The Mineralogy of Mars

Link to the JPL Mars site

Do bound water or hydrous minerals exist on the surface of Mars?

Does the intense ultraviolet light flux at the Martian surface dehydrate hydrous minerals?

The thesis work of Albert Yen addresses these issues.

Future spacecraft will address the problem of 'water' on Mars.  Yen is working on instruments which will be able to analyze the water content of the Martian surface.  He is also interpreting existing spacecraft reflectance data in the 3 micrometer IR region in comparison with laboratory data of hydrated potential Martian minerals to obtain an estimate for the amount of water which we can anticipate to find at a future lander site.

What causes the color of the Martian surface?

Compare the colors of maghemite (g-Fe2O3) and hematite (a-Fe2O3).
iron oxides.

These are synthetic phases devoid of any significant impurities. The grain size is about 1 micrometer in each case.