2020: A Space Odyssey?
A mysterious monolith, which is believed to be some kind of metal, was discovered in the remote parts of Utah on Wednesday, fueling speculation on what the object was or how it got there, according to reports.
The structure, estimated at between 10 feet and 12 feet high, was found by state wildlife employees counting sheep from a helicopter.
Utah’s highway patrol shared a picture of the finding on Instagram, along with the caption: "Counting big horn sheep with DWR this week. During the counts we came across this, in the middle of nowhere, buried deep in the rock. Inquiring minds want to know, what the heck is it? Anyone?"
Bret Hutchings, the helicopter pilot, said it was "about the strangest thing that I’ve come across out there in all my years of flying," according to Salt Lake City's KSL-TV.
Hutchings was flying for the Utah department of public safety, which was assiting wildlife resource officers in the count in the southeastern edge of the state.
"We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it," he told the station.
The object drew comparisons to Stanley Kubrick's famed 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey," which saw a group of apes encounter a similar-looking giant slab.
“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 said.
Authorities said the mysterious object was installed in the ground in a remote area of red rock with "no obvious indication" of who might have put it there, according to a press release from the Utah Department of Public Safety.
The agency added that if people decide to venture to the undisclosed and remote location they "may become stranded and require rescue."
Users on social media were quick to speculate what the object was.
"It’s the on-off button for the planet," one user wrote.
"I love this. I imagine it’s an art piece, but what if it isn’t..." another replied.
The Bureau of Land Management is determining whether they need to investigate further, according to the release.