Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Partly ice-filled Martian crater?

Partly ice-filled Martian crater?
Click for full image.

Time for another cool Martian image. The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on January 3, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The section I have focused on is a single crater about a mile and a half wide.

What makes this crater interesting is the material that appears piled up against the crater’s northern half. Furthermore, both the floor of the crater as well as this piled up material looks like it is eroding away, kind of like a block of ice which is having warm water sprayed on it.

So, is this glacial ice?

Overview map

The white cross on the overview map to the right marks the location of this crater. It sits at 36 degrees south latitude, inside the mid-latitude bands where scientists have found many such glacially filled craters.

The configuration of this material helps prove the case. In the southern hemisphere sunlight will come mostly from the north, so that southern-faced slopes — the northern half of this crater — will be mostly in shadow and any ice or snow on those slopes will be the last to melt or sublimate away.

Though we don’t know for sure if this is buried ice, the evidence available suggests it is.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, 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.

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 *