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Stucco on Mars

Stucco on Mars
Click for full image.

As a break from Wuhan flu madness I give you another cool image, cropped and reduced to post here, taken by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). I call this stucco on Mars because that is exactly what it looks like. It is as someone laid down a layer of damp concrete and then ran over it roughly with a trowel to raise the knobs scattered across the surface.

The uncaptioned MRO image calls this “Aligned Mounds with Broad Summit Pits”. Those aligned mounds run across the top of the image. I suspect they are pedestal craters, left over because the impact had packed and hardened the crater so that it resisted erosion as the surrounding terrain was worn away.

The two insets, posted below at full resolutoin, focus on one of those pedestal craters as well as the distinct mesa at the bottom of the photo.

Pedestal craters?



This particular mound is intriguing because it seems to really be a cluster of four craters packed close together. One of smaller craters even seems to have a central peak. If these were caused by an impact, it was likely a single event, such as multiple pieces hitting at the same time, either from a shattered asteroid or from secondary ejecta from a nearby larger impact.

If these pits were not made by impact, I don’t have a clue what caused them. Though this certainly doesn’t look like a typical volcanic feature pushed up from below, it certainly could be, considering the different gravity and chemistry of Mars. In that alien environment it would be a big mistake to expect such things to look just like they do on Earth.

The mesa near the bottom of the photograph, shown to the right, provides evidence that considerable surface material here has eroded away. That the top of the mesa appears much higher than the top of the mounds just adds a bit of new complexity to this geology that needs explaining.

In fact, I wish I had some information on the actual height of this mesa. It appears we are looking straight down upon it, so it is difficult to estimate a height. The impression given however is of some considerable height. From the side this straight-sided pinnacle should look quite impressive.

The map to the right gives us some context. This stucco is located in the southern highlands, near the transition zone down to the northern lowlands, and about 800 miles to the west of Jezero Crater, where the rover Perseverance will hopefully land successfully in 2021.


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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