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.


Snow on Martian dunes

Snowy dunes near the Martian north pole
Click for full image.

Close-up of snowy dunes
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The first photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on September 19, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and shows what appears to be snow nestled in the hollows of many dunes.

The second photo, cropped to post here, shows in high resolution the area in the white box.

Is that snow water, or dry ice? The location is very far north, 76 degrees latitude, so it could be either. Since the photo was requested by Candice Hansen of the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona, I emailed her to ask. Her answer:

Early in the spring all the bright stuff is dry ice. As it gets later in the spring it is probably still mostly dry ice but with HiRISE images alone we cannot really distinguish the composition of the ice. In-between the dunes it is almost certainly bare ground late in the spring, but since the dunes are dark the surface just looks bright in contrast

This picture was taken in summer, which suggests the snow is probably water, not dry ice. Yet, all the snow is found in the north-facing hollows, places that will remain mostly in shadow at this high latitude, 76 degrees north. Thus, it is possible that the snow is the last remaining traces of the thin dry ice mantle that covers the Martian poles down to about 60 degrees latitude during the winter, and sublimates away in summer.

Hansen had requested a whole bunch of similar images of such snowy dunes. As she explained,

The reason for this image set is that the ice (whatever kind it is) persists much later into the summer than at other locations. So we are curious about that… Certainly it stays in what we call “cold traps” longer – that would be the spots getting less sunshine so you are right about the north-facing slopes.

Overview map

The black cross south of the north pole ice cap in the overview map to the right marks the location of these dunes. The location is inside the giant dune sea that encircles the northern ice cap. At this location, dunes cover about half the surface.

Why such a dune sea exists in the north but not in the Martian south pole is not presently understood. Nor is it clearly understood why the sea exists at all. Probably, a partial explanation lies in the fact that the north pole is in the northern lowland plains and the south pole is in the cratered highlands. The smoother northern plains might allow dust to accumulate more easily in the north, aligning with polar jet streams. In the south the craters and rougher terrains might block that accumulation.

This theory however is a guess, based on very superficial knowledge.

Readers!
 

I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.


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 not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. 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
 

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.

2 comments

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 *