Conscious Choice cover

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.

 

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


Scientists question existence of liquid water lake under Martian south pole

The uncertainty of science: A re-analysis of the ground-penetrating radar data that suggested there was a liquid water lake under the Martian south pole has found that it might not be liquid water at all, but either “clays, metal-bearing minerals, or saline ice.”

The abstract can be read here.

The radar data, obtained by the European orbiter Mars Express, definitely shows a layer of bright reflection suggesting a layer of something different below the icecap. The research team decided to find out if other things besides liquid water could cause the difference.

They were able to determine what level of electric conductivity the material below the ice would need to have to match the observed signal from MARSIS. Then, they identified materials that are both conductive and present on Mars including clays, metal-bearing minerals and saline ice. “Salty ice or conductive minerals at the base of the ice sheet are less flashy, but are more in line with the extremely cold temperatures at Mars’ poles,” Bierson said.

While not explicitly excluding a liquid brine, the results open new potential explanations for the observed strong radar reflections, some of which do not require liquid brine beneath the Martian south polar ice cap.

Nothing is proven, one way or another. This research has simply underlined the uncertainty of the liquid water claim. We simply do not know what caused the bright radar reflection. All we know for certainty is that it is there.

Readers!
 

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.


Your support is even more essential to me because I keep this site free from advertisements and do not participate in corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.


You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:
 


 

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


 

If Patreon or Paypal don'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

7 comments

  • Alex Andrite

    “All we know for certainty is that IT is there.” (emphasis mine)

    Love IT !! Cue movie title ……

  • Lee Stevenson

    @Alex Andrite, excellent!! You just gave me a good giggle! Thank you!

  • Patrick Underwood

    Breaking: Storm drain discovered at Martian South Pole.

  • We Are Borg

    Why the obsession with Mars? All the billions we spent on all the probes and rovers and yet NO shocking discoveries. There is no life on Mars, there was NEVER any life on Mars. You need way more than just water. For starters, the creation of even the most rudimentary elements of life requires some form of geo-thermal / volcanic activity to drive the chemical processes. Mars lacks that.

    Another problem: the core of the planet is too small and lacking in radioactive elements (like Uranium) to raise magma temperatures high enough to cause convection currents. Without these currents, volcanism, subduction, continental drift and other vital geological processes cannot occur. The small core also doesn’t generate enough electrical energy to create a magnetosphere strong enough to block the solar wind, even at that distance from the sun. Solar winds and high-energy particles were largely responsible for literally blowing away Mars ancient atmosphere.

    Look, I’m all for exploration, but funds are limited. How about we focus on building a proper ROTATING space station with artificial gravity? How about an intense effort towards doing mineral assays on the Moon, we can do all this stuff with existing robotics tech and it’s nearby for easy access. China and Russia control 90% of the world’s rare Earth elements, but Lunar soils may be loaded with the stuff. All you gotta do is get there and scoop it up, build a processing plant in Lunar orbit to refine it then make big bucks sending it back to Earth. Ok, it’s a little more complicated than that, but you get the point.

  • We are Borg: Just so you know, it not that I have an obsession with Mars, it is simply that as a science journalist who focuses on reporting the most cutting edge planetary science, it happens to be Mars right now where that science is taking place.

    I would much prefer more missions to Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and all the other planets, but I can only report what’s available.

  • Edward

    We Are Borg asked: “Why the obsession with Mars? All the billions we spent on all the probes and rovers and yet NO shocking discoveries.

    I suppose that depends upon what is considered a shocking discovery as well as whether exploration is supposed to make shocking discoveries.

    Why Mars?

    There are many who wish we would do more exploration of the Moon, for the reasons (and more) that We Are Borg noted. However, for the first half century or so of space exploration we chose to depend upon governments to explore space. This means that all we got was what those governments wanted, not necessarily what We the People wanted. Elon Musk wanted to have more space exploration, and he wanted commercial exploration, so that We the People could get the exploration that we want. In order to make exploration commercial, launch costs had to drop to affordable levels, so Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies, Corp. (SpaceX) to find ways to reduce those launch costs.

    There are many who wish to explore Mars, rather than the Moon, because for half a century we had expected Mars would be the next goal for human exploration. NASA and its master, Congress, have long seen Mars as the next major goal, but it has generally been thought to be too expensive to reach any time soon. To them, Mars is a good place to send robotic probes in preparation for the eventual human Mars mission and to search for life off the Earth. After the Viking landers, no one has been overly enthusiastic about working hard to find anything living today.

    Many people suffer from the impression that we could only choose one place to explore, the Moon or Mars, and this impression was formed due to the limited budgets that governments give to space exploration. Thus, with government interest in Mars, that is where the exploration money is concentrated. Government may not be interested in rotating space stations, because they probably think that the whole purpose of a space station is to take advantage of the freefall (microgravity), so artificial gravity would be counterproductive. Government does not have much imagination.

    However, with commercial exploration, budgets for corporate exploration projects will be set due to expected revenue and profits, and some of these would be from lunar exploration, and others would be from martian exploration (as well as Venus, Jupiter, Earth observation, etc.). Commercial exploration can allow for much more locations in space being explored, because the interest and the revenue possibilities will be available for the Moon, Mars, various Lagrange points, and other places in space. When commercial operators find enough customers for rotating space stations then they will start building some.

    With lower launch costs and with smaller, less expensive satellites and probes, we already are seeing more companies starting their own exploration with more satellites and probes launched.

    Robert posted:
    https://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/points-of-information/spacex-successfully-launches-88-smallsats-marking-a-renaissance-in-rocketry-in-2021/

    From the link in that post:

    the total cost of a SpaceX rideshare launch could be as low as $5000 per kilogram – incredibly cheap relative to almost any other option.

    Before Falcon 9, launch costs were in the neighborhood of $20,000 per kilogram.

    From Robert’s comment in that post:

    The world in general is seeing a renaissance in rocketry. The first half of 2021 has seen 59 launches. That pace could result in 118 launches during the year.

    Lower launch costs and lower satellite and probe costs are causing a renaissance in rocketry and in exploration and use of space resources. NASA is encouraging commercial robotic exploration of the Moon, and we should see those launched in the next couple of years or so.

    Many of us expect this decade, and the coming decades, to be exciting due to the increased commercial exploration and use of space resources. We the People will finally get what we have wanted for the past half century. Maybe even rotating space stations.

  • Andi

    “No shocking discoveries “ is in itself a discovery, is it not?

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 *