Curiosity rover
Mystery light seen on Mars sparks alien debateNASA/JPL-Caltech

A photo appearing to show a light shining out of the surface of Mars is a sign of intelligent life, a UFO enthusiast has claimed.

Taken by Nasa's Curiosity rover, the photo shows a mystery light in the distance that appears to come from the ground.

Posted on the blog UFO Sightings Daily, the author Scott C. Waring said: "An artificial light source was seen this week in this NASA photo which shows light shining upward from ... the ground. This could indicate there is intelligent life below the ground and uses light as we do.

"This is not a glare from the sun, nor is it an artifact of the photo process. Look closely at the bottom of the light. It has a very flat surface giving us 100% [indication] it is from the surface. Sure NASA could go and investigate it, but hey, they are not on Mars to [discover] life, but there to stall its discovery."

Curiosity rover
Full image seen from CuriosityNASA/JPL-Caltech

A video of the mystery object, uploaded by UFO buff Streetcap1, sparked debate among commentaters, with some debunking the picture as nothing out of the ordinary.

One user suggested it could be "volcanic in nature", while Joshua Winters wrote: "Obviously a gaseous eruption, its white smoke not a light."

According to the Houston Chronicle, Curiosity arrived at an area called 'the Kimberley' last week – an area it can study rocks for an insight into ancient environment that could have hosted life.

Melissa Rice of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, 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."

Debunking the idea of intelligent life, imaging expert Doug Ellison from Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told NBC that the light is due to a "cosmic ray hit" that affected the rover. This was later confirmed by Chris Bridges, from the Surrey Space Centre.