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.

Stucco on Mars!

Stucco on Mars
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The picture to the right, cropped to post here, was taken on June 8, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows a strangely flat plain with a complex stucco-type surface of ridges and depressions. The sunlight is coming from the west, which makes the smoother flat areas depressions.

What are we looking at? What causes this strange surface? Make sure you look at the full image, because the section I cropped out doesn’t give a true sense of the terrain’s vastness.

The MRO science team labeled the photo “volcanic terrain,” but that tells only part of the story, since this volcanic terrain is actually part of Mars’ most interesting lava plains, as the overview map below shows.

Overview map

The white cross marks this photo’s location, in the middle of what scientists [pdf] have dubbed the Athabasca Valles flood lava. Athabasca, which covers an area about the size of Great Britain, is thought to be one of the youngest such flood plains on Mars, from 1 to 20 million years ago. Moreover, it is believed that the magma flooded this territory very quickly, covering this vast region in only a matter of weeks.

You would think that such a fast flow would result in a very smooth and flat frozen surface. See for example this September 2020 cool image of a nearby piece of the Athabasca flood, about 150 miles to the east. There the flood has frozen smooth as it partly engulfed and filled a crater.

Here however things are different. Though this terrain is flat and there are smooth patches, most of it resembles the exterior walls of my Arizona house, stuccoed to produce a textured look.

Why? Why the difference? Is this a feature of the lava itself? Or are we looking at later erosion processes?


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