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.

Craters in the soft Martian northern lowland plains

Craters in the soft Martian northern lowland plains
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, was a featured image today from the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

The caption, written by Carol Weitz of the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona, focused on the wind patterns created within these craters.

These impact craters in the northern middle latitudes have interesting interiors: all of them have wind-blown (aeolian) ripples.

Outside of the craters and along the crater floors, the ripples are all oriented in the same direction. However, along the walls of some of the larger craters, the ripples are situated radially away from the center, indicating the winds moving inside the larger craters can be influenced by the topography of the crater wall.

Additionally, many of the larger craters have layered mesas along their floors that are likely sedimentary deposits laid down after the craters formed but prior to the development of the aeolian ripples.

I am further intrigued by the rimless nature of these craters, as well as the lack of significant rocky debris at their edges. They all look like the bolides that created them impacted into a relatively soft surface that, rather than break up into rocks and boulders, melted, flowed, and then quickly refroze into these depressions.

The location, as always, provides us a possible explanation.

Overview map

The white cross indicates the location of these craters, in an area just north of the region of chaos terrain dubbed Nilosyrtis Mensae, the easternmost part of that 2,000 mile long mid-latitude strip of chaos I dub glacier country because every image taken of the landscape there seems to exhibit glacial features.

Thus, it is very likely that there is a lot of ice very close to the surface at this location. In fact, that ice layer could be dominant, and its presence could easily explain the nature of these craters.

Obviously, that can’t be the whole story. We don’t know how long ago these impacts occurred, and in the interim erosion processes could have reshaped things by quite a lot. Moreover, the data is still somewhat sparse.

Below is a global map of Mars, indicating where scientists have found a lot of evidence of ice. The two lines at 30 degrees latitude indicate the range of detected persistent ice, near the surface. The equatorial regions have so far been found to be dry, though underground ice might still exist.

The regions outlined in white are those where extensive glacial and ice features have been detected as well. For the full resolution version click on the map.

Global map of Martian ice


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  • Phill O

    If you had not indicated they were impact “Craters”, I would guess something similar to the mounds in the arctic where ice has been a factor in the uplift.

  • Greg the Geologist

    Agreed the edges don’t have an ejecta rim. The craters also don’t seem to have a central peak – interior topography covered by eolian debris, or not there in the first place?

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