Daily Mail: Curiosity Rover spots mysterious 'UFO' zooming across the red planet's horizon
Submitted by admin on Wed, 2012-08-29 09:06
Commentary: Interesting how the Daily Mail article sows a psychological seed with the term "internet pranksters" at the start of the article - presumably a reference to joke images of the nuclear powered Mars Science Laboratory being met by a mob of angry Martian protesters holding aloft Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament banners?!
When Curiosity first touched down on Mars, Internet pranksters were quick to mock up photographs of alien life on the alien landscape.
But it seems Nasa has itself captured something very strange on camera, including a strange white light dancing across the horizon of the red planet, and four blobs hovering in the sky
While the images are certainly a curiosity, Nasa and photography experts insist that these are nothing more than blemishes on the images, picked up by the camera lens sitting on the rover at a distance of 350 million miles away.
So what are the Mars anomalies? View the videos below:
1) Some internet users claim to be able to see a speck of light rapidly traversing the Martian horizon n the images below
2) It may not look like much, but on the dry and barren Mars landscape, any movement is unexpected - and some claim to be able to see a light which apparently lifts itself off the ground below
3) On some returned images from the Curiosity, strange pinpoints appear in the sky - are they spaceships, or just abnormalities on the camera?
The Martian landscape: But what is that hovering over the background? Dots appear to float in the sky, leading some observers to suggest an alien presence
An inverse colour image shows the 'UFO's in sharper detail: Experts say these are 'dead pixels' on the camera - others are not so sure
So far, Nasa has not commented on any of the strange sightings, but alien hunters have suggested these are alien ships monitoring our baby steps into the universe.
YouTube user StephenHannardADGUK, part of a group called Alien Disclosure UK, spotted the anomalies on the NASA images, publicly available on the space agency's website, and applied a series of filters to try to shed light on the mystery.
Referring to the four pin-points of light pictured in the skies of Mars (below), he said: 'Four objects caught by Mars Curiosity, very difficult to make out on original image so I have used a few filters to highlight.
'What are these four objects? UFOs, Dust particles, or something else? As always you decide.'
However video analyst Marc Dantonio - who, in the interests of full disclosure, has worked on projects for the U.S. government - told the Huffington Post that these are simply 'dead pixels' in the image - a regular problem in the world of graphics.
Indeed, many computers and mobile phones develop dead pixel problems, as do modern digital camera.
Dantonio said: 'After watching the video, it is actually quite clear that these are one-pixel sized image anomalies.
'I fully concur at this point that these are dead pixels on the imager.
'All CCD [cameras] have them, and in a bland atmosphere like that at Mars, they would be very obvious as opposed to an active atmosphere like Earth, where they could end up hidden for a long time before anyone noticed them.'
Another video appears to show an object rising from the horizon, followed shortly afterwards by another small object.
NASA has not publicly commented on either 'sighting'.
Curiosity, a six-wheeled vehicle the size of a compact car, landed inside a vast, ancient impact crater near Mars' equator on August 6 after an eight-month, 354-million-mile voyage through space.
Earlier today, the rover was seen wiggling its wheels back and fourth during final checks before it sets off across the surface of Mars.
Engineers at mission control have been running a series of tests before the one-ton vehicle's first drive which is expected in the next couple of days.
The Martian motor was also shown flexing its extending robotic arm for the first time. The 7-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) arm maneuvers a turret of tools including a camera, a drill, a spectrometer, a scoop and mechanisms for sieving and portioning samples of powdered rock and soil.
The Mars rover Curiosity zapped its first rock on Sunday with a high-powered laser gun designed to analyze Martian mineral content, and scientists declared their target practice a success.
The robotic science lab aimed its laser beam at the fist-sized stone nearby and shot the rock with 30 pulses over a 10-second period, NASA said in a statement issued from mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Los Angeles.
The strange shimmering lights seen by Curiosity:
The original image from the NASA website: The 'UFOs' are faint in this image, but observable through adjusting the contrast and brightness
The YouTube video - posted by a Stephen Hannard - puts the photograph through many different filters to try to find more clues as to their existence. A fourth blob can be seen to the top of this image
A close-up of the blobs: Are these glitches in the images - or something a bit more exciting?
Decide for yourself: UFOs or dead pixels?