An unidentified object was captured on live streaming video from the International Space Station earlier this month before NASA’s video feed appeared to abruptly cut off — sparking conspiracy theories about what happened.
In the July 9 footage uploaded to YouTube, the object enters the frame above the Earth’s atmosphere.
“This could well be a meteor or the like,” the YouTube user who uploaded the footage explains. “What made it interesting was the camera cut off when the UFO seemed to stop.”
It didn’t take long for UFO enthusiasts to pounce.
As "mysterious" UFO enters atmosphere NASA cuts live feed. For those of us who don't have blinders on alien races are here in abundance.
— Steve Kitcoff (@SoloVoc) July 13, 2016
Another UFO — another feed cut –Another reason to question why NASA always has a problem with the neighbors… https://t.co/lsEf0mhPRN
— Clyde Lewis (@ClydeLewis) July 13, 2016
— Fox Nation (@foxnation) July 13, 2016
“SHOCK ALIEN CLAIM: ‘NASA cuts the ISS live feed moments after UFO appears,'” blared the headline in the U.K. Express.
Others suggested that the object may have been the Chinese space cargo Tiangong-1, which some astronomers fear “could secretly be hurtling towards Earth.”
“Did NASA shut down the ISS live feed for sinister reasons?” London’s Mirror newspaper asked.
Nonsense, says NASA.
“We have never seen UFOs in the popular sense,” a NASA spokesperson told Popular Mechanics. “The feed in question is the High Definition Earth Viewing experiment. Anytime the ISS has a signal, that feed is sending down video.”
And anytime the ISS loses that signal, the stream goes dark.
“The feed is not switched manually,” the NASA spokesperson added. “It’s all done automatically. There’s nobody at a control board. We used a space-based data relay network. It gives us a very good coverage area, but you do lose signal occasionally — anywhere from a couple of seconds to a couple of minutes. It varies from day to day.”
But that hasn’t stopped UFO hunters from accusing NASA of covering up evidence of alien life on the ISS live stream. In fact, such accusations happen pretty frequently.
In April, the same claim was made when a diamond-shaped UFO appeared to hover near the space station.
“As the UFO came closer and began to come into focus, the screen turned blue,” Scott C. Waring wrote on UFOSightingsDaily.com. “NASA always turns the screen blue if they see a UFO, in an attempt … failed attempt mind you, to hide it from the public.”