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My February birthday fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black it now over. I sincerely and with deep gratitude thank all those who donated. Without your support I could not keep doing this, not so much because of the need for income to pay the bills, but because it tells me that there are people out there who want me to do this work. For those who did not contribute during the campaign, please consider adding your vote of support to Behind the Black, 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
 
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
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The steep interior rim of Aristarchus Crater

Aristarchus Crater
Click for larger image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, cropped, reduced, and sharpened to post here, is a just released image taken by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, looking across the top of Aristarchus Crater on the Moon from a height of only 60 miles, with the dark surrounding plateau in the foreground contrasting sharply with the bright crater interior. For scale, the distance from the floor of the crater to the top of the rim is about 9,000 feet. The bright central peak is about 1,300 feet tall. The contrast in brightness inside and outside the crater is explained thus:

Adjacent to Aristarchus crater is the Aristarchus plateau, one of the largest volcanic centers on the Moon. Here we find one of the largest rilles [on the Moon, dubbed Vallis Schröteri], a massive pyroclastic deposit, and the source of extensive flood basalts.

These volcanic materials are considered relatively young (for the Moon) – 1.5 to 2.5 billion years. The pyroclastic deposit formed when magma was explosively ejected from the vent and broke into small droplets quenched as glass in the cold vacuum of space as they fell back to the surface. Due to their high glass content, the pyroclastic deposits are distinctly low in albedo (relatively dark), providing a dark background for the bright Aristarchus crater. Within the crater, some of these pyroclastic deposits may be visible as the darkest areas on the far wall, and glassy impact melt is moderately lower in reflectance than the bright, rocky materials exposed on areas of the crater floor and walls.

The overview map below shows both the crater and the vent from which Vallis Schröteri belched.

Overview map
Click for full image.

This view comes from an earlier LRO image inspecting the boulders on the floor of Aristarchus. The two white lines indicate approximately the area seen in the oblique view above. The beginning of the Vallis Schröteri, also nicknamed the Cobra’s Head by many astronomers, can be seen as the large dark canyon at center left. It begins at this point and meanders to the west for another 100 miles. That beginning point is a deep pit that is thought to be the vent from which the lava flowed. Its connection to Aristarchus is obvious, though the exact geological story remains unsolved.

Two other earlier cool images of Aristarchus can be viewed here and here. All illustrate the tragedy of the cancellation of the Apollo 18 mission in the 1970s, as that manned flight was going to land at this spectacular location.

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.

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.

 

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