Nasa has rained logic and common sense on speculation that the bright light that features in a photo from the surface of Mars taken by its Curiosity rover is some kind of luminous alien, suggesting it is "likely a glinting rock or cosmic-ray hit".
The image has been widely shared since the rover tweeted it yesterday, with people trading various optimistic theories as to what could be causing the light on Mars' horizon.
And who could blame them, when explanations like it is the light from an alien hut are far more entertaining than the reality: it's probably just some light shining off a rock.
"In the thousands of images we've received from Curiosity, we see ones with bright spots nearly every week," said Justin Maki of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the leader of the team that built and operates the rover's Navigation Camera.
"These can be caused by cosmic-ray hits or sunlight glinting from rock surfaces, as the most likely explanations."
Nasa did admit that this particular bright spot is a little unusual however.
"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," it stated. "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."
In pictures: Mars Exploration Rover
In pictures: Mars Exploration Rover
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Mars Rover, Curiosity. After traveling 8 1/2 months and 352 million miles, Curiosity attempted a landing on Mars in 2012
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A self-portrait of the Mars rover Curiosity combines dozens of exposures taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on the planet Mars
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Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover examines a rock on Mars with a set of tools at the end of its arm, which extends about 2 meters (7 feet)
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This image mosaic taken by the panoramic camera on board the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the rover's landing site, the Columbia Memorial Station, at Gusev Crater, Mars
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Views of the Sojourner Mars Rover and surface of Mars Ares Vallis
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A view of Mars southwest of the rover's landing site in the Gusev Crater. The landscape shows little variation in local topography, though a narrow peak only seven to eight kilometers away is visible on the horizon. A circular depression, similar to the one dubbed Sleepy Hollow, can be seen in the foreground
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Mars planet pathfinder vehicle on planet Mars
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Tracks made by Curiosity's tires during its first test drive as seen by Navcam: on board NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 16
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A little more than two weeks after its arrival on Mars, the $2.5 billion rover, which landed on Mars has performed a battery of tests and appears ready to embark on its two-year mission to explore the Red Planet in the hunt for signs of life
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Tracks made by Curiosity's tires during its first test drive on a mission to explore the Red Planet
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Mars rover Opportunity's robotic arm as it stretched over the surface of Mars
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NASA's Mars Rover Spirit took the first picture from Spirit since problems with communications began a week earlier. The image shows the robotic arm extended to the rock called Adirondack
Not the Independence Day moment many were looking for then, but if you are in need of a "Duuuuuuude" space story, here's what Earth looks like from Mars.Reuse content