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.

Land of Martian slope streaks

Land of Martian slope streaks
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, was taken on May 21, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows a typical example of the many slope streaks found in the rough and very broken region north of the Martian volcano Olympus Mons, the largest in the solar system.

See this May 2019 post for a detailed explanation of slope streaks. While they appear to be avalanches, they do not change the topography of the ground, sometimes flow over rises, and appear to be a phenomenon entirely unique to Mars. While no theory as yet explains them fully, the two most favored postulate that they are either dust avalanches or the percolation of a brine of chloride and/or perchlorate in a thin layer several inches thick close to the surface. In both cases the streak is mostly only a stain on the surface that fades with time.

The location of this cool image however tells us something more about them.

Overview map

The small white box north of Olympus Mons marks this image’s location. The red boxes mark other high resolution images taken by MRO.

The image is within a region dubbed Lycus Sulci, which to my eye looks like a gigantic rough moraine, but rather than being the leading edge of a glacier, on Mars it was the leading edge of flood of lava coming down from Olympus Mons. This is a mere guess, however, because the formation process that created Lycus Sulci has not been worked out.

Lycus Sulci, ranging from 18 to 31 degrees north latitude, sits almost entirely in the dry equatorial regions of Mars, where little or no near surface ice is generally found. This lack of ice might explain the overall lack of interest in this area, as not many high resolution photos have been taken inside Lycus Sulci, with almost none in the region near this particular cool image.

And yet, what almost all of the photos that have been taken show are slope streaks. This dry mountainous rough terrain and climate seems ideal for the creation of these mysterious stains. While we do not yet have a good explanation for their formation, this simple fact should someday help scientists figure it out.


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One comment

  • Jeff

    Could the streaks be the caused by removal of the topmost layer of dust, exposing the darker, harder base? Similar to the way water drops on a car windshield will gather until heavy enough to slide down.

    This streak collection is one of my favorites of your cool images. Well worth seeing the full image. Thanks!

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