Debate Magazine

What’s That Light on Mars?

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

On April 2 and April 3, 2014, photos taken by a NASA camera on the Curiosity rover on Mars caused quite a stir among UFO enthusiasts.

The photos show what appears to be a bright light on the horizon.

Here are some pics of the mysterious light on Mars (I’ve circled the light in yellow):

light on Mars
light on Mars1
light on Mars2
light on Mars3

Carol Christian reports for Chron that the photos became news when ufologist Scott C. Waring posted one on the website UFO Sightings Daily on April 6.

Waring noted that the light shines upward, as if from the ground, and is very flat across the bottom: “This could indicate there there is intelligent life below the ground and uses light as we do. This is not a glare from the sun, nor is it an artifact of the photo process.”

NASA imaging scientist Justin Maki points out that the bright spot appears in single images taken by the stereo camera’s “right eye” camera, but the spot doesn’t show up in images taken less than a second later by the left-eye camera. In the two right-eye images, the spot is in different locations of the image frame, and, in both cases, at the ground surface level in front of a crater rim on the horizon.

NASA has given three explanations for the light:

1. Maki said in a statement: “One possibility is that the light is the glint from a rock surface reflecting the sun. When these images were taken each day, the sun was in the same direction as the bright spot, west-northwest from the rover, and relatively low in the sky.”

2. Another possibility is that the bright spots are sunlight reaching the camera’s image sensor through a vent hole in the camera housing, which has happened before with Curiosity and other Mars rovers.

3. Yet another possibility is that it’s a cosmic ray striking the camera’s detector (whatever that means).

~Eowyn


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