Apparently April is the month to debunk astronomical foolishness, for I have yet another bit of space silliness to disassemble.
Yesterday, the Houston Chronicle ran a story showing a picture from the Mars Curiosity rover, which has been exploring the fourth rock from the Sun since August 2012. As the rover moves over the Martian surface it deploys an arsenal of tools to examine its environment.
That, of course, includes cameras. Many of the pictures are visually stunning, and some are plain old weird. After all, they’re shots of the landscape on an alien world!
But some folks take the word “alien” a bit too metaphorically. In the Chronicle article, the writer, Carol Christian, points out one particular picture (shown above) that depicts a spray of light that looks to be off in the distance. She wrote, “A NASA camera on Mars has captured what appears to be artificial light emanating outward from the planet’s surface.”
Right, artificial. That’s the first conclusion we should jump to. But then, instead of asking any of a dozen scientists or science journalists who might actually be able to supply an answer, she just quotes the site she got the image from: UFO Sightings Daily.*