Earth, I’d say it looks like it’s barely holding together. But at 0.38 g who knows how long it will last.
    It makes me wonder what kind of wonders we’ll find when cameras on rovers, helicopters or carried by humans finally get down in Valles Marineris.

  • pawn

    If you look at the full picture you can see it’s looks like it’s been disassembling for a while. Just visualize those rocks falling and rolling in slow motion with no air to hold dust.

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