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On Mars you can find glaciers everywhere in the mid-latitudes

Glacial material in Mars' rift zone
Click for full image.

Cool image time! If you ever decide to have some fun exploring the archive of images being sent back to Earth by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), always remember that the latitude of the image will almost immediately help to explain the strange features that you see in each picture.

The hi-res photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on May 22, 2022 and provides us a great example. The jumbled features in the depression on the image’s right half surely look like the glacial features seen routinely in the 2,000-mile-long strip found in the 30 to 60 degree band in the chaos terrain of the northern lowland plains. In fact, it is likely that cycles of ebb and flow of those glaciers helped shape this chaos of buttes and mesas and cross-cutting canyons.

This picture however is nowhere near any chaos terrain, or that 2,000 long strip. In fact, it is instead in an area that appears mostly formed by tectonic and volcanic activity, as the overview map below shows.

Overview map

The black cross marks the location of this glacial material, in one of the many parallel cracks that form the region dubbed Tempe Terra. The white line delineates the most important of these rifts, the one that cuts through the giant volcanoes of Mars and thus acted as a release for their eruptions.

The depression itself above is just one of those rifts, formed when the pressure of magma below pushed up and cracked the surface layers above.

Yet, it is almost certain the jumbled stuff in the depression is glacial, not frozen lava. I say this not simply because it looks like glacial material, but because the latitude of this depression, at 38 degrees north, strongly suggests that this is what it is. It sits right inside the mid-latitude band where such glacial features are common.

In this case the ice appears to have migrated into the depression, where it appears to have been slowly sublimating away over time.

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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