The existence of iron, combined with water and oxygen from the red planet’s ancient past, is responsible for the famed Martian hue.
However scientists have yet to understand how this can happen on Earth’s airless Moon.
The Indian Space Research Organisation’s Chandrayaan-1 orbiter made the shock discovery.
The unmanned probe found both water ice and numerous of minerals during its 2008 survey.
Lead author Professor Shuai Li of the University of Hawaii studied that water extensively in data from Chandrayaan-1’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument (M3), designed by NASA.
The US-based space agency said in a statement: “Water interacts with rock to produce a diversity of minerals, and M3 detected spectra – or light reflected off surfaces – that revealed the Moon’s poles had a very different composition than the rest of it.;
Professor Li became particularly interested in these polar ranges.
Although the lunar surface is littered with iron-rich rocks, he was still surprised to spot the spectral signature of hematite.
“The Moon is a terrible environment for hematite to form in.”
As a result, he used M3’s data to confirm the discovery of hematite.
He added: ”At first, I totally didn’t believe it.”
Dr Abigail Fraeman, a NASA scientist, said: “It shouldn’t exist based on the conditions present on the Moon.
“But since we discovered water on the Moon, people have been speculating that there could be a greater variety of minerals than we realise if that water had reacted with rocks.”