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I am now in the final week of my July fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black, celebrating its 14th anniversary. Thank you all, from the people who have donated small amounts to those who have given large sums. I cannot truly express how much your support means to me.

 

The support of my readers through the years has given me the freedom and ability to analyze objectively the ongoing renaissance in space, as well as the cultural changes -- for good or ill -- that are happening across America. Four years ago, just before the 2020 election I wrote that Joe Biden's mental health was suspect. Only in the past two weeks has the mainstream media decided to recognize that basic fact.

 

Fourteen years ago I wrote that SLS and Orion were a bad ideas, a waste of money, would be years behind schedule, and better replaced by commercial private enterprise. Even today NASA and Congress refuses to recognize this reality.

 

In 2020 when the world panicked over COVID I wrote that the panic was unnecessary, that the virus was apparently simply a variation of the flu, that masks were not simply pointless but if worn incorrectly were a health threat, that the lockdowns were a disaster and did nothing to stop the spread of COVID. Only in the past year have some of our so-called experts in the health field have begun to recognize these facts.

 

Your help allows me to do this kind of intelligent analysis. I take no advertising or sponsors, so my reporting isn't influenced by donations by established space or drug companies. Instead, I rely entirely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, which gives me the freedom to write what I think, unencumbered by outside influences.

 

Please consider supporting my work here at Behind the Black.

 

You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:

 

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You can also support me by buying one of my books, as noted in the boxes interspersed throughout the webpage or shown in the menu above. And if you buy the books through the ebookit links, I get a larger cut and I get it sooner.


Ice-filled crater on the Martian north polar ice cap

Ice-filled crater on the Martian north pole ice cap
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, cropped to post here, was taken on September 18, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and shows a very distinct impact crater on top of the layered deposits of ice mixed with dirt that form the bottom layers as well as surround the visible north pole ice cap on Mars.

I purposely cropped the high resolution image so that the crater is off center to show the dark streaks that appear to blow away from the crater to the northwest, west, and southwest. This asymmetric pattern suggests the wind direction at this location generally flows to the west, but the pattern might also be caused by lighting effects. The location is at 82 degrees north latitude, and the Sun was only 31 degrees high when the picture was taken, causing long shadows. Also, in the full image, you can see a whole strip of similarly oriented streaks, suggesting that these are slope streaks descending a slope going downhill to the northwest.

The overview map below also provides important information about this location.

Overview map

The yellow cross indicates the location of this small 500-foot-wide crater. For most of the ice cap, the descent down from the icy upper layers (generally green on the map) to the dirtier layered deposits (trending to blue on the map) is steep and abrupt, a cliff where orbital images routinely capture avalanches in the spring, as they occur. At this location however that slope going down to the west is more gentle, with only a few relatively small and gentle steps downward. This crater happens to be located along one of those steps, which might explain the northwest pointing streaks.

Note that the ice in the crater might not be water ice. At this latitude each winter a mantle of dry ice snow covers everything, only to sublimate away when the Sun arrives in the spring. It is possible that this ice is dry ice that has not yet disappeared.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 

The print edition can be purchased at Amazon. Or you can buy it directly from the author and get an autographed copy.

 
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.


The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.
 

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

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