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Officials in Utah have discovered a giant metal monolith while counting bighorn sheep.
The 10–12ft tall discovery was made by officers at the Utah Department of Public Safety and Utah Division of Wildlife Resource on Wednesday, November 18.
The shiny metal object, which was spotted from a helicopter, is firmly planted in the ground. The departments said this suggests that the object was not dropped from above.
Rather, they said it could have been constructed by an artist or a fan of the film 2001: Space Odyssey, as the monolith resembles the machines found in the story.
See the monolith for yourself here:
The object was spotted tucked inside a red rock cove, but officials have withheld details about its exact location. They said it is not clear at this stage if the object is safe for the public to explore.
Pilot Bret Hutchings told KSL TV:
One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it. He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like, ‘what.’ And he’s like, ‘There’s this thing back there – we’ve got to go look at it!’
The pilot said the crew’s first thought was that the object may have been planted by NASA:
We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it. We were thinking is this something NASA stuck up there or something. Are they bouncing satellites off it or something?
While there did not appear to be any scientific purpose behind the object, Hutchings said it looked like a manmade piece of art, ruling out any kind of alien involvement.
‘I’m assuming it’s some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big (2001: A Space Odyssey) fan,’ Hutchings told the broadcaster, referencing scenes from the Stanley Kubrick sci-fi movie.
Land art is not uncommon in Utah, and has been cropping up since the 1960s.
The most famous is a 1,500 foot long coil by artist Robert Smithson from 1970. The Spiral Jetty is composed entirely of mud, salt crystals and basalt.
Hutchings said he had seen many unusual things from his helicopter over the years, but this was the most odd.
‘That’s been about the strangest thing that I’ve come across out there in all my years of flying,’ he said.
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