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.


Buried glaciers flowing off of Martian mesa

Glacial flow off of mesa
Click for full image.

Cool image time! Planetary geologists now think that the mid-latitudes of Mars contain many buried and inactive glaciers, formed several million years ago when the planet’s inclination was more than 50 degrees [pdf], rather than the 25 degrees it is now. At that time the mid-latitudes were actually colder than the poles, and water would sublimate from the poles to the colder mid-latitudes to pile up as snow and glaciers.

With today’s 25 degree inclination those mid-latitude glaciers are inactive, and have been so for several million years. It might even be that Mars’ water is beginning a shift back to the poles, but this is uncertain. If anything the planet is presently in a balance, and won’t start transferring water back to the poles until its inclination drops closer to zero.

The image to the right, taken by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) on September 23, 2019, is of one of those glacial flows, coming off a mesa in a region called Protonilus Mensae, located in the transition zone between the southern highlands and the northern lowland plains where an intermittent ocean might have once existed.

Much of the geology of Protonilus Mensae is chaos terrain, places where the surface has eroded along angled fissures to form many mesas. The overview map below focuses in on the particular mesa where this flow is located. The red boxes indicate all the MRO images taken of this mesa, with the image above indicated by the black dot.

Close overview of mesa and surrounding chaos terrain

You can see the chaos nature of this region by the many mesas, all separated by wide generally straight canyons. The blue area on the lower left is a large impact crater, its floor at a lower elevation.

The evidence that this area has many inactive glaciers is strongly reinforced when you look at the other three images taken of the slopes of this mesa, labeled #1, #2, and #3 on the overview map. Another image recently taken by MRO of another glacier in Protonilus Mensae to the east also supports this hypothesis. All these geological features resemble Earth glaciers, flows coming down canyons or hollows. All show evidence of a moraine at their feet, with the first image above even showing the merger of two glaciers at a confluence, similar the Concordia confluence of two glaciers in the Karakoram Mountains of Pakistan, near the world’s second highest mountain, K2.

Wider overview map

A wider view of Mars gives further context. The map to the right shows the location of this mesa by the red dot in Protonilus Mesae. As already noted, this region is in that transition zone that might have once even been a shoreline to the ocean to the north.

The map also shows where Opportunity landed, as well as the planned landing sites for the European ExoMars 2020 rover and the U.S.’s Mars2020 rover, both scheduled for launch this coming summer.

The landing site for Mars2020 has many features strongly resembling the glaciers seen at this mesa at Protonilus Mensae, with the giant delta flowing into Jezero Crater especially intriguing. It might be a buried glacier, or cemented mud from water flow. The latter is more likely, as the latitude of this crater is around 18 degrees, putting it a bit south of the 30 to 60 degree latitudes where the buried glaciers have generally been found.

Regardless, the rover will see some breath-taking sites. And if it does find buried glaciers, all to the better. It will prove that these glaciers exist, and that water can be found in ample accessible places across the mid-latitudes of Mars.

Readers!
 

I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.


Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


Your support is even more essential to me because I not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.


You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:
 


 

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


 

If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652
 

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.

One comment

  • David M. Cook

    Robert, these posts are just stunning! I want to walk across these mesas on foot, wearing a minimal PLSS! Keep ‘em coming!

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 *