NASA Curiosity rover captures mysterious bright light on Mars

NASA Curiosity rover captures mysterious bright light on Mars
Is the truth really out there?

A NASA picture of a mysterious bright light on Mars has sparked the interest of UFO believers. But before we cry extraterrestrial, the bright light may be nothing more than a "glinty rock."

'We think it's either a vent-hole light leak or a glinty rock.'

- NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer Justin Maki

"One possibility is that the light is the glint from a rock surface reflecting the sun," NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) lead for the engineering cameras on Curiosity Justin Maki told

Maki explained that the bright spots appear in single images taken by the Navigation Camera on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover's right-eye but not its left. In the right-eye images, the spot is in different locations and is seen at the ground surface level in front of a crater rim on the horizon.

"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," said Maki. "The rover science team is also looking at the possibility that the bright spots could be sunlight reaching the camera's CCD directly through a vent hole in the camera housing, which has happened previously on other cameras on Curiosity and other Mars rovers when the geometry of the incoming sunlight relative to the camera is precisely aligned."

"We think it's either a vent-hole light leak or a glinty rock."

The picture was captured on April 3 by the right-hand navigation camera on NASA's Mars Curiosity rover.

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