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Martian eroding ridges amid brain terrain

Brain terrain and bisected ridges on Mars
Click for full image.

Today’s very cool image is cool because of how inexplicable it is. To the right, cropped to post here, is a photo taken by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) of an area of what they call “Ribbed Terrain and Brain Terrain”.

I call it baffling.

Nor am I alone. At the moment the processes that create brain terrain (the undulations between the ridges) remain a complete mystery. There are theories, all relating to ice sublimating into gas, but none really explains the overall look of this terrain.

Making this geology even more baffling are the larger ridges surrounding the brain terrain, all of which appear to have depressions along their crests. Here too some form of sublimation process appears involved, but the details remain somewhat mysterious.

Overview of Deuteronilus Mensae

This image, as indicated by the red box in the overview map to the left, is located in the northern mid-latitudes, in a region of chaos terrain dubbed Deuteronilus Mensae that also sits in the transition zone between the northern lowland plains and the southern cratered highlands. The random mesas, buttes, and canyons of chaos terrain is evident.

Here in this transition zone planetary scientists have found lots of evidence of buried glaciers and ice, all near the surface. (See also these recent cool images — here and here — that add weight to this conclusion.)

Here also planetary scientists have consistently found some of the strangest Martian terrain. It appears the geology here is providing us a reminder of the true alienness of Mars, warning us that many other features on the red planet that seem familiar might in truth be very deceiving, and that their origins might not be what we assume. Over eons the ebb and flow of Mars’ water ice to and from its poles and its mid-latitudes has caused major geological reshaping of the surface, in ways that simply do not occur on Earth.

It is going to take a lot of research over decades to untangle this alien Martian geology.l. We have only just begun.

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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