A NASA camera on Mars has captured what appears to be artificial light emanating outward from the planet’s surface.
The photo, beamed millions of miles from Mars to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., was taken last week, apparently by one of two NASA rovers on the red planet.
Although the space agency hasn’t issued any official statement yet about the phenomenon, bloggers and NASA enthusiasts have started chiming in.
Scott C. Waring, who maintains the website UFO Sightings Daily, posted the photo April 6.
Waring noted that the light shines upward, as if from the ground, and is very flat across the bottom.
“This could indicate there there is intelligent life below the ground and uses light as we do,” Waring wrote on his website. “This is not a glare from the sun, nor is it an artifact of the photo process.”
Earlier this month, NASA announced that on April 2, the Curiosity rover drove the last 98 feet needed to arrive at “the Kimberley,” a spot where it can study rock clues about ancient environments that might have been favorable for life, according to a news release.
The Kimberley, where four different types of rock intersect, is named for a region of western Australia. The rover’s stay there has been planned since early last year, the release said.
“This is the spot on the map we’ve been headed for, on a little rise that gives us a great view for context imaging of the outcrops at the Kimberley,” Melissa Rice of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena said in the release.
Rice is the scientist in charge of planning several weeks of observations, sample-drilling and on-site laboratory analysis of the area’s rocks.
Arrival at this location means Curiosity has driven 3.8 miles since August 2012, when it landed inside Mars’ Gale Crater.
The Kimberley investigations are to be the most extensive since Curiosity spent the first half of 2013 in an area called Yellowknife Bay, the release said.
At Yellowknife Bay, the one-ton rover examined the first samples ever drilled from rocks on Mars. These samples showed signs of an ancient lakebed environment that provided the chemical ingredients and energy necessary for life, the release said.
At the Kimberley and, later, at outcrops on the slope of Mount Sharp inside Gale Crater, researchers plan to use Curiosity’s science instruments to learn more about habitable past conditions and environmental changes.