Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is rather soft and malleable, and a freshly-exposed surface has a pinkish or peachy color, and is a constituent of various metal alloys.

Copper compounds are known in several oxidation states, usually +2, where they often impart blue or green colors to natural minerals such as turquoise and have been used historically widely as pigments. Copper(II) ions (Cu2+) are soluble in water, where they function at low concentration as bacteriostatic substances, for this reason, copper metal can be used as an anti-germ surface that can add to the anti-bacterial and antimicrobial features of buildings such as hospitals. In sufficient amounts, copper salts can be poisonous to higher organisms. However, despite universal toxicity at high concentrations, the Cu2+ ion at lower concentrations is an essential trace nutrient to all higher plant and animal life. In animals, including humans, it is found widely in tissues, with concentration in liver, muscle, and bone. It functions as a co-factor in various enzymes and in copper-based pigments.


Copper just above its melting point keeps its pink luster color when enough light outshines the orange incandescence color.

Copper has a reddish, orangish, or brownish color because a thin layer of tarnish (including oxides) gradually forms on its surface when gases (especially oxygen) in the air react with it. But pure copper, when fresh, is actually a pinkish or peachy metal. Copper, osmium (blueish) and gold (yellow) are the only three elemental metals with a natural color other than gray or silver. The usual gray color of metals depends on their "electron sea" that is capable of absorbing and re-emitting photons over a wide range of frequencies. Copper has its characteristic color because of its unique band structure. By Madelung's rule the 4s subshell should be filled before electrons are placed in the 3d subshell, but copper is an exception to the rule with only one electron in the 4s subshell instead of two. The energy of a photon of blue or violet light is sufficient for a d band electron to absorb it and transition to the half-full s band. Thus the light reflected by copper is missing some blue/violet components and appears red. This phenomenon is shared with gold which has a corresponding 5s/4d structure.] In its liquefied state, a pure copper surface without ambient light appears somewhat greenish, a characteristic shared with gold. When liquid copper is in bright ambient light, it retains some of its pinkish luster. When copper is burnt in oxygen it gives off a black oxide.


The base value of each unit of ranges between 1 and 15Ð per unit, with up to 3 units being found at any one time.

Presence on Mars: Common

Martian Minerals
Group 1 | Group 2 | Group 3 | Group 4 | Group 5 | Group 6
Group 1 |Aluminum | Arsenic | Beryllium | Boron | Calcium | Cantite | Carbon | Chlorine | Chromium | Cobalt | Copper | Flourine | Helium| | Hydrogen | Iron | Lithium | Magnesium | Manganese | Nickel | Oxygen | Phosphorus | Plesium | Potassium | Silicon | Sodium|

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