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A typical Martian rock on Mount Sharp

Panorama of pass
Click for full 360 degree panorama.

Typical Martian rock
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to right, taken by the Mars rover Curiosity on August 9, 2022, provides a nice close-up of what might be a somewhat typical rock on the flanks of Mount Sharp in Gale Crater, many layered with some of those layers extending outward to the side for somewhat ridiculous distances as thin flakes.

The scientists call it a float rock, because they think it actually fell from the cliff dubbed Bolivar in the panorama above. Thus, it gives geologists data on the layers higher up that are not easily accessible from Curiosity’s present position.

The panorama is a mosaic created from images taken by the rover’s right navigation camera on August 8, 2022. The white arrow marks the rock. The green dot marks the approximate location on the cliff face of a previously observed recurring slope lineae, streaks that appear to come and go seasonally whose origin is still not understood.

The red dots mark my guess as to the route engineers will pick for Curiosity as it weaves its way around the other float rocks ahead.

Overview map
Click for interactive map.

The saddle directly ahead of the rover has been dubbed by the science team Paraitepuy Pass. As shown on the overview map to the right, Curiosity has been carefully picking its way around similar rocks as it attempts to work its way through the pass and down into Gediz Vallis. It is not quite there, but once it turns the corner it will finally get its first good look into this canyon, after ten years of travel to reach it.

The yellow lines mark the approximate area covered by the panorama. The marker layer is a specific geological layer that scientists have identified from orbital images in many locations at about the same elevation on the flanks of Mount Sharp. The large red dots indicate Curiosity’s original planned route, with the smaller red dots indicating its probable route to get back to that path.

The pace of travel in this rough terrain has been slow, because of rocks like the one above. It also appears that Curiosity’s pace from now on will always be as slow, because all of the terrain ahead appears as rough. The rover has left the soft gentle floor of Gale Crater. It is now climbing a mountain.


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.


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