Scroll down to read this post.


Without the support of my readers I could not keep doing this, not so much because of the need for income to pay the bills, but because it tells me that there are people out there who want me to do this work. If you wish to add your vote of support to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, you can do so in any one of the following ways:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

3. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

A Martian crater with a surface pattern that resembles hanging draperies

A Martian crater with a surface pattern like hanging draperies

Cool image time! The picture to the right, rotated, cropped, reduced, and enhanced to post here, was taken on January 27, 2023 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and shows what the scientists label a “streak-spoke pattern” inside the crater. To my eye, the pattern more resembles hanging draperies, neatly tied near the top and then pulled apart as they descend to the ground.

This photo was a follow-up to a previous picture by MRO on February 4, 2008, more than seven Martian years ago, to see if there had been any identifiable changes in that time. Both images were taken in springtime, and despite the passage of time, the 2023 image shows no obvious changes from the 2008 photo.

What caused this distinct pattern? The first guess would be the wind, except if so shouldn’t there have been some change over seven Martian years?

Overview map

The white dot north of the Starship candidate landing zone on the overview map to the right marks the location of this crater, at 45 degrees north latitude on the vast Martian northern lowland plains. At this latitude there is a lot of near surface ice, and this crater is no exception. Not only does the terrain around the crater have features that invoke ice (such as cracks), the crater itself appears filled with glacial ice, as indicated by the cracks near the crater’s interior rim.

My wild guess for the creation of this pattern is the Sun itself. At this latitude the Sun would generally be to the south. If the slope of the glacier inside the crater is just right, as the Sun rises in the east, crosses the sky, and then sets in the west, its light could just touch the surface in such a manner as to melt away this kind of pattern, especially as the Sun’s height from the southern horizon rises and falls with the seasons.

This is a wild guess, of course, based on nothing, and is almost certainly utterly wrong. The cause of the pattern could be from many other things, but don’t ask me to name them, for I have no idea what they might be.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


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.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

One comment

  • Jeff Wright

    Sure Starship hasn’t made it up there yet?

    That’s what I would expect.

    Land here Elon…there’s a cargo cult waiting.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *