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Based on these data sources, scientists think that the most abundant chemical elements in the martian crust, besides silicon and oxygen, are iron, magnesium, aluminum, calcium, and potassium. These elements are major components of the minerals comprising igneous rocks. The elements titanium, chromium, manganese, sulfur, phosphorous, sodium, and chlorine are less abundant. The planet's distinctive red coloration is due to the oxidation of iron on its surface.
Much of what we know about the elemental composition of Mars comes from orbiting spacecraft and landers. Most of these spacecraft carry spectrometers and other instruments to measure the surface composition of Mars by either remote sensing from orbit or in situ analyses on the surface. We also have many actual samples of Mars in the form of meteorites that have made their way to Earth