Did NASA’s Curiosity Rover Spot A UFO On Mars?

NASA’s Curiosity rover has captured images that show a bright light seemingly descending to the surface of Mars, and some UFO enthusiasts are convinced that they are proof of extraterrestrial life.

According to The Huffington Post, Curiosity took the images around June 20th, even though some reports have claimed they were taken on June 23rd. High resolution images from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory show a bright spot of light appearing to descend in the sky over Mars. In the first image, the UFO appears over a mountain range, while in the second picture, taken 31 seconds later, the light appears to have dropped closer to the planet.

While some internet users were convinced that the images reveal an extraterrestrial spacecraft, the leader of the team that operates and constructed the camera used on Curiosity offered a different explanation for the strange images. “This is a hot pixel that has been around since we started using the Right Navcam,” Justin Maki said in an email to The Huffington Post, asserting that the UFO is nothing more than a photographic artifact caused by the lens of Curiosity’s camera heating up due to exposure.

In a post from April 8th on NASA’s website, Maki stated that “In the thousands of images we’ve received from Curiosity, we see ones with bright spots nearly every week.” Discussing another image taken by Curiosity that seemed to show another unidentified object on the surface of Mars, he explained that the images “can be caused by cosmic-ray hits or sunlight glinting from rock surfaces, as the most likely explanations.” As The Inquisitr reported at the time, UFO enthusiasts were excited over the image Curiosity sent back, claiming that the light observed on the surface of Mars was proof of alien life.

According to Maki, the bright spots appear only in the right eye of Curiosity’s camera, which is a stereo imaging system. Images taken within one second of the camera’s left eye don’t display the bright spot, an unusual factor that Maki admits made it difficult to determine the issue. Not all UFO believers were convinced by Maki’s explanation, however:

Curiosity recently finished its first full Martian year, which lasts 687 days, according to AL.com. During its time on Mars, Curiosity has managed to discover an ancient riverbed, and also determine that a crater on the surface was at one point habitable for simple life forms. Despite the images, Curiosity has yet to find any other indication of UFOs on Mars.

[Image via AL.com]