After #TheDress controversy the Internet people had to deal with a few days ago, we now have the colour of planet Mars in the limelight. It seems that the planet that has always been known to be red is, in fact, not red at all. New data obtained by NASA’s Curiosity rover has revealed a greyish-blue rocky layer beneath the red dusty surface.
Red planet Mars revealed to be greyish-blue
Mars red no more
The Curiosity rover of NASA has drilled into the ‘red’ planet for the collection of samples. It seems that Mars has been hiding its true colours! Underneath the dusty red surface, the planet is seen to be greyish blue. And, that is how our long-held belief gets smashed!
Digging into Mars revealed its true colour
The more you dig into something, the more you learn about it, they say. The rover was made to drill at a spot called Telegraph Peak. The purpose of drilling into the rocky surface was to determine the time and the manner in which the planet made the transition from having a wet environment to a dry and dusty one. That was how the unexpected discovery was made.
Telegraph Peak high in silicon
As the very nature of science as defined by man dictates, the more we know, we more we realise that we do not know. It was initially known that Mars is made up of silicon, oxygen, iron, magnesium, aluminium, calcium, and potassium. However, when the chemical composition of the greyish-blue samples taken out at the Telegraph Peak site was examined by the internal Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument embedded onto the rover, it was found that the area was particularly high in silicon.
A Curiosity investigator from the NASA Johnson Space center of the US, Doug Ming, affirmed the following:
“When you graph the ratios of silica to magnesium and silica to aluminium, ‘Telegraph Peak’ is toward the end of the range we’ve seen. It’s what you would expect if there has been some acidic leaching. We want to see what minerals are present where we found this chemistry.”
Commenting on the new data and relating it to #TheDress controversy, Ryan Anderson, of the team of scientists, said in a statement:
“As the whole Internet learned this week, the way your eye and brain perceive colour can be misleading, so we like to use the Mastcam filters and ChemCam passive spectra to really get an accurate idea of the colour of our drill tailings”.
Was the red an illusion then?
According to scientists, iron found in the rocks on the planet gives off the well-known reddish hue as it undergoes oxidation and rusting. Beneath the rusty layer, the rocks are protected from these chemical processes and they are thus greyish-blue.