Mystery Light On Mars: What Is It?
Ellisha Rader Mannering
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When something strange shows up in a photo, people tend to speculate about what it could be. When something strange shows up in a photo of Mars, people automatically assume it must be related to extraterrestrials or aliens. Mars rover Curiosity recently snapped some photos of the red planet and sent them back to NASA. The photos seemed normal at first, but upon closer examination, a small light can be seen in the background of one photo.
When the photo was shared, many theories began turning up to explain what the light could be and how it was able to be photographed. Several people theorized that the light could be from a flashlight or lantern of an alien and a sign that there is indeed intelligent life on Mars. While NASA finds these theories interesting, they say the truth is much more boring and that the light is easy to explain.
“In the thousands of images we’ve received from Curiosity, we see ones with bright spots nearly every week,” said Justin Maki of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “These can be caused by cosmic-ray hits or sunlight glinting from rock surfaces, as the most likely explanations.”
Cosmic rays can cause hot spots on camera lenses and make the photos they produce appear as though they have small lights or other shapes on them. The NASA scientist who inspected the photos said that when a real object is present it will be picked up by more than one of the cameras used by the rover. Since the light only appears on the first camera, it must be a glitch or be caused by a reflection.
There are numerous shiny rocks in the areas where the light appears and while cosmic rays are one explanation, the light could just as easily be caused by a reflection on the surface of the rocks. NASA scientists found that the light appears in the same area during the same time each day.
Although those who believe in aliens may be upset to find out that the light is so easily explained, there are many other people who are relieved that aliens have not been discovered. That doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. Do you think NASA will ever find proof of alien life on Mars or another planet?
Image via YouTube