Do you see it? There’s a little beacon of light in the photograph of Mars above. It’s on the left side of the photo, and it’s pretty darn bright. What could it be? More importantly, what do we want it to be? A Martian signal keeping track of the Curiosity rover? An alien laser beam? A key to a secret portal in the universe? A superhero?
Anything in our imagination is way better than NASA’s explanation of the light: which they’re saying “might be due to the sun glinting off a rock or cosmic rays striking the camera’s detector”. Lame.
Here’s what Justin Maki of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and leader of the team that built and operates the Navigation Camera says:
“In the thousands of images we’ve received from Curiosity, we see ones with bright spots nearly every week… These can be caused by cosmic-ray hits or sunlight glinting from rock surfaces, as the most likely explanations.”
Come on NASA, don’t downplay the lights! At least entertain the thought that Curiosity has stumbled across some secret Mars base. Maybe! NASA says:
The bright spots appear in images from the right-eye camera of the stereo Navcam, but not in images taken within one second of those by the left-eye camera. Maki said, “Normally we can quickly identify the likely source of a bright spot in an image based on whether or not it occurs in both images of a stereo pair. In this case, it’s not as straightforward because of a blocked view from the second camera on the first day.”
So you’re telling me there’s a chance…