Colorful Collection of Martian Rocks Has Humans Dreaming of Snatching Some Samples

The general consensus is that Mars is mostly a reddish planet, a hue achieved through the oxidation of the vast quantities of iron present in the soil. At least that’s how we perceive it from afar, as from closer to the surface “you'll see that a lot of Mars is actually more of a butterscotch color,” as NASA says.
Coprates Chasma region of Mars 7 photos
Photo: NASA/JPL/UArizona
Coprates Chasma region of MarsCoprates Chasma region of MarsCoprates Chasma region of MarsCoprates Chasma region of MarsCoprates Chasma region of MarsCoprates Chasma region of Mars
And going even deeper, it’s not a uniform butterscotch color we’re talking about, as differently-colored landscapes (golden, brown, tan, and even some shades of green) can be seen all over the place.

Proof of that is the image we have here, showing the floor of the Coprates Chasma, a large canyon included in the Valles Marineris. We’re looking at an area of just 1.1 by 9 km (0.7 by 5.5 miles), yet it shows “a tremendous variety of rock types, as indicated by their colors and textures.”

The image was captured back in 2007 with the help of the HiRISE camera from 264 km (164 miles) high in orbit around the planet, and shows according to the people from NASA and the University of Arizona, who are studying such images, fractured and faulted blocks of bedrock that may be more than 3 billion years old, but also much younger sediments brought to the region by wind and water, when there was water flowing on the surface.

The place got people so worked up about it that they now say “it would be wonderful to land a rover here for surface exploration and perhaps return rock samples to study on Earth.”

Such an idea is not at all far-fetched, as presently NASA and ESA are testing equipment that will be used to retrieve samples currently being gathered by the Perseverance rover. Sadly, at the time of writing no mission is being planned for the Coprates Chasma region.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)
About the author: Daniel Patrascu
Daniel Patrascu profile photo

Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories