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 clue to the Martian history of volcanic eruptions

Dark layers in Medusae Fossae Formation
Click for full image.

Anyone who has taken even a single glance at a map of Mars cannot help but recognize that the red planet was once engulfed with repeated gigantic volcanic eruptions able to build numerous volcanoes larger than anything seen anywhere else in the solar system.

The cool image to the right, rotated, cropped, and enlarged to post here, provides a clue into those past eruptions, now thought to have been active for more than several billion years, with the most recent large activity ending several tens of millions of years ago. The photo was taken on May 7, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and shows just one tiny portion of the vast Medusae Fossae Formation, the largest thick volcanic ash deposit on Mars, about the size of India and what scientists think is the source of most of the planet’s dust.

What makes this picture interesting are the dark layers in the lower hollows. They indicate that this deposit was placed down in multiple eruptions, some of which produced material that appears dark blue in MRO images, and suggest that eruption was different than previous and subsequent eruptions.

The white cross on the overview map below notes the location of this picture in the Medusae Fossae Formation.

Overview map

On MRO images, red sugguts dust, while dark blue suggests coarse material, either large-grained sand or rocks. Thus, this dark layer suggests the eruption produced larger material, requiring a more powerful blast to fling that material into the sky.

The larger particles in the lower layers could also mean that over time, the pressure from overlying layers has squeezed this layer’s volcanic dust into larger particles. That the squeezing is so specific to this layer still suggests that the eruptions that produced it were different.

That’s about all I, an amateur scientist, can glean from this image. I suspect the professionals can glean more, but I also suspect they will be making their own guesses, though based on far greater knowledge.

Either way, the image illustrates that the era of volcanism on Mars was long and vast. It is difficult to imagine what the planet was like when these volcanoes were active. It certainly wasn’t the relatively quiet place we see today.


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  • Joe Shlabotnick

    But are the schools there good?

  • Appreciate the information. Mars is a wonderful place! For a geologist; volcanoes and glaciers and ice, oh my! Botanists and the like may not be so enthralled. It does seem like Mars has a higher percentage of volcanic terraforming than, say, Earth. And I live in the American West: nothing but volcanic activity, here. Just curious why Mars seems to have a planetary thyroid condition.

  • wayne

    “The Glacier growing inside Mount St. Helens’ Crater”

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