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The Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter was assisting Utah Division of Wildlife Resource officers as they counted bighorn sheep on Wednesday (18 November) when one of the crew spotted something out of place among the remote terrain below.
The @UtahDPS helicopter was assisting the @UtahDWR in counting bighorn sheep in remote southern Utah Wednesday when the crew encountered something entirely 'out of this world'...@KSL5TV #KSLTV #Utah- Andrew Adams (@AndrewAdamsKSL) November 21, 2020
Photojournalist: @Photog_Steve5 pic.twitter.com/f8P0fayDIS
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!'"
Bret obliged and turned the chopper around so the team could inspect the strange silver cylinder jutting out of the red rocky ground.
Bret said: "I'd say it's probably between 10 and 12 feet-high.
"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, like, thinking is this something NASA stuck up there or something? Are they bouncing satellites off it or something?"
After thoroughly investigating the inexplicable monument (and clambering on it a bit), the crew were able to ascertain that it was very firmly planted in the ground, with Bret concluding it's most likely an artistic pursuit, rather than anything scientific - or extra-terrestrial for that matter.
More specifically, he reckons it might be a tribute to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
He said: "I'm assuming it's some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big fan."
He's referencing a scene in the 1968 Stanley Kubrick sci-fi film in which primates gather around a very similar monolith in a very similar setting.
Indeed, once you've seen the scene, it's hard to see anything else. We've certainly got no better explanation at this point anyway.
Until NASA/an artist/aliens come forward to claim responsibility for the monolith, we're going with 2001: A Space Odyssey tribute.
But while we may never know how it got there, what we do know for sure is that it's the most bizarre thing Bret has ever seen.
He said: "That's been about the strangest thing that I've come across out there in all my years of flying."
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