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Please consider supporting my work here at Behind the Black. I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands. Instead, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.


You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:


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
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You can also support me by buying one of my books, as noted in the boxes interspersed throughout the webpage or shown in the menu above. And if you buy the books through the ebookit links, I get a larger cut and I get it sooner.

A Martian river of sand

A Martian river of sand
Click for original image.

Overview map
Click for interactive map.

Cool image time! The panorama above, cropped, reduced, enhanced, and flipped to post here, was taken on April 14, 2024 by the right navigation camera on the Mars rover Curiosity, created from a total of 31 images.

The full mosaic covers a full 360 degree view from where Curiosity presently sits, inside the slot canyon Gediz Vallis. The part shown above only covers a little more than half, looking west at the butte which forms the western wall of the slot canyon, as shown by the yellow lines and the arrow in the overview map to the right. The blue dot marks Curiosity’s present position, while the red dotted line its planned route.

What makes this part of the mosaic especially distinct is the narrow river of sand that flows downhill from the right to the left. While everywhere else the ground is heavily covered with rocks, along this strip the surface is smooth sand, with many frozen dunes resembling waves or ripples as the flows downhill slowly.

The river is formed against a low cliff wall, which is why the sand gathered along this strip. At the same time, the downhill grade to the left (north) is allowing the sand to carve a distinct path, at the base of that cliff.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Mars is alien, Mars is unique, but above all, Mars is wonderful.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


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