BLUE dust has been found within Mars by NASA’s Curiosity rover 4WD droid, which has been exploring the planet for 40 months.
As it carried out sampling on “buckskin” rocks in the Mount Sharp area of the planet, the drill found a rare mineral and disturbed the blue dust.
Magma, the molten source material of volcanoes, can evolve on Earth to become silicic. Tridymite found at Buckskin may be evidence for magmatic evolution on Mars.
It is a rock-forming chemical combining the elements silicon and oxygen, commonly seen on Earth as quartz, but also in many other minerals.
Albert Yen, a Curiosity science team member at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, said: “These high-silica compositions are a puzzle. You can boost the concentration of silica either by leaching away other ingredients while leaving the silica behind, or by bringing in silica from somewhere else.