Scroll down to read this post.


Please consider supporting my work here at Behind the Black. I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands. Instead, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.


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


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

3. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


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.

Infeeder to a Martian paleolake

Infeeder to a Martian paleolake
Click for original image.

Cool image time! The picture to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on December 21, 2023 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows what the scientists label as an “inlet to a paleolake.” I have used this context camera lower resolution image taken January 14, 2023 to fill in the blank central strip caused by a failed filter on the high resolution camera.

The elevation difference between the plateau on the lower left and the lake bottom on the upper right is about 700 feet. The inlet channel floor is about 200 feet below the plateau. We know it is ancient because of the number of small craters within it as well as on the lakebed below. It has been a very long time since any water or ice flowed down this channel to drain into the lake to the north.

While a lot of analysis of orbital data has found numerous examples of paleolakes in the dry equatoral regions of Mars (see here, here, here, here, and here , this particular example is so obvious not much analysis is needed, as shown in the overview map below.

Overview map

The rectangle at the outlet of Shalbatana Vallis on the overview map to the right marks the location of the inset, with the tiny rectangle in the inset marking the area covered by the photo above. If you look close at the inset, you can see the outline of the paleolake, sitting about a mile above the lowland plains of Chryse Planitia. The topography suggests that the lake existed before either Shalbatana or Chryse existed, and became drained when the catastrophic floods poured out of Valles Marineris to carve out Shalbatana and Chryse.

Why those floods carved canyons on either side of the plateau that held this lake, rather than flowing down the 35-mile-long channel to the lake, is the fundamental geological mystery of this place. For some reason the flood or glacier that pushed down Shalbatana preferred going around. Fortunately, that fact allowed the lake to survive so that geologists now can see it. Had the flow gone through it it would have been washed away, leaving little obvious evidence it had ever existed.

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 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

One comment

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *