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My February birthday fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black it now over. I sincerely and with deep gratitude thank all those who donated. Without your support I could not keep doing this, not so much because of the need for income to pay the bills, but because it tells me that there are people out there who want me to do this work. For those who did not contribute during the campaign, please consider adding your vote of support to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Donate through Gabpay, using my email address zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

3. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

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Ice volcano in the Martian high northern latitudes?

Ice volcano on Mars
Click for original image.

That the Martian surface becomes increasingly icy as one approaches its poles is becoming increasingly evident from orbital images. Today’s cool image provides us another data point.

The picture to the right, rotated, cropped, reduced, and enhanced to post here, was taken on January 4, 2023 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It is once again another terrain sample image, taken not as part of any particular research project but to fill a gap in the camera’s schedule so as to maintain its temperature. With such pictures, it is hard to predict what will be seen, though the scientists try to find interesting things. In this case the camera team succeeded quite nicely, capturing what appears to me to be a small volcano with two calderas.

This volcano however has almost certainly not spouted lava but mud and water.

The picture is located at 60 degrees north latitude, well north of the 30 degree latitude line that marks the limit of near ice features on the Martian surface. The white dot on the map below marks this volcano’s location, north of Utopia Basin, the largest impact basin on Mars where many glacial and ice features are found. The white outlined regions are dense with many glaciers. The 30 degree hatched lines delineate the dry equatorial regions.

Global map

What makes these ice features different here is that the ice appears hard and solid. Rather than splatter or flow, features common farther south within the basin, the ice here cracks.

We do not know the makeup of the material that formed the apron around these icy calderas. While almost certainly impregnated with water ice, dry ice and mud could also be components. For example, this picture was taken in the spring. The thin mantle of dry ice that covers most everything from 60 degrees latitude and above at both Martian poles during the winter is at this moment beginning to sublimate away. Some of the features here likely include that disappearing mantle. Its seasonal appearance might in itself contribute to shaping this ice volcano.

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.

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