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On February 5, 2023 I will celebrate my 70th birthday. Yay! As I do every year during this birthday month, I run a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


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. Donate through Gabpay, using my email address zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

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

4. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
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c/o Robert Zimmerman
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Spiders galore on Mars!

Spiders galore on Mars
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Cool image time! The photo to the right, cropped to post here, was taken on February 27, 2022 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and shows a nice collection of what scientists have informally (but permanently) labeled as spiders, strange formations that exists only in the regions of the Martian south pole.

The spiders are believed to have formed because of the coming and going of the dry ice mantle in the polar regions that falls as snow in the winter and then sublimates away come the spring. Because dry ice is mostly clear, the spring sunlight penetrates it and warms the underlying surface, which acts to warm the base of the dry ice mantle. CO2 gas builds up, trapped below the dry ice, until the pressure causes it to break the dry ice at a weak point and spew outward, carrying with it dust that blackens the surface above. You can see three examples in today’s image.

Spiders however only happen at the south pole. In the north much of the terrain is formed by unstable dunes, which change from year to year, thus causing the gas breakage to occur at random and different spots.

In the south however the terrain is more stable, a surface of ice and dirt. The spiders form because the trapped gas always follows the same path from year to year to the same weak points, carving riverlike tributaries until these feeders combine and build up enough gas pressure to crack the overlying dry ice so that the gas can escape.

Though the gas functions much like a river of water, it has one fundamental difference that makes this phenomenon wholly Martian and quite alien. On Earth rivers flow downhill. On Mars, the gas in these spider tributaries is flowing upward, seeking a path into the atmosphere above.

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 are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also 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.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


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