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Dusty chaos in Martian canyons

Outcrops in dusty chaos on Mars
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, was taken on May 30, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows the dusty dry floor of the chaos region of rough terrain in a side canyon of Valles Marineris, near its outlet. The color strip and the bright outcrops suggest that this terrain contains interesting minerals and resources. To determine exactly what those materials are however requires more information not available in this photo.

This ancient chaos terrain is the leftover eroded sea floor of a intermittent inland sea, leftover water from the catastrophic floods that are theorized to have flowed out of Valles Marineris and carved its gigantic canyons.

The overview map below shows this hypothesized sea.

Overview map

The map comes from figure 3 of the paper that proposed this inland sea. The white cross marks the location of today’s cool image. I have expanded the map to show more of Valles Mariners to the west, along with Kasei Valles to the north, with the black within that canyon indicating the extent of a past major lava flow.

Today’s image however shows neither water nor lava. It instead provides another example of Mars’ dry equatorial regions, located at 7 degrees south latitude. Much of the terrain here is covered with sand and dust forming rippling sand dunes of some beauty (this is even more evident in the full image).

Once there might have been a sea and water here. No more. As it slowly drained and evaporated away it left behind the chaos terrain of random knobs, mesas, and canyons that now cover this canyon floor.

What remained at the equator of Mars is the desert science fiction writers have imagined for the last century.

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

  • BLSinSC

    Here’s some food for thought!! Looking at all the resources that USED to be there, don’t you think that under all that waste and destruction they’ll eventually find evidence of a DEMOCRAT Headquarters??

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