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Sharp Martian ridges sticking up from the dust

Sharp ridges sticking up from Martian dust
Click for full image.

Today’s cool image brings us back to the region of Mars where the rover Opportunity journeyed. Taken on June 25, 2020 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance orbiter (MRO), the photo to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, focuses on some sharp but low ridges that appear to stick up out of the Martian dust, hinting that they are the tops of some larger feature buried over the eons and only now revealed partly by recent erosion. I estimate that their height is roughly one to two hundred feet or so.

This image is in Arabia Terra, the widest and largest transitional zone region between the northern lowland plains and the southern cratered highlands. It is also only about 200 miles north of where Opportunity landed, and about 230 miles from where it died after almost fifteen years of operation, on the west rim of Endeavour Crater. The overview map below gives the context.

Overview map

The red rectangle indicates the location of this image. The black squiggly line indicates the path that Opportunity took during its fifteen years on Mars, traveling to the southeast to reach the western rim of Endeavour.

This part of Arabia Terra seems somewhat boring from a distance, an endless vista of craters, with no major mountains or channels or canyons or anything big and spectacular. As is usually the case, that distant view gives an incorrect impression. On a human scale close-up, there is plenty of interesting stuff hidden among these craters. Opportunity during its journey illustrated this. So does the photo above.

We just have to get close enough. For example, the large faint crater just to the east of today’s photo is dubbed Vernal Crater. On its floor just inside its southern rim are features that some scientists believe are inactive hot springs. While the evidence is tenuous, the geology remains intriguing and tempting.

There is a lot of similar stuff surely hidden in this vast terrain. It only requires us to go and look to find it.


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 available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can 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. Note that the price for the ebook, $3.99, goes up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


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