'Mystery Light' Spotted in Mars Photo

NASA says blip was caused by cosmic rays
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2014 1:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – Is there life on Mars—and has it left its lights on? A strange blip of light in a photo snapped April 3 by NASA's Curiosity rover has excited UFO enthusiasts, the Houston Chronicle reports. While experts suspect a pixel problem, some believe the light shining upward signals Martians. "This could indicate there there is intelligent life below the ground [that] uses light as we do," writes the editor of UFO Sightings Daily. "This is not a glare from the sun, nor is it an artifact of the photo process."

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The mysterious light, spotted in a photo taken by the rover's right-hand navigation camera in a new area being studied known as the Kimberley, does not appear in the photo taken by the left-hand camera, suggesting the "light" is actually a speck of lost data, reports NBC News. It notes a photo taken the day before, again by the right navcam, shows a similar light that the left again did not capture. Whatever it is, the buzz about the blip shows that people are examining the rover photos very closely. An imaging expert at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory shares his theory: A "cosmic ray hit" affected Curiosity. (Meanwhile, this month Mars is the closest it has been to us since 2007.)

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