A mysterious Mars photo led some to believe that the Curiosity Rover had discovered life on the red planet in one of its very first images. NASA, however, says it was probably just dirt.
The LA Times reports that one of the first images sent back from the Mars Curiosity Rover showed a “faint but distinctive” blotch on the horizon. On subsequent images, however, the blotch is gone.
What was that faint smoke in the distance? A martian civilization hurrying underground? A smudge of dirt on the Curiosity’s camera? A piece of the Rover crashing in the distance?
The Lookout reports that the blotch remains a mystery but NASA has a few theories.
The space organization released a “crime scene” photo of the Curiosity Rover’s landing site and believes that the smudge in the distance could be the “sky crane,” the spacecraft that flew the rover to mars, crashing to the red planet.
“The crime scene photo showed that the sky crane had crash-landed, as designed, about 2,000 feet away—and in the same direction that Curiosity’s camera was pointed when it snapped the first photo showing the blotch. The new satellite photo also showed that the sky crane, when it crash-landed, kicked up a violent wave of dirt that had scarred the surface of Mars.”