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 volcanic extrusion on the floor of Valles Marineris?

A volcanic extrusion on the floor of Valles Marineris?
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on August 31, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows what the science team labels a “possible contact between two units.”

I think that contact is the point where that eroded mountain touches the surrounding smooth canyon floor. The mountain itself looks to me to be a very eroded extrusion of lava that was placed there from below a very very long time ago, covered later by material, and now exposed for a long enough period that its surface appears to have been carved by wind and even possibly flowing water or ice.

Because it is lava it is more resistant to erosion, which is why it sits higher than the smooth terrain around it. Even though both experienced the same processes of wear over time, the mountain’s surface was only carved away partly, while the material that had been in the floor was washed away entirely.

This is all a guess. However, a look below at the overview map, showing this mountain’s location on Mars, as well as MRO’s wider view from its context camera, I think strengthens my hypothesis.

Overview map

Context camera view of canyon floor
Click for full image.

The black cross in Candor Chasma marks the location of this mountain, on the floor of one of Valles Marineris’ side canyons.

The context camera image below shows that this extrusion is not alone, but part of a series that parallel a higher cliff to the south. The flow lines on all the extrusions are generally to the north-south, suggesting flows in that direction. However, that flow direction is perpendicular to the canyon’s overall trend to the east-west, which is a puzzle.

Note what appear to be giant mud cracks to the north of these extrusions, lower in the canyon floor. These suggest that water or ice was once prevalent here, but is now gone. The canyon is in the Martian equatorial regions, so for it to be dry is expected. The surface though does suggest that once ice and water were present, and caused some of the erosion we see.

The flow lines also seem to suggest that a major flood had flowed down from that southern cliff and poured over these extrusions, carving away at there shapes. If made of lava this would explain why they were only partially eroded.

At least, that’s my theory. I am willing to bet I am wrong, but I also know that more information will be needed to find out what is right.


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