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I am now in the third week of my July fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black, celebrating its 14th anniversary. Thank you to everyone that donated so generously in the past two weeks. I cannot express how much it means to me, especially since you do not have to donate anything to read my work.

 

Your donations and subscriptions have allowed me the freedom and ability to analyze objectively the ongoing renaissance in space, as well as the cultural changes -- for good or ill -- that are happening across America. Four years ago, just before the 2020 election I wrote that Joe Biden's mental health was suspect. Only in the past two weeks has the mainstream media decided to recognize that basic fact.

 

Fourteen years ago I wrote that SLS and Orion were a bad ideas, a waste of money, would be years behind schedule, and better replaced by commercial private enterprise. Even today NASA and Congress refuses to recognize this reality.

 

In 2020 when the world panicked over COVID I wrote that the panic was unnecessary, that the virus was apparently simply a variation of the flu, that masks were not simply pointless but if worn incorrectly were a health threat, that the lockdowns were a disaster and did nothing to stop the spread of COVID. Only in the past year have some of our so-called experts in the health field have begun to recognize these facts.

 

Your help allows me to do this kind of intelligent analysis. I take no advertising or sponsors, so my reporting isn't influenced by donations by established space or drug companies. Instead, I rely entirely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, which gives me the freedom to write what I think, unencumbered by outside influences.

 

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Puzzling crater on alien Mars

Puzzling crater on alien Mars
Click for original image.

Today’s cool image once again illustrates that the things that orbiters photograph on the Martian surface are not always what they seem at first glance. The picture to the right, cropped, reduced, and sharpened to post here, was taken on March 23, 2023 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows what the scientists label as “layering” in this small mile-wide crater.

That layering, seen on both the interior and exterior slopes of its circular rim, is what makes this crater puzzling. It suggests this crater was not formed by an impact, but by volcanism. The layers suggest repeated eruptive events. That the crater sits above the surround plain by about 100 feet strengthens this conclusion.

And yet, a look at the overview map below suggests this conclusion is premature.

Overview map

The white dot inside the large 250-wide Ladon Basin marks this crater’s location. Ladon appears to be a very ancient very eroded impact crater, barely visible any longer, with a very distinct canyon, Ladon Valles, entering it from the south, and a second canyon, Morava Valles, exiting it from the north and eventually linking to Ares Vallis to drain into the northern lowland plains of Chryse Planitia.

Many of the craters in Ladon Basin appear to sit above the surrounding terrain. This suggests their impact occurred a long time ago, compressing the material in the crater so it was resistant to the erosion that subsequently removed the ground around it. Research has suggested that there was water and ice at one time in this basin, though not enough to form a lake, but certainly enough to cause that erosion.

The layers however once again make the impact interpretation difficult. An impact doesn’t leave behind such neat layers, unless those layers were placed down after the impact, covering the crater, and then removed by erosion. The problem with this is that the layers seem so integral to the crater’s structure. Could they be a sign of layers that existed before the impact?

Theories and theories and theories. It is all guessing without more information.

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 print edition can be purchased at Amazon. Or you can buy it directly from the author and get an autographed copy.

 
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

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