Red no more? NASA's Curiosity rover discovers purple rocks on Mars!

Studying the composition of these different rock layers can help scientists learn more about Mars' past.

By Zee Media Bureau | Last Updated: Dec 30, 2016, 00:05 AM IST
Red no more? NASA's Curiosity rover discovers purple rocks on Mars!
Image courtesy: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

New Delhi: NASA has already gained immense amount of insight into important aspects of Mars, thanks to its reliable Curiosity rover, which has been scaling the rocky terrain since August 2012.

The 4D droid has been beaming back spectacular images of the Red Planet, which will assist the space agency in its future mission to Mars.

This time, Curiosity, on one of its wanderings near the base of Mount Sharp, captured an up-close photo of the planet's mountainous landscape, with purple-colored rocks littered across the foreground.

"Variations in color of the rocks hint at the diversity of their composition on lower Mount Sharp. The purple tone of the foreground rocks has been seen in other rocks where Curiosity's Chemical and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument has detected hematite,” or a type of iron-oxide mineral, NASA officials said in a statement. "Winds and windblown sand in this part of Curiosity's traverse and in this season tend to keep rocks relatively free of dust, which otherwise can cloak rocks' color,” Space.com reported.

Curiosity changed its course, moving toward the upper regions of Mount Sharp in early October. Next, the rover will step upward to the Hematite Unit, followed by the Clay Unit and the rounded hills of the Sulfate Unit — which is Curiosity's highest planned destination.

Studying the composition of these different rock layers can help scientists learn more about Mars' past.