Scroll down to read this post.


My February birthday fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black it now over. I sincerely and with deep gratitude thank all those who donated. Without your support I could not keep doing this, not so much because of the need for income to pay the bills, but because it tells me that there are people out there who want me to do this work. For those who did not contribute during the campaign, please consider adding your vote of support to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


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. Donate through Gabpay, using my email address zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

3. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

4. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Dormant volcanic vent on Mars

Dormant volcanic vent on Mars
Click for original image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on November 19, 2022 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows what the science team labels “Intersecting Fissures.”

These fissures stand out distinctly on this terrain. If you look at an MRO context camera image, showing a wider view, you can see that the surrounding plain is relatively featureless, with few craters. Except for some strange and inexplicable dark streaks close by to the east, some mottled but flat terrain to the north, and a long but very faint similar east-west fissure to the south, this runelike fissure is the only major topological feature for miles around.

That context camera image also shows that this fissure sits on top of a very faint bulge, with hints that material had flowed downhill from the fissure’s western and southern outlets. Located very close to the equator, it is unlikely that any of those flow features are glacial, and in fact they do not have that appearance in the context camera picture. Instead, they have the look of Martian lava, fast-moving and far less viscous than Earth-lava, and thus able to cover large areas much more quickly.

Thus, all the evidence says that this feature is a dormant volcanic vent, sitting on a flood lava plain. And the overview map below cements this conclusion.

Overview map

The white dot to the east of the volcano Pavonis Mons marks the location of this vent. As you can see, it sits inside the Tharsis Bulge, home for four of Mars’s largest volcanoes. The entire surface for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of miles is volcanic flood lava, laid down over many eruptions more than a billion years ago.

The unknown right now is the number of those eruptions, and their timing over the eons. At present all we can do is study the surface of the Tharsis Bulge, and determine where the most recent flood lava events took place at each location, such as this particular vent in the photo above. Nor can we date these events very precisely, as this dating depends mostly on crater counts. Fewer craters suggests a more recent event, based on the known impact rates over time.

To map out over time the eruption history of Mars’s volcanoes will require many deep core samples, across a wide area of the Tharsis Bulge. And yes, that can’t really happen until humans finally get there and are able to quickly go from place to place.

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.

One comment

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 *