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Friday, November 14, 2014

Moving Orb Seen on Mars in These 6 NASA Photos

The YouTube source Paranormal Crucible has discovered an astonishing anomaly on Mars that was shown on a video made by that source. Rather than linking to that video (and leaving you with that same old “did someone fake a video on youtube.com ” question), in this post I will look directly at the source NASA photos that were used to make that video. Looking at the original NASA source photos, it does indeed seem that some anomalous moving orb has been detected on Mars.

The video put up by Paranormal Crucible failed to give the vital information about which Martian day the anomaly was detected. But they did have a link to one of the original NASA photos, and in the URL of that link I was able to find the Martian day number. The day number is Sol 527, which corresponds to January 29, 2014.

The set of photos showing the moving orb was taken by one of the Front Hazard Avoidance Cameras (“front hazcams”) on the Curiosity rover. Images from that camera can be found at this url.

To find the images for a particular Martian day, you merely need to scroll down to a particular day number, using the listbox shown at the top left of the page. When we click on the row for Sol 527, we come to this NASA page showing images taken by the Front Hazard Avoidance Cameras on Sol 527. The photos I will reproduce from that page were taken over a span of about 15 minutes.

The third image in the list is here. Below is a crop of this image starting at horizontal pixel 474 and vertical pixel 133, with a width of 142 and a height of 102:


Mars moving orb
Notice the little white ball in the bottom right quarter of the photo.

The fourth image in the list is here. Below is a crop of this image starting at horizontal pixel 474 and vertical pixel 133, with a width of 142 and a height of 102 (the same numbers used for the previous crop):

Mars moving orb
Notice that the little white ball has moved a little to the left.

The fifth image of the list is here. Below is a crop of this image starting at horizontal pixel 474 and vertical pixel 133, with a width of 142 and a height of 102 (the same numbers used for the previous crop):

Mars moving orb


The sixth image of the list is here. Below is a crop of this image starting at horizontal pixel 474 and vertical pixel 133, with a width of 142 and a height of 102 (the same numbers used for the previous crop):

Mars moving orb


The camera moved a little bit, so it's not exactly the same area as before, but it's close enough that you can detect that the little white ball has moved from the previous photo.

The seventh image of the list is here. Below is a crop of this image starting at horizontal pixel 474 and vertical pixel 133, with a width of 142 and a height of 102 (the same numbers used for the previous crop):

Mars moving orb


The orb is now in the bottom right quarter of the image above. The eighth image of the list is here. Below is a crop of this image starting at horizontal pixel 474 and vertical pixel 133, with a width of 142 and a height of 103 (the same numbers used for the previous crop, except 1 pixel greater on the height):

Mars moving orb


Again we see the orb in the bottom right part of the image above. By the time we get to image 11 in the series of photos taken at this location, there is no more sign of the orb.

The following color-coded visual illustrates how the position of the orb changed between the third photo in the series and the eighth photo of the series. The third and fourth photos were taken at the same time (with a Left camera and a Right camera being a little bit apart from each other). The fifth and sixth photos were also taken at the same time, as were the seventh and eighth photos.

The images on this NASA page for Sol 527 are listed in reverse chronological order. The orb apparently moved from the area shown by the blue circle and the red circle, then moved to the area shown by the green circle and purple circle, then moved to the area shown by the pink circle and the orange circle.


How can we explain this series of photographs? A few months ago when people pointed out a pair of photos that seemed to show a mysterious light on the Mars horizon on two consecutive days, NASA tried to explain the anomaly by saying it was a cosmic ray, or light reflecting from a rock. Does either explanation work here?

The cosmic ray explanation is perhaps a good explanation for a strange little blip shown on one particular photograph on one particular day. A cosmic ray is a little particle coming from deep in space, that arrives in a random location at a particular time, with the location and time being completely unpredictable. But we cannot account for a light seeming to move around at a particular location on the same day, in at least six consecutive photographs of Mars, by imagining that is caused by cosmic rays. Cosmic rays absolutely do not cluster or clump together at some particular location and time; they appear spread out at random places and times. In order for you to have all of these little orb photos being due to cosmic rays, you would have to have at least three cosmic ray hits during different moments of the same fifteen minutes in the same little spot of six consecutive photographs, with it all being a gigantic coincidence. That would require a coincidence comparable to you coincidentally guessing correctly the telephone numbers of three different people you met at the same time.

We also cannot account for the apparently moving orb by imagining that it was caused by a rock reflection. A rock with a reflecting surface might cause a little blip of light at one spot in the photograph, but that rock would not move around within a particular area of the photo. Could it be that rapid winds blew around a rock to different positions? No, winds that high would have created a dust storm that would have left many signs in this photo that are not observed; there were no such heavy winds when these photos were taken. 

Could the orb be the result of a camera glitch? No, because two different cameras (the Left and Right cameras) have both shown the orb and that it is moving. So, for example,  we cannot plausibly say that "dead pixels" are causing the orb's appearance. You might see a few empty pixels in the photos taken by one of the two cameras, but you would not coincidentally see a "dead pixel area" that matched in two different cameras, particularly given that most of the other images on this page for Sol 527 do not show any such orb or "dead pixel" area.  

I don't have any explanation for this mysterious Martian orb. I can merely point out that it looks very similar to what has been observed on our planet countless times. Since the introduction of the digital flash camera about twenty years ago, people all across the world have been seeing unexplained circular
anomalies in their photographs. Such anomalies are normally called orbs.

But isn't dust the explanation for such orbs, as skeptics have claimed? No, dust can't explain the more unusual orbs that have appeared in photographs (as I argue here). The reason why a dust explanation doesn't work is that many photographs have shown orbs that are either too big to be dust, too bright to be dust, too colorful to be dust, too fast-moving to be too dust, too frequently observed to be dust, or too surrounded by clean air to be dust (with many photographs having two or three of these conditions at the same time).

If you try to create dust orbs in your photos, it normally takes quite a while and involves raising heavy dust; and then you'll end up with little, pale brown or gray circles that aren't very colorful or bright, and not more than about 5% of the photo width. That does nothing to explain what many photographers have repeatedly photographed: big bright orbs that sometimes appear as wide as 18% of the photo width, which are often in a single bright color such as orange, yellow, or pink, and which often show strong signs of moving quickly – which dust never does unless there are fast winds. Since dust settles quickly, it only works as a possible explanation for orb photos taken in dusty conditions, but 95% of the more interesting orbs that have appeared in earthly photos have not been taken in such conditions (and many have been taken in very clean air).

We have no idea what the explanation for orbs is, and orbs may or may not have any relation to extraterrestrials or anything spiritual such as life after death. But given the very large number of unexplained appearances of orbs in earthly photographs, I am not surprised to learn than an orb was apparently moving around on the planet Mars.