Scroll down to read this post.


I am now in the third week of my annual February birthday fund-raising drive. The first two weeks were good, but not record-setting.


There are still two weeks left in this campaign however. If you have been a regular reader and a fan of my work and have not yet donated or subscribed, please consider doing so. I take no ads, I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands (most of the time). Thus, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.


You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

3. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Scientists: Ice layers in Burroughs Crater confirm Martian orbital climate cycles

Layering in the west side of Burroughs Crater
Click for full image.

According to a new paper published today, scientists have used the ice layers inside Burroughs Crater on Mars to confirm the theory that the Red Planet has undergone numerous climate cycles during the past four million years, caused by the swings in the planet’s rotational tilt and eccentric orbit. From the press release:

Previously, Martian climate scientists have focused on polar ice caps, which span hundreds of kilometers. But these deposits are old and may have lost ice over time, losing fine details that are necessary to confidently establish connections between the planet’s orientation and motion and its climate.

Sori and his colleagues turned to ice mounds in craters, just tens of kilometers wide but much fresher and potentially less complicated. After scouring much of the southern hemisphere, they pinpointed Burroughs crater, 74 kilometers wide, that has “exceptionally well-preserved” layers visible from NASA HiRISE [Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s high resolution camera] imagery, Sori said.

The researchers analyzed the layers’ thicknesses and shapes and found they had strikingly similar patterns to two important Martian orbital dynamics, the tilt of Mars’ axis and orbital precession, over the last 4 to 5 million years.

The photo above of those layers was taken by Europe’s Trace Gas Orbiter on March 13, 2019, cropped and reduced to post here.

This research greatly strengthens the theory that the ice on Mars gets distributed to different latitudes in cycles, depending on the cyclical fluctuations in the planet’s orbit and tilt. However, it does not yet confirm these cycles apply to the glaciers found in craters in lower latitudes. Burroughs Crater is at 72 degrees south latitude, near the southern polar ice cap, well south of the band of glaciers scientists have discovered in the mid-latitudes down to 30 degrees latitude. Nonetheless, this research strongly suggest the same cycles apply in those lower latitudes.

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 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


  • Blackwing1

    Mr. Zimmerman:

    Just a quick “thank you” for presenting images such as these. I don’t have the inclination to search them out for myself, so I greatly appreciate you bringing them forward on your blog. The image of the sun in far-ultraviolet posted just a little while ago, showing the violence and incredible activity invisible to the eye is just one such example.

    I also greatly appreciate your “blacklisted” postings; letting a wider world know how hideously repressive and censorial the collectivist, statist, authoritarians in the left-wing really are.

  • Typo alert: final paragraph: in which “well south of” should be “well north of”
    Original sentence: “Burroughs Crater is at 72 degrees south latitude, near the southern polar ice cap, well north of the band of glaciers scientists have discovered in the mid-latitudes down to 30 degrees latitude.”

  • And, of course (speaking of typos), I got it above precisely the reverse of correct: “well north of” should be “well south of”.

  • Blackwing1: Thank you for your kind words.

    Much of today’s journalism is what I call “press release journalism”, whereby reporters do nothing more than regurgitate press releases with little other research. I myself admit that I do this a lot as well, though I never simply rewrite the releases, but link directly to them, and always question their substance.

    Sadly, this new type of journalism means that few actually do any original research. It actually saddens me that I appear to be the only space journalist actually digging through the raw image archives of planetary missions and then publishing images not touted by press releases. I wish others would do so, because I’d learn more that way, and journalism would be improved.

    As for my blacklist columns, I wish they weren’t necessary, but then, I also wish so many Americans were not authoritarian thugs, eager to smash their boots into the faces of those they disagree with. The columns are necessary to make this fact clear to the naive and ignorant among us.

  • Michael McNeil: Fixed. My problem is that I have always lived in the northern hemisphere, and automatically write as if everything is from that perspective. The perspective in a southern hemisphere is of course reversed.

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 *