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This image shows different classes of rocks explored by the Rover.
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Image from: JPL/NASA

Classes of Martian Rock

Even though the rocks seem to be much the same, scientists can see three basic differences in these rocks. These differences help them figure out more about weathering processes on Mars and where the soils surrounding the rocks may come from. The three classes are:

  • dark,
  • bright, redder than the dark rock, but not at red as pink
  • pink, perhaps covered with a red substance which has an iron oxide (rust) component

Different classes are pointed out in the image to the left. Green arrows show dark rocks, the white arrow shows pink rock. Barnacle Bill was a dark rock, suggesting that it may be a basalt. Scooby Doo was a pink rock.

Scientists are trying to figure out where the rocks came from, whether 1.) from the impact of a crater, or 2.) from flowing water. Differing weathering properties of the rocks may help scientists figure that out.

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