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.

Two skylights into connected Martian lava tube?

Two skylights into a connected Martian lava tube?
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, cropped and annotated to post here, was taken on September 1, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). I have annotated it to note the two apparent skylights that appear aligned along a north-south depression.

The grade is downhill to the north. If you look at the full image you will see that this north-south depression extends for a considerable distance beyond the edges of the cropped image above, with that depression appearing to dissipate to the north into a series of parallel very shallow depressions, almost like the lava had flowed out of the tube and formed branching surface rivulets heading south.

The overview map shows that this tube is on the northern flanks of the volcano Arsia Mons.

Overview map

The white box notes the location of these two skylights and hypothesized lava tube. The black boxes note the location of every single pit or lava tube in this region that I have previously featured as a cool image on Behind the Black. (For a listing of most of these posts go here.) These pits however form only a partial selection of the numerous such pits scientists have identified surrounding Arsia Mons.

Why there are white streaks to north edge of both pits is unknown. While it could be dust deposited by the prevailing winds, that theory doesn’t fit with the white cliff to the north. I also wonder if the winds cutting across the top of these holes could function much like a flutist blowing across his flute’s mouthpiece to produce sound. At these holes a similar wind might cause material to be pulled up out of the holes.

All guesses. We don’t even know if the skylights are connected by a lava tube underground. The depression might simply be signaling the long ago filling of that void.


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  • Alex Andrite

    So … that is where they have been hiding …?

    Pardon me, … I live too close to the Lassen lava tubes.

    Nice places to hole up for future reference perhaps ?

  • Jeff Wright

    Wondering what this may be used for…a flow in one hole and out the other.

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