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 collapsing north wall in Valles Marineris

Mass wasting in Valles Marineris
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on July 17, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows what the scientists label as an alluvial fan.

I have also seen them label this kind of avalanche as mass wasting, where the material moves down slope suddenly in a single mass.

The image shows the aftermath of such an event, after a large blob of material broke free from the mountainside and slid almost as a unit downhill to settle more than two miles away on the floor of the canyon. The distance traveled and the blobby nature of the flow both reveal how the lower Martian gravity changes the nature of such events, compared to what you might see on Earth. The flows can travel farther, and can hold together as a unit easier.

The overview map below not only provides the context, but it tells us that such events are remarkably common in this place.

Overview map

The white cross marks the location of this landslide, in the easternmost point of Ganges Chasma. The red boxes indicate other photos taken by MRO’s high resolution camera. If you go here you can take a gander at each by clicking the arrow button in the top menu and then clicking on each red box.

If you do this, what you will find is that along the north wall of Ganges Chasma, especially in the area where today’s cool image is located, there are many similar mass wasting events. This canyon wall is slowly growing, as its north cliff retreats backwards with each landslide.

The decaying nature of this cliff suggests that the material has some fundamental structural weakness. The blobby nature of the events suggest the possibility of underground layers of ice, even though this is in the dry equatorial regions at 8 degrees south latitude. It could even be that the scientists who are requesting these images are looking for exactly that. To identify such ice layers will require analysis of the full resolution images, which are in a different format and require different software to view, as well as the radar data taken by both MRO and Mars Express.


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  • Phill O

    It seems to me that if it is from melting ice, seismic activity might not be required. If not, these events happen by Mars quacks.

  • Greg the Geologist

    Reminds me of some large earthly slides, likely Pleistocene, where a chunk of mountainside (probably saturated and possibly seismically induced) collapsed onto the adjacent alluvial apron. The one I’m most familiar with is the Blackhawk Landslide, on the north slopes of the San Bernardino Mountains in California. A LIDAR image would have similar features to this image. By the way, I’d love to hear a “Mars quack”!

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