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.

Frozen lake bed in the Martian high latitudes?

Frozen lakebed in the Martian high latitudes?
Click for full image.

Today’s cool image comes from today’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s (MRO) high resolution picture of the day, rotated and cropped to post here. The original was taken back on March 28, 2017.

What formed those strange circular ridges and the many small cracks and hollows? The caption provided is somewhat vague and I think confusing:

This formation looks like a crater from a meteor impact rather than an ancient caldera of a volcano. Connected to the crater is a carved-out area that resembles a lake bed. At high resolution, we might be able to determine the likelihood of a water lake bed or lava bed. This observation will give insight into some of the interesting geology of this area.

The crater this caption is referring to is not visible in the image provided. It can be seen to the west of this location, in the MRO context camera picture below.

Context camera image showing wider view
Click for full image.

Overview map

The white box marks the location of the photo above. The crater referred to in the caption is the rimless round crater to the west of the very irregularly-shaped depression. The caption says that crater was probably created by an impact, but the lack of a rim suggests otherwise.

I think the answer, based on our presently very limited amount of information, is hinted at by the location, which is at 80 degrees south latitude, only about 400 miles from the south pole, as shown by the green cross in the overview map below and to the right. The answer is also indicated by the many glacial-like features that seem to permeate the crater, the surrounding terrain, and the primary photo above.

What we have here might be an ancient volcanic caldera or dried lake bed — as suggested by the caption — but I think the influence of glacial ice has been far more important to its formation. The surface features seen throughout these photos all appear to be glacial ice, with some showing layers signaling many cycles of formation and then sublimation. Those cycles likely worked to not only erode the crater, they carved out the irregular depression.

In the photo above we are getting a close look at some of that ice, which appears possibly exposed so that much of it can sublimate away when the Sun hits it. Thus, the cracks and hollows.

The particular location in the top photo also appears to be the resurgence for ice leaking from that irregular depression. The multiple ridges near the photo’s bottom also suggest multiple glacial flows, each traveling a shorter distance and thus leaving multiple moraines forming those ridges.


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