Man’s interest and quest to understand the heavens have been universal and enduring. Today, there is a greater push for further exploration to help address fundamental questions about the solar system and man’s place in the universe.
Therefore, when NASA’s rover Curiosity beamed back a photo from Mars that shows a strange bright light that appears to emanate from the planet’s surface, it created much frenzy among bloggers and stargazers.
Moreover, it led some people to conclude that there is intelligent life on Mars.
However, Justin Maki, a NASA imaging scientist in offering an explanation, said April 8 by email through a spokesman.
“One possibility is that the light is the glint from a surface reflecting the sun,” Maki said in the statement. “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.”
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, the agency said.
“We think it’s either a vent-hole light or a glinty rock,” Maki said in the emailed statement. Another possibility is that it’s a cosmic ray striking the camera’s detector, he added.
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
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