Utah Department of Public Safety has discovered a mysterious monolith in the middle of rural Utah while running a routine wildlife assistance to count bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah.
Officers from the Utah Department of Public Safety's Aero Bureau were flying by helicopter last Wednesday (November 18), when they spotted something that seemed right out of "2001: A Space Odyssey", CNN reported.
It was a shiny, silver metal monolith sticking out of the ground in the middle of the red rock.
"One of the biologists … spotted it, and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it," pilot Bret Hutchings told CNN affiliate KSL. "He told turn around, turn around!' And I was like, 'What.' And he said, 'There's this thing back there -- we've got to go look at it!'"
Hutchings guessed it was "between 10 and 12 feet high." It didn't look like it was randomly dropped to the ground, he told KSL, but rather it looked like it had been planted.
According to Hutchings, it was most likely placed there by an artist rather than an alien.
"I'm assuming it's some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big ("2001: A Space Odyssey") fan," he said, referencing a scene in the 1968 film where a black monolith appears.
Still, it is illegal to install structures or art without authorization on public lands "no matter what planet you're from," said Utah DPS in a statement released Monday.
The location of the monolith is not being disclosed, and it is not yet clear who -- or what -- put the monolith there, DPS said.
As of Monday, the Bureau of Land Management will be deciding whether further investigation is needed.