Mars Curiosity rover may have just uncovered one of the most intriguing facts about our neighboring planet. Just a few days ago, during one of the rover’s drilling missions, the robot didn’t expect to discover an incredible secret hiding underneath Mars’ surface.
It turns out the red planet might not be red, after all. A few inches below the surface of Mars, the Curiosity rover discovered that the color of the soil underneath Mars’ iron-rich surface was actually grayish-blue. More intriguing than the color of #thedress, isn’t it?
According to Science Alert, the rover was at Telegraph Peak digging for samples to be sent to its onboard laboratory when it made the amazing find. NASA recently released the image of the drill site, which clearly showed the pastel color of the soil underneath Mars’ red surface. With it was an explanation from scientists detailing the striking differences in the chemical makeup of the soil on the surface and below the surface of Mars.
“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.”
The purpose of the dig is to find out how Mars — hypothesized to have looked similar to Earth millions of years ago — became the dry and arid environment the Curiosity rover explored today. Samples from the ground can potentially reveal much about the planet’s history and may also give hints on possible life on Mars.
Last year, Mars Curiosity rover was able to detect a sudden rise in the amount of methane in the Martian atmosphere, something that has not been observed by NASA before. According to a report by the Inquisitr, a few experts are considering this to be one of the most convincing evidences of microbial life currently living in Mars. However, most scientists remain conservative about the idea and are still studying other causes that can account for the sudden surge in methane levels.
Paul Mahaffy, a NASA scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, commented on the Curiosity rover methane discovery, “Right now, it’s too much of a single-point measurement for us really to jump to any conclusions. So all we can really do is lay out the possibilities. And we certainly should have an open mind. Maybe there are microbes on Mars cranking out methane, but we sure can’t say that with any certainty. It’s just speculation at this point.”
Mars Curiosity rover will be the basis for a new NASA robot design planned for launch in 2020.
[Image from NASA]