A new photograph from NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover appears to showcase a strong artificial light emanating from the planet’s surface, igniting speculation that the beacon suggests there is intelligent life on the Red Planet.
The photo in question was taken on April 3 by Curiosity’s right-hand navigation camera, and shows what looks an awful lot like a bright, shining light off in the distance. NASA itself has not commented on the nature of the light, but UFO watchers have wasted no time suggesting it’s not natural and, therefore, a sign of alien life.
"This could indicate there there is intelligent life below the ground and uses light as we do," Scott Waring wrote on his UFO Sightings Daily website. "This is not a glare from the sun, nor is it an artifact of the photo process. Look closely at the bottom of the light. It has a very flat surface giving us 100% indication it is from the surface.”
“Sure NASA could go and investigate it, but hey, they are not on Mars to discover life, but there to stall its discovery,” he concluded.
Others aren’t quite convinced. The editor of All About Space magazine, Ben Biggs, told The Daily Mail that people shouldn’t be leaping to such dramatic conclusions so quickly.
“While the ‘light’ is as yet unexplained, it's quite a leap to assume that it has an intelligent source,” he said. “The public can afford to speculate wildly but NASA is an organization internationally renowned for credible science. It needs to exhaust every other likely explanation before it can begin to explore less realistic phenomena.”
Although NASA has yet to release a statement, Doug Ellison of the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory dismissed the idea that the light was proof of intelligent life. On Twitter, he told NBC News the beacon is a “cosmic ray hit,” noting that there is no light on the image taken by the left-hand navigation camera, which was also captured at the exact same moment.
— Doug Ellison (@doug_ellison) April 8, 2014
Dr. Chris Bridges of the Surrey Space Center, meanwhile, concurred, saying it was a “galactic cosmic ray” hitting the camera.
— Dr Chris Bridges (@DrChrisBridges) April 8, 2014
As for Curiosity itself, a recent NASA press release declared the rover had arrived at its next destination, an area dubbed “the Kimberly.” This area is known for having an intersecting section of four different rocks, and the rover will scheduled to drill into and analyze the rocks for signs that the planet could have harbored life in the past.