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The knobby floor of a Martian crater

The knobby floor of a Martian crater

Cool image time! The picture to the right, rotated, cropped, reduced, and enhanced to post here, was taken on July 20, 2022 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows a small portion of the knobby floor of a 70-mile-wide ancient and eroded unnamed crater in the southern cratered highlands of Mars.

Why knobby? Usually such terrain on Mars signifies an very ancient and well eroded region of chaos terrain, its knobs the leftover worn remains of ancient mesas cut by eons of glacier flow.

If this is so, the location as shown in the overview map below suggests if there were ever any glaciers — or any near surface ice — at this location, it had to be a very long time ago.

Overview map

The white cross marks the location of this crater, on the northern edge of the southern cratered highlands and deep inside the dry equatorial regions of Mars. There is no near surface ice here, with the nearest detected by data and orbital imagery many hundreds of miles away, all north or south of the 30 degree latitude lines on the map.

What makes the knobs in this particular large crater even more puzzling is that most of the comparably sized nearby craters have smooth floors, with no such knobs. It could be their floors have been flooded with lava at some time, thus covering the more ancient knobs, but if so, why was there no flood lava in this crater?

Ah, the mysteries of Mars. The cratered highlands of Mars I suspect will always be somewhat of an enigma. Most of its many craters are unnamed, even though many are large and distinct. Much of it is is also in the dry parts of Mars, with no ice. And because of the high altitude the atmosphere is thinner. All in all, a less appetizing location for future colonists.

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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