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UFO spotted on Mars?: NASA photos reveal descending white light on Red Planet

A couple of NASA photos taken on Mars by the rover Curiosity have sparked talk of UFOs being spotted on the Red Planet. The intriguing aspect of the photos is that the topic of concern, a bright light situated well above the Mars horizon in the photos, is seen to be descending. To repeat: The UFO lights in two NASA photos are in different locations with regard to the Martian landscape -- and the photos were taken just seconds apart. But, like everything else within the government corral and especially when there's a UFO involved, there's a plausible explanation for why those mysterious lights appear in the photos.

Huffington Post reported July 6 that NASA's Curiosity rover took a few photos on June 20 (according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, although other sources say the pics were taken on June 23). But in two of those photos, images taken just 31 seconds apart, a light is seen emanating from above the horizon.

And in the time lapsed between the image taken by the Navcam Right camera and the Navcam Left camera, the glowing orb appears to have moved down the Martian sky toward some mountains that make up the photos' skylines.

A moving object on Mars? Did the Curiosity rover actually take photos of a real UFO? Huffington Post asked if the images depicted an imminent UFO landing on Mars.

Actually, though, the "moving" light in the Mars pics seems easily explained by Justin Maki. He is head of the team that built and continues to operate Curiosity's navigation camera.

"This is a hot pixel that has been around since we started using the Right Navcam," he explained.

A "hot pixel" is the photographic phenomenon that occurs "when the camera sensor gets hot during long exposures or when the ISO [International Standards Organization, a measurement for the sensitivity to light] is cranked up above 400-800," according to

This isn't the first instance of a light image showing up in a Curiosity photo. Back in April, the rover took a photo that captured a white light glinting in the distance across the Martian landscape. Maki explained away that phenomenon as well, noting that the light spots on photos occur regulary, often caused by cosmic-ray hits or sunlight glinting off of a rock surface.

All sorts of odd things have been observed on Mars in recent years, including images that resemble animals among the rocks on the Red Planet's surface. Although intriguing, the "squirrel" or "lizard" or whatever was not a sign of life on Mars but was easily explained away by pareidolia, or the cognitive ability to produce familiar patterns and shapes out of random juxtapositionings of shapes, textures, and surfaces.

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