Government employees had a close encounter of the strange kind in the Utah desert.
A crew from the State Wildlife Resources Department was aboard a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter when they discovered a mysterious monolith sticking out of the dirt last week.
The shiny metal object was about 10 to 12 feet tall and firmly planted in the ground, suggesting that it hadn't just fallen from above.
Officials suspect it might have been built by an artist or a big fan in 2001: Space Odyssey – the structure is similar to the machines in Arthur C. Clarke's story.
The unlabeled object is in a red rock cove, but anxious amateurs could endanger themselves if they try to take a closer look. The workers have withheld details about the exact location.
Scroll down for video
A member of the Department of Wildlife Resources in Utah discovered a shiny metal monolith in the desert. The object is between 10 and 12 feet tall and firmly planted in the ground
The team was in the remote area counting bighorn sheep when they discovered the unidentified object.
"One of the biologists is the one who discovered it, and we happened to fly right over it," pilot Bret Hutchings told KSL-TV. "He said," Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around! "And I said," What. "And he says," There's that thing over there – we have to see it! "
After the helicopter circled back and landed, the crew went into the bay to investigate.
& # 39; We thought is that something NASA is stuck up there or something? Do they jump off satellites? & # 39; Said Hutchings.
Officials suspect it might have been built by an artist or a big fan of 2001: Space Odyssey – the structure is similar to the machines in Arthur C. Clarke's story (pictured)
The team was in the remote area counting bighorn sheep when they discovered the unidentified object
& # 39; We thought is that something NASA is stuck up there or something? Do they jump off satellites? & # 39; said Bret Hutchings, a public safety officer pilot
Government officials climb the monolith to give a sense of its size. A biologist from the Wildlife Resource Bureau spotted the object from the sky and ordered the crew to land and investigate
"We were having a little fun, if one of us suddenly disappears, the rest of us run away."
All jokes aside, Hutchings believes the structure is likely some kind of work of art.
"I suppose it's a new wave artist or something or someone who was a huge fan (2001: A Space Odyssey)," he said.
Bret Hutchings, a public safety officer pilot, told KSL-TV that the unmarked object was "the strangest thing I've come across in all of my years of flying."
The monolith is in a red rock cove, but workers have withheld details about its exact location to prevent others from endangering themselves and trying to look closer
Utah has a history of "land art," unusual installations that were made in the 1960s and 1970s far from population centers.
The most famous, Spiral Jetty, a 1,500 foot long coil by artist Robert Smithson made in 1970, made entirely of mud, salt crystals, and basalt.
The jetty is located on the northeastern edge of the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point and appears and disappears depending on the water level.
Utah has a history of "land art," unusual installations far from the population centers. The Spiral Jetty by artist Robert Smithson is located on the northeastern edge of the Great Salt Lake and consists of mud, salt and basalt rock
So far, however, no one has volunteered to take responsibility for the monolith.
"That was about the strangest thing I've seen in all my years of flying," said Hutchings.
The workers took videos and photos of the property but left it in place.
So far, it hasn't bothered the bighorn sheep that live in the southern half of Utah.
Their population once dipped below a thousand in the 1970s, but environmental efforts have made a huge comeback in recent decades.
The crew was in the remote area to count bighorn sheep that live in the southern half of Utah
The sheep are less wary of humans in early December, the mating season.
"Because they are focused on advertising and breeding, vehicles can get closer to them than they normally would," Brent Stettler of the Utah Wildlife Resource Division told My National Parks Trip Media.
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) sciencetech (t) Utah (t) Nasa