The Blue Planet? Martian crater is blue, not red Caroline Morley, online picture researcher
(Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)
Detail of an Old Master oil painting, a close-up of a copper-rich mineral, or the vivid colours of a paua shell? The image is in fact the surface of an alien world: an enhanced-colour image taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s
Each colour represents a different type of rock, the mix of minerals churned up by a meteor striking the surface close to the Nili Fossae region. Known as ejecta, these rocks surround an impact crater and give scientists a chance to examine the planet’s ancient bedrock.
Sometimes ejecta does not fall back to the surface like these minerals and instead is cast into space, creating meteorites of Martian surface material. One such rock from Mars is the ALH 84001 meteorite, which crashed on Earth and contains formations that famously look like fossilised microbes.