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NASA’s Curiosity rover spots purple rocks on Mars

Mars might seem pink when considered from Earth, however NASA’s Curiosity rover has captured an up-close photograph of the planet’s mountainous panorama, with purple-colored rocks littered throughout the foreground.

This outstanding new photograph was captured close to the bottom of Mars’ Mount Sharp. The picture’s three frames had been taken by Curiosity’s Mast Digicam (Mastcam) on Nov. 10.

“Variations in shade of the rocks trace on the variety of their composition on decrease Mount Sharp. The purple tone of the foreground rocks has been seen in different rocks the place Curiosity’s Chemical and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument has detected hematite,” or a sort of iron-oxide mineral, NASA officers mentioned in an announcement. “Winds and windblown sand on this a part of Curiosity’s traverse and on this season are likely to preserve rocks comparatively freed from mud, which in any other case can cloak rocks’ shade.”

Mount Sharp rises three miles from the middle of Mars’ 96-mile-wide Gale Crater. After arriving on the crater in 2012, Curiosity discovered proof that instructed that the realm might have supported microbial life within the historical previous.

Along with the purple rocks within the foreground, the pictures from Curiosity seize increased layers of Mount Sharp. The rover will proceed to traverse these slopes all through the remainder of its mission.

This uphill trek started in October on the orange-colored rocks of the Murray formation , close to the bottom of Mount Sharp. Subsequent the rover will climb upward to the Hematite Unit, adopted by the Clay Unit and the rounded hills of the Sulfate Unit — which is Curiosity’s highest deliberate vacation spot. Finding out the composition of those completely different rock layers can assist scientists study extra about Mars’ previous.

The photographs have a white-balanced shade adjustment that resembles how rocks and sand would seem beneath daytime lighting circumstances on Earth. This helps geologists who research the rocks acknowledge shade patterns that they’re accustomed to on Earth, NASA officers mentioned within the assertion .

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