In a blow to UFO enthusiasts, NASA has said that a mysterious bright flash that appeared in photos of Mars taken by the Curiosity rover on April 2 and 3 is probably not a signal from aliens.
Justin Maki, who is in charge of Curiosity’s engineering cameras at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, says the bright spot is “either a well-placed flash of reflected sunlight, or light shining through a chink in Curiosity’s camera housing,” according to NBC News’ Alan Boyle.
The bright spot appeared in two photos taken on two different days by Curiosity’s right-hand navigation camera. The navigation camera is a stereo camera and the flash did not appear in photos taken by the left-hand camera.
In an email to NBC News, Maki said:
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. 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.”
In other Mars news, the Red Planet will light up the night sky on Tuesday night during a rare event when the sun, Earth, and Mars arrange in nearly a straight line, called the opposition of Mars.
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