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.

Ice-filled Martian sinkhole

Ice-filled pit on Mars
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The pit shown in the high resolution photo to the right (image rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here) was taken on January 25, 2021 and labeled by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) “Collapse Pit in Graben with Ice Fill.”

There is a lot of information in that title. First, a graben is a geological feature where a section of terrain drops relative to the surrounding terrain, producing a depression. Second, it appears the graben in this region is mostly filled with debris, probably wind-blown dust or sand or volcanic ash.

Third, at this particular spot the filling material sank, like a sinkhole on Earth, creating the pit.

And fourth, and maybe most intriguing, the scientists think that this pit is now filled with ice. At 47 degrees north latitude, the location is prime for such ice, and the interior material resembles similar glacial features seen in many other mid-latitude craters.

Overview map

The black box in the overview map to the right marks the location of this pit. Note the long fissures running to the northeast from the shield volcano Alba Mons. It is thought as this volcano bulged upward, it caused these fissures as the ground expanded by the pressure from below. The fissures are the graben referenced above.

Though the fissure at this location is mostly filled, the sinkhole suggests that there may be voids below. If so, there is the chance that an underground facility could be build here, protected from radiation and the harsh swings of temperature on the surface. Digging into it and creating a stable habitat within it might not be easy, however, as the fill material is likely structurally weak. It might be like trying to build something permanent in the sand of a beach.

Or not. We really don’t have a good handle on the properties of the material here. All this image really tells us again is that there is ice readily available in the mid-latitudes of Mars.


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  • mrsizer

    I’m seeing a hill, not a pit. The shadows don’t seem to match up with the indented ring to right. I trust that you are correct, but it looks strange.

  • mrsizer: If you download the image and turn it upside down the pit will likely become evident to you. This phenomenon is an optical illusion caused I think by where we think the sunlight is coming from. Your mind is insisting the light comes from the east, when it really is coming from the west.

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