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A Martian mud volcano

A Martian mud volcano?
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Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on January 6, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows a distinct conelike knob in an area of the northern lowland plains of Mars dubbed Acidalia Mensa.

According to this paper [pdf], this is possibly a mud volcano.

Bright pitted cones are common in the northern plains of Mars and have been documented to occur in numerous locations including Acidalia Planitia. Various interpretations of these features have been
proposed but growing consensus in recent literature has favored mud volcanism as the most likely formation mechanism. Mud volcanoes are provocative targets for exploration because they bring to the surface sedimentary materials otherwise inaccessible by normal surface exploration and can aid in reconstructing the sedimentary history of the northern plains. Also, by sampling fluids and sediments from deep in the Martian crust, mud volcanoes may be among the best places to search for ancient and extant life.

A previous cool image post, “Baby volcanoes on Mars”, showed another example in the same general area of Mars.

Though this conclusion is not yet confirmed, the multi-layered apron that surrounds the cone certainly suggests repeated eruptions of muddy water over time.

Scientists have taken many images of this area and cone using MRO’s context camera. (See this image as and example.) All show a very rough terrain, with cracks, fissures, and many smaller cones and knobs. This particular knob however dominates the landscape as one of the largest features. The aprons around it are darker, and appear to have been overlain on top of the nearby rough ground.

If such cones are mud volcanoes, they represent a geological process that is pretty much unique to Mars. There are some comparable features on Earth, but they are rare and do not match exactly.

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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

    Nah, that’s the B/C deck of a Constitution saucer sticking out after separation. Lemme know when you see nacelles

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