A mysterious, gleaming metal thing lies embedded in rock deep in one of the most remote parts of Utah’s Mars-like landscape.
The smooth, tall object was found during a helicopter survey counting bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, US, officials said.
A crew from the Utah Department of Public Safety and Division of Wildlife Resources spotted the object from the air on November 18 and landed to check it out during a break from their work.
They found the three-sided stainless-steel object is about as tall as two adults. But they discovered no clues about who might have driven it into the ground among the red rocks or why.
Pilot Bret Hutchings of the state Department of Public Safety recalled someone on board spotting the metal object firmly implanted in a small clearing set against the redness of the rocks and sand below.
“He’s like, whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around,” Mr Hutchings told television station KSL-TV in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“There’s this thing, there’s this thing back there. We’ve got to go look at it.”
After he set their helicopter down in the remote area they got a closer look, but found “no obvious indication” of how it got there, the public safety department said.
“This thing is not from another world,” said Lieutenant Nick Street of the Utah Highway Patrol, part of the Department of Public Safety.
Still, it’s clear it took some planning and work to construct the 3-4m thing and embed it in the rock.
The exact location is so remote that officials are not revealing it publicly, worried that people might get lost or stranded trying to find it and need to be rescued.
The thing reminds some people of an object that appears in the 1968 Stanley Kubrick movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
“I’m assuming it is some new wave artist or something, or somebody who just is a big 2001: A Space Odyssey fan,” Mr Hutchings said.
In the film, an alien monolith* is a recurring* symbol that appears to play a key role in man’s evolution from the apes.
Many people jokingly commented on social media about aliens arriving to rescue us from the difficulties of 2020, including the coronavirus pandemic.
“Finally someone gets it!” said Twitter user Dwight Jackson of Calgary, Canada. “This is the 2020 reset we’ve been waiting for! Where is the mothership …?”
The US Bureau of Land Management is investigating how long it’s been there, who might have created it and whether to remove it and issued a reminder on Twitter that “using, occupying, or developing the public lands or their resources without a required authorization* is illegal, no matter what planet you are from.”.