Click for full image.
Cool image time! The photo to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, was taken on November 29, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows a collection of scattered thin surface fractures, grouped in clusters of parallel lines with the orientation of the clusters all somewhat random to other clusters.
The fractures, as well as the material inside the craters, appears to resemble glacial features, suggesting that these fractures are the result of either the past motion of the glacial sheet, or the sublimation of the buried ice, which causes it to crack and shrink as it slowly dissipates away.
The problem with that hypothesis is the location, as shown by the overview map below.
The red cross marks the location of the photo, south of Mars’ glacier country, at 27 degrees north latitude. As far as I am aware, the near surface glacial ice on Mars tends to disappear at about 30 degrees latitude. For there to be near surface ice at this latitude would be a significant discovery. Other images in other locations have suggested ice at even lower latitudes (See this February 2021 post). While such lower latitude ice has not been found easily, there are hints it does exist.
There is another explanation. We might be looking at the surface debris that once protected the ice, which cracked when the ice below sublimated away long ago. Similarly, the craters might be filled with dust and debris that now reflects the glaciers that once were below and are now gone.
Or not. The photo doesn’t really provide enough information to come to a determination. It only tantalizes.
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.
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.